Weeds Your Head At?
It was a wise person who said that weeds were only misplaced flowers. In most cases however, weeds in your landscape seem to be the antithesis of pleasurable. Something I’ve observed over the years is that with each weedy bed I visited, came an owner of said bed, whose life was filled with weeds as well.
If your life is complicated enough, you just don’t enjoy yard work, or you want to keep it simple and enjoy other things as well, I have some quick tips that will help you out this season.
For example: Did you know that you can kill most weeds by simply cutting the tops off of them? You’re depriving them of food through photosynthesis and after a few scalps the roots can no longer support the life of the plant. Never use products like Round Up because you think it’s simple, because the truth is that it’s the worst thing you can do for your land and our planet. Round Up or Glysophate, are directly linked to Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s cancer and MS. Here are 6 truly easy tips to an ORGANIC, weed free lawn and life!
1) Simplify: if you have a huge space, don’t worry about having the perfect lawn. If you have bald spots under trees, mulch them, the trees don’t like lawn up to their trunks anyway. If you have a yard full of weeds in any size space and don’t care about replacing your lawn, mow them, and often. Who cares as long as if it’s green. If you happen to have a nice lawn and want to keep it that way. Mow regularly as well, at least once a week and water deeply to the depth of one inch every 7 to 10 days. Alternatively, Find clever solutions as I’ve done below to address a sad, trampled lawn.
2) Compost (3,4 & 5 should also be compost it is so important in this equation) As sure as anything, a compacted, poor quality soil is perfect breeding ground for compromised lawn and weeds. Aeration every 2 to 3 years at least and composting every spring will not only add to your soil depth, it increases root depth and water retention as well as removing previous chemical damage. Compost is also essential to healthy fungi growth which is crucial to the eco system beneath your feet. A healthy, chemical free soil, rich with compost and occasional fertilizers like Medina Hasta Grow for lawns or liquid seaweed and a semi-annual application of corn gluten and you’re good to go.
if your soil looks like this…
You’ll need a lot of this…above is a freshly composted lawn and below is the method I recommend if you don’t have a composter large enough to fill a yard, and most people do not. Spread the compost into your newly emerging grass with a soft rake every spring after the last freeze and before tax day, to the depth of 1/2”. Water in well and watch it grow! A thick healthy lawn leaves no room for competitive weeds.
3) Organic, Always! Chemical weed control is harmful to your plants, trees and shrubs and chemical fertilizers are bound with salt which makes nutrients in your soil insoluble to your plants, rendering them more dependent on more fertilizer. Chemicals kill the natural microbes, worms, mycorrhizal fungi and healthy bacteria, then eventually kills your soil. Corn Gluten, Corn Meal, dry or liquid molasses, liquid compost or liquid seaweed are all excellent natural fertilizers. Never use chemicals like Weed and Feed or the blue stuff because they kill the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi you are trying to grow to achieve a full and healthy lawn and flower beds. When your lawn is sparce, weeds have room to prosper.
4) Keep plants properly spaced: Plants and shrubs planted too closely are the definition of maintenance. If a plant is too big take it out, don’t leave a troublesome bush in the walkway; start over and select the right plant. Be sure to educate yourself on your planting zone and the plants indigenous to your area. These will be the most beneficial to local bees and will be most adept to your soil and annual rainfall. All this being said, proper spacing with only enough room for each plant will help choke out weeds. Leaving too much open space between plants allows seed to germinate, so be sure your plants fill up most of the bed space, then fill the beds with plenty (4-6” deep) of hardwood shredded mulch as a weed barrier. I do not recommend Landscape fabric, spend your time and money on increasing soil and mulch depth and the rest will work itself out.
Below: the beds on the left are newly planted and laid out properly so they will touch once mature, but not crown each other. the two on the left are examples of fully grown beds, both minimal and abundant, but properly spaced for the best growth and weed control.
5) Buy a good weed-puller: your fingers will thank you for it and so will your lawn. Use your Corn Gluten before each spring and fall, compost and aerate each spring if you can and mow regularly (every 7 to 10 days max) to the correct height of your lawn.
If you have a large area or bed that needs to be weeded, the tool top right can be used for weeding between plants In large beds. The tool top left is a weed puller you step on to pull the entire weed and root with minimal effort. The tool below is great for tilling up larger areas as well as planting and digging holes. I use it at the beginning of every season to till all my beds before planting seasonal herbs and veggies. if you have a huge weed bed you can also use the sun to your advantage. Buy yourself a roll of 4mil painters plastic and some landscape pins and scalp the entire area with a weed wacker, then cover with the plastic until the sun cooks those babies; typically a couple of weeks or so.
If you have St Augustine , it wants to stay at 4” , cutting it too short can end badly. Bermuda or Zoysia perfect to be kept shorter and thrive in the heat so learn the proper mowing height and make sure you’re watering deeply and not too often which can keep roots close to the surface instead of looking deep for water. Clean your tools with the hose and some Lysol and after each mow so you’re not spreading disease and weed seed.
6)Mow and weed regularly: Once a week you should mow and weed. Before you know it both will be easier because the lawn will be thicker and the weeds will be whacked and unable to reseed which is what causes weedy yards in the first place. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Check your irrigation every couple of months for leaks and breaks, if you water manually, buy a digital timer to run your water from to be sure you’re consistent and hands free.
Look for products like “Medina Hasta Grow” fertilizers and weed control. Just attach it to your hose and go. Remember that a healthy lawn and garden are the greatest defense against weeds. This product can be found at local nurseries, big box stores or online.
Here are some of my favorite products for weed control:
Here are some of my favorite fertilizers:
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
’Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”