Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

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.

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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. It’s also a great way to take out your frustrations.

Never use products like Round Up because you think it’s simple. The truth is that Round Up or Glysophate are directly linked to Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s cancer and MS. Instead, 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 with flat tree rings, the trees don’t like lawn up to their trunks anyway. If you have a yard full of green weeds in any size space and don’t care about replacing your lawn, mow them and often.
If you happen to have a nice lawn and want to keep it that way, mow regularly at least once a week and water deeply to the depth of one inch every 7 to 10 days during hot months. Alternatively, Find clever solutions as I’ve done below to address a sad, trampled lawn.

2) Compost

As sure as anything, a compacted, poor quality soil is perfect breeding ground for compromised lawn and weeds. Aeration should be done every 2 to 3 years and composting every spring will not only add to your soil depth, but it will increase root depth and water retention as well. Compost also helps in removing or chelating previous chemical damage and plays an important role in the growth of beneficial fungi growth which is crucial to the eco system beneath your feet. A healthy, chemical free soil, rich with compost and occasional organic fertilizers like Medina Hasta Grow for lawns or an application of liquid seaweed, and you’re good to go.

if your soil looks like this…

You’ll need a lot of rich compost to fix clay, rock and sand. 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, which most people do not. I spread compost into newly emerging grass with a soft rake every spring (after the last freeze and before tax day), to the depth of 1/2”. I 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. Chemical fertilizers are bound with salt which makes nutrients in soil insoluble to plants, rendering them 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.

Organic fertilizer and pest control

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: A new bed must be laid out properly so they will barely touch once mature. The others 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. Broadcast granular Corn Gluten on your lawn and beds 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 small bed there are a myriad of great tools that are right for the job. 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. Spread a roll of 4mil painters plastic and some landscape pins over the mowed weeds until the sun cooks those babies; typically a couple of weeks or so.

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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

No weekly and 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 to be sure you’re consistent and hands free.

Look for products like “Medina Hasta Grow” fertilizers and weed control. Products like these just attach to your hose and go. Remember that a healthy lawn and garden are the greatest defense against weeds. These products can be found at local nurseries, big box stores or online.

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Here are some of my favorite products for weed control:

Here are some of my favorite fertilizers:

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design

’Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

2 Comments

  1. F Vandygriff

    EXCELLENT post Lisa..one of the best I have read.

    Francine

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