A weed may be described as any plant or vegetation that interrupts farming or forestry objectives, such as growing crops, grazing animals, or cultivating forest plantations.
A weed may even be defined as any plant growing where it is not wanted. For instance, a plant may be valuable or useful in a garden, farm, or plantation. But if the same plant increases where it lowers the value of agricultural produce or spoils aesthetic or environmental importance, it is considered a weed. Yet, some plants are still weeds regardless of where they grow.
Weeding is probably one of the most despised gardening tasks, usually because it’s hard work and the job never appears to be finished. If you remove one weed, two more will spring up in its place.
So what is the best way to remove weeds from your garden and lawn?
There’s no easy answer; the best method and/or tool depends on several factors –
- you (for example, your hand strength and skillfulness, ability to kneel and reach, how much time and patience you have)
- type of weeds and its number (there are many types of weeds, so knowing the types of weeds makes it easier for you to remove them.)
- conditions (soil type and moistness level, where the weeds are located, garden bed, between patio pavers, climbing up a tree), and
- Preferences in removing the weeds (organic vs. mechanical vs. chemical).
- Why is weeding necessary
- Two types of weeding tools
- What to consider when buying weeding tools
Why is weeding necessary
Weeding is one of the most essential practices for many crops. Weeding can be defined as removing weeds (unwanted plants) from the field.
Weeding is necessary because weeds compete with primary crop plants for the different factors such as water, sunlight, nutrients, and space, affecting plant growth.
Due to unwanted plants, there is a reduction in yield also.
It is best to weeding 2-3 times whenever weeds grow again. Therefore, weed should be controlled in the initial stage.
There are different benefits of the weeding process by which we can get a healthier crop.
By mulching, we can prevent the growth of weeds. However, you can remove weeds with your bare hands. Still, you can also use some poisonous chemicals to kill weeds in the fields, although this is not recommended because this can harm both you and the plants nearby.
These poisonous chemicals are also known as weedicides.
Weeds can also be removed by using a trowel (khurpa).
However, weeds transfer diseases and pests. That’s why it is crucial to control weeds in time.
If you want your garden to look perfect and neat, you might need to weed your lawn/garden from time to time. Here’s why.
- Weeding keeps your garden beds tidy and, most importantly, keeps your plants healthy.
- Weeds hinder plant growth by competing for moisture and nutrients in the soil. Your “real” plants may decline or overrun if you don’t weed.
- Weeds can shatter the look of your carefully-planned garden. Imagine the yellow dandelions instead of the blue salvia you expected to see…
- Some weeds are toxic and poisonous or cause skin irritation (e.g., poison ivy, giant hogweed).
- Invasive plants can get out of control.
- Once weeds have grown, they are hard to remove, so there might be a possibility you might damage your plants when removing them.
How to prevent weeds
The most reasonable way to prevent weeds from spreading throughout your garden is to stop them before they take root. Knowing how to control weeds means understanding the task is not a one-time job but rather a continual garden chore.
Although there’s no method to “weed proof” your garden, there are several ways to reduce the number and vigor of weeds. Some of the most typical scenarios include:
- Intensive cropping or planting densely (is a farming method that uses higher inputs and advanced agricultural techniques to increase the overall yield.)
- Surrounding the soil with mulch (these includes organic mulches, such as shredded bark, compost, or pine straw, and inorganic materials, such as gravel, rubber mulch) or a weed-suppressing coating (fabric, plastic)
- Applying a chemical weed suppressant on the soil surface (We don’t recommend this as we prefer not to use chemicals in the garden as much as possible. Mulching is preferred.)
- Deadheading or pulling all weeds before they start to seed. (The best way to eliminate most undesirable plants is to pull them out manually, eradicating as much of the roots as possible.)
Nevertheless, no matter how diligent you are in attempting to prevent weeds. There’s always one that goes away, so you need to find another way to remove or prevent them.
