How to Prevent Seeds From Sprouting


Many types of plants, including weeds, reproduce from seeds. These seeds germinate throughout the garden and landscape during favorable conditions. Seeds spread through various distribution methods, including wind and foraging animals. Successfully eliminating weeds and preventing seeds from sprouting requires several measures. Removing seed-producing plants and destroying existing seeds in the soil minimizes the possibility of new weeds.

Step 1

Remove existing weeds prior to maturity. Early in the spring, pull or mow weeds in their immature state. Avoid cutting weeds after seed heads form to minimize seed disbursement. Use a bag attached to your mower to catch cuttings and transport the cuttings to a location far from your yard and landscaped areas.

Step 2

Kill the remaining portions of the weed plants by spraying with an herbicide. Select an herbicide specified for use on your individual variety of weeds or purchase one indicated to remove all types of vegetation for use in areas without desirable plants. Apply the herbicide in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Reapply to stubborn varieties that display signs of fresh growth.

Step 3

Remove dead weeds from your soil with a shallow garden tiller. Avoid disturbing seeds buried deep in the soil by limiting soil disturbance to the top few inches of soil. Many seeds lie dormant beneath the surface until disturbed. Pull out remaining debris and vegetation to eliminate sprouting from attached seedpods and flower heads.

Step 4

Treat your bare soil with a pre-emergent herbicide. These herbicides prevent dormant seeds from sprouting in the soil. Apply the herbicide before planting desirable varieties of seeds. Follow the instructions when applying the herbicide and wait the recommended period before planting desirable plants in your prepared site.

Step 5

Plant cover crops over areas previously occupied by weeds to eliminate seed germination and choke out new weed growth. Select varieties of grass, clover, hairy vetch and oats to grow in place of weeds. Fertilize with commercial compost. Avoid using manure, which may contain seeds ready to sprout.

Things You'll Need

  • Mower with bag attachment
  • Post-emergent herbicide
  • Pre-emergent herbicide
  • Cover crop seed
  • Commercial compost


  • University of Vermont Extension: Ten Steps Toward Organic Weed Control
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Weed Control in Lawns and Other Turf
  • University of Florida Extension: Container Nursery Weed Control
Keywords: weed control, herbicide, seed removal

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.