Weeding Methods

Getting rid of weeds is a necessary chore of gardening. Unwanted plants take nutrients and water from landscaping. They ruin the look of a flower bed and creep into lawns and borders. Eliminate weeds while they are small and the job is easier. Whatever you do, don't let weeds go to seed before you get rid of them.

Hand Pulling

One tried and true method of getting rid of weeds is pulling them out by the roots. Use a weeder, which looks like a flattened screwdriver with a notch in the end, to get all the root. If the area is covered with weeds, use a hoe to remove them from the soil. Wear gloves. Some weeds are irritating to the skin. Don't put weeds in the compost bin if they've already gone to seed.


Lay down a thick layer of mulch around and between plants. Weeds won't get the sunlight they require to sprout. Use commercial natural material mulch or mulch made from leaves, grass clippings or bark. Eventually, the mulch will break down and add organic matter to the soil. There are also mulches made of inorganic material like rocks, pulverized rubber and smooth glass chips.


Lay plastic over the area to be weeded. The plastic deprives the weeds of moisture and increases the temperature of the soil. Black plastic works quickly. Even garbage bags can be used. Be careful using the plastic around plants you want to keep, as the soil temperature may increase to the point that their roots are cooking as well.

Chemical Means

Commercial sprays are available that work in several ways. Foliar sprays work by killing the leaves and stems. Other chemicals work by killing the roots through penetration of the soil. Pre-emergent sprays work by coating the weed seeds so they can't sprout or killing them quickly after they've germinated. Chemical sprays are a challenge because they don't discriminate between the good plants and weeds. A stray gust of wind while you're spraying can result in dead plants in your flower border.

Natural Means

Weeds that are in a driveway or between sidewalk sections, patios or bricks can be killed by dousing with vinegar or salt water. This method also works with weeds that are growing in gravel used as a ground cover. Experiment with the dilution of the vinegar to water or the strength of the salt solution. Keep the solution away from plants you want to keep.

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About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.