Try making your own weed killer using vinegar and soap
I hate weeds. Don’t you? If you wander around the gardening aisle at your local or big box store, you will see all sorts of weed killers. But what if you could exterminate weeds using natural ingredients without running to buy one of those expensive weed killers. Did you know you probably have a perfect weed killer in your cupboard? It’s vinegar! Yes, it’s true…vinegar does kill weeds, particularly when used along with dish soap. Vinegar, Dish Soap, and a plastic spray bottle are all you need to be able to make your own organic weed killer. The acetic acid in the vinegar that you sprayed “sucks out the water” from the weed, which parches it up. It usually takes 24 hours to remove the weeds by using vinegar. In addition, the dish soap helps to break down the outer coat of the plant (cuticle), which allows that vinegar to work best. Here’s how to identify weeds in your yard.
Weed killer recipe
- 1-gallon of vinegar (with 5% acetic acid)
- 1 ounce of dish soap
- 1 spray bottle.
Directions: Mix the vinegar and soap together in a container. After pouring into a spray bottle, spray onto weeds.
Before you apply the weed killer you just made for your garden, here are some guidelines:
- Vinegar/soap weed killer is non-selective, which indicates that it will also damage/kill your desirable plants. So be cautious when applying to weeds.
- It’s best to Apply on a sunny day with no wind because the sun helps the vinegar to dry out the weed. For the best result, you also want to wait for a windless day so that it won’t inadvertently spray onto other plants when you spray.
- Your vinegar mixture may or may not eradicate the weed’s root. You may need to reapply if green growth shows up after that, or you can also try to spray a little of the mixture over the root zone to thoroughly kill large weeds.
- Vinegar/soap weed killer may not kill all types of weeds; it depends on what you are dealing with. An experiment in your own garden to see which types of weeds it works on.
So, next time you need to kill weeds, simply open your cupboard and make your own weed killer with vinegar and soap. It’s natural, effective, and cheap! Then, check out more ways to win the war on weeds.
Two types of weeding tools
While hand pulling is the easiest method, it’s only effective against smaller weeds with shorter roots. It also assumes that you can spend extended periods on your knees, reaching for and removing weeds. For anything else, you’ll require a weeding tool of some kind.
There are two primary styles of weeding tools – short-handled and long-handled. Short-handled tools are most suitable for working on your knees in tight or closely planted areas. Long-handled tools let you stand while weeding and cover a larger size.
Within these two primary styles, you’ll find various designs. Manufacturers have come up with all types of tools to remove weeds. Some work very well; others are mainly gimmicks.
No tool is excellent for all weeding tasks, so you’ll likely end up with several different types of devices. The key is to find the tools that best allow you to do the kind of weeding necessary for your garden or lawn.
Here’s what you need to understand to choose the best weeding tool for your needs.
What to consider when buying weeding tools
When considering buying a new weeding tool, First, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this tool help me to work in a relaxed position? Can I hold it smoothly? Do I have the strength and/or skill to use it correctly?
- Does it help pull out the entire root? What about weeds with more extended or deeper roots (as deep as 6 to 12 inches or greater)? This is especially important for tap-rooted weeds – if you miss even a little piece of root, the weed will grow back quickly.
- Does this tool work for the most common and/or disturbing weeds in my garden? For instance, if you have a lot of running grasses, can it pull out the roots without breaking them into tiny pieces? If dandelions are your problem, can they pull taproots?
- Is this weeding tool made of high-quality materials, such as a hickory grip or stainless steel blade? Are the parts held together securely? And most importantly, does it have a warranty?
- Are the cutting or digging edges sharp? Can it be resharpened if required?
- What sort of maintenance does this tool need? Does it require frequent cleaning, lubricating, or sharpening? Am I ready to do that?
- What else can this weeding tool help me with? And if I obtain this weeding tool, what different tools will I also need to be capable of doing all the necessary weeding tasks in my garden?
- Given all of the above, is this actually a tool that I’ll use? Will it make weeding more manageable, or will it just complicate things?
