Ideas for Weed Control in Gardens

The ever-present battle between gardener and weed challenges even the most agile minds for solutions to this ongoing problem. Gardeners have options to address weed control in gardens. Different chemical weed products attack plants before emergence or after foliage appears. Many gardeners decide simply to forgo the chemical application on their property to protect family members and pets. Weed control needs to take an inventive, consistent approach to be successful. A one-time weeding of any garden area would constitute a real miracle in the gardening world.

Hand Cultivation

As mundane as it sounds, hand pulling of weeds works very well to control invasive species. Regular tillage of the soil and removal of weeds less than 3 inches in height effectively controls the spread of weeds. This method requires some intensive labor, but it's completely natural and chemical free. Perform physical removal of weeds before the plant becomes mature to prevent the spread of seeds from the invasive plant. Hand pulling involves using a small handled shovel or rake to loosen the soil around the weed, lifting as much root as possible out of the garden.


Mulch serves as a major helper around the home landscape as a first-line defense against weeds. A thick 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch literally smothers smaller weeds. Mulch reduces the appearance of weeds and also neatens the appearance of weedy, high maintenance garden. Reduction of weed incidences in gardens often promotes the better health of existing plants and shrubs. Weeds compete with plants for soil nutrients and moisture, often winning this battle. Place a good layer of mulch on your gardens after the first round of weeding and you just might see a reduction in the number of nuisance plants.

Weed Screen

Some weeds defy description in their ability to annoy a gardener. Weed screen serves to combat a rampant weed problem by creating a porous layer between the soil and mulch layer to smother invasive plants. Sheets of the screen are placing in overlapping sections in the garden with cutouts for existing plants. Apply and layer of mulch and weed appearance reduces dramatically for the first few years. Eventually weeds will work their way back into the layer of mulch above the screen unless the gardener continues maintenance weed removal.


Solarizing involves frying the weeds to a crisp in their current location. This drastic measure requires the installation of a sheet of thick clear plastic secured tightly to the ground. Temperatures increase under the plastic to the point where the weed simply suffocates and dries out. Solarizing works well for larger areas in the garden or as a last resort after many frustrating hours of pulling weeds. Plastic sheeting needs to stay in position for at least 6 weeks to be effective. Existing plants need to be carefully dug up, cleaned of soil and potential weed rhizomes (roots) and seeds.


Squirting spray weed killer on the annoying plants in your garden might seem like an easier option to hand pulling nuisance plants. Pre-emergent herbicides tackle weeds during germination and post-emergent herbicides kill actively growing weed species. Herbicide will kill existing plants in the area of spraying so this product should be applied carefully. Take a sample of the weed to the garden center to get assistance on choosing the best product to control the weed problem.

Keywords: weed control, weeds, garden weed removal

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.