How to Till and Cultivate Weeds

How to Till and Cultivate Weeds Information

By Josie Borlongan, Garden Guides Contributor A wise gardener trying to eradicate an aggressive weed should follow the golden rule of not tilling. Tilling to remove persistent and perennial weeds of herbs like comfrey, mint, Jerusalem artichokes, quackgrass and tansy will produce the opposite effect. Tilling can break the plant and its roots and rhizomes into tiny stubs that can multiply into huge plants.


* Several gardening tools (trowel, shovel, rake, and hoe)
* Rototiller or cultivator
* Flame weeder
* Old screwdriver or sharp knife.
* Kneeling pad
* Gardening or work gloves


* Before planting crops or sowing seeds, hand-weed during the early spring by pulling the young weeds or seedlings gently with your hands. Use kneeling pad or gardening stool for comfort. Ensure that the plants are dry before you weed to avoid the risk of spreading disease spores. Weed when the soil is moist, a day after the rainfall or watering.
* Weed in the morning on a sunny day, leave the seedlings to wilt and die on the soil surface after you pull them. The next day, rake the dead weeds using a rake.
* You can also remove weeds by using tools, like a trowel, a hoe, or a shovel. Cultivating regularly is necessary for heavily infested areas. When using a hoe or a hand weeder, keep the blade parallel to the soil surface. Follow an imaginary line that is parallel to the soil surface. Pull the hoe blade down to the soil surface then cut through weed stems or pull weed roots loose from the soil without tossing the soil to avoid exposing more weeds that can cause them to germinate.
* Conditioning very acidic soils with lime will deter some lawn weeds, especially many kinds of moss, which thrive where the pH of the soil is low.
* Cultivating healthy plants that are able to compete more effectively with weeds can help deter weed growth. Some vegetable crops, like potatoes, compete well with annual weeds and may be grown to help maintain clean ground for a subsequent crop.
* Cultivate quickly and shallowly when weeds are small. This method is also known as blind cultivation method.
* Apply mulch 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5cm) thick of weed-free, organic material such as leaf mold or processed bark to help prevent weed seeds from germinating. The mulch will also smother any weed seedlings that may sprout. Avoid using compost or insufficiently rotted manure as mulch because they may contain weed seeds.
* After you've prepared the bed, water it well and let it sit for 2 weeks. A hearty crop of weed seedlings will sprout which you can then kill by hoeing gently just below the surface by using a flame weeder. After the hoed or flamed weed seedlings are dead, remove them from the soil surface and then plant your crop seeds. This trick is called the stale seedbed method. Its main purpose is to flush out the weed competition to help the crops have a better chance to establish itself before the next weeds germinate.
* When tilling cannot be avoided, do it in the evening instead of daytime. Broadleaf small-seeded annual weeds such as lamb's-quarters, pigweed, smartweed, and ragweed seeds do not have enough reserves to support growth for long in the dark soil and would need light to germinate. When tilling at night, avoid using any light, even a flashlight because even short bursts of light can induce germination in those small-seeded annuals.

Types of Weeds

These techniques can be used for a wide range of weeds.

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