Short-handled weeding tools
Short-handle weeders are more than just a shorter version of long-handled weeding tools. Although some look like miniature hoes, there is also a wide range of unique styles only found with short handles. The goal is to give you reasonable control of where you make your weeding strikes. So that you don’t accidentally uproot your prized perennials with enough power to complete the job as efficiently as possible.
Depending on your conditions, one or more of these short-handled tools may be what you need.
Hori hori, or japanese farmer’s knife
This versatile weed tool looks like a knife on steroids. This 7-inch blade has one smooth edge for slicing (like when opening a bag of mulch) and one serrated edge for stabbing and sawing through roots, sod, and other rigid material. It can be used for cultivating, cutting, digging, and prying weeds out of the ground. It’s usually obtainable with either a stainless steel or carbon steel blade. While the carbon steel has a sharper edge, it also needs more frequent sharpening and rusts quickly.
Lesche digging knife
There are a few gardening tools I simply cannot be without – this is one of them. The Lesche digging knife is an intensified version of the traditional Hori Hori. It has a comfortable and sturdy handle and a serrated and straight edge on the digging blade. In addition, there’s a blade shield to protect your hand as you plunge the weeding tool into the soil, and it’s a heat-treated blade that’s powerful enough to allow you to do far more than just weed.
Asparagus knife / fishtail or the dandelion weeder
You’ve probably seen this kind of tool many times– it’s the tool commonly used to pry up dandelions. There’s nothing like a fishtail weeder for removing dandelions out of lawn or groundcover. It has an extended, narrow shaft with a V-shaped end. Just plunge it into the soil beside the dandelion with the V facing the plant. Pull it back slightly on the handle. There you go; the dandelion will pop out easily.
Cape cod weeder
This is a strange-looking weed tool, but it is convenient when working in tight spaces. The L-shaped blade is pulled toward you right under the soil surface, cutting off weeds at the root. It’s short enough to let you effortlessly reach between plants and is comfortable to hold. Make sure you get the correct one because it comes in both a right- and a left-handed version.
Long-handled weeding tools
This is a category of tools where you’ll find multiple gimmicky items that don’t work. However, here are the long-handled weeding tools that are highly recommended.
Oscillating hoe or stirrup hoe
This is another hoe that’s somewhat different from a traditional American hoe. It’s stirrup-shaped instead of a solid blade (hence the name stirrup hoe). The base of the stirrup is flat and sharpened on both sides; it’s the part of the hoe that does all the job. Just place the blade on the soil surface and move it back and forth (push and pull it like how you would do it on a vacuum cleaner). The edge will dig in just below the surface and cut off weeds at the root. It also nurtures the soil as you move it as an added bonus. This tool is generally lightweight, easy to use, and maneuverable (so you can also use it in tightly planted garden beds).
A Dutch hoe differs from the traditional American hoe you’re probably familiar with. It’s used by resting the lower end of the blade flat on the ground and gently sliding the hoe back and forth. The blade will slip under the soil’s surface to break it up and cut the weeds from their roots. Hoeing becomes an easy task by working backward from one end of a bed to the other with push-pull action. This hoe’s long handle and easy motion allow you to stand upright without bending over, saving your back and time.
Radius pro weeder
This ergonomic weeder has a circular, resin-coated handle that’s perfect for those of us with arthritic fingers, like those who grip strength issues, carpal tunnel, or other hand/wrist problems. The long, stainless steel blade easily slides into the ground when you step on the footrest. It’s particularly good at uprooting taproot weeds – say goodbye to dandelions and dock! It’s made of resin-encased steel and has a lifetime guarantee.
Scotts weed-out pro
I’ve always been skeptical of stand-up weeders – they make many promises, but many are flimsy tools that don’t get the job done. But the WeedOut Pro from Scotts puts that stereotype to rest. It does an excellent job of pulling weeds in garden beds and lawns. The only time you’ll have to bend over or kneel down is to pick up the weeds after they’ve been ejected from the tool. Assuming you don’t remove them directly into a bucket or tub trug. It’s sturdy, lightweight, and easy to use. This will save a lot of pain to the back, knees, and hands and have the bonus of aerating the soil simultaneously.