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How to Dig Up Persistent Weeds

By Contributor ; Updated September 21, 2017

By Josie Borlongan, Garden Guides Contributor Weeds can enter the garden by air or by land. Weeds are, oftentimes, unavoidable in a garden. No matter how much you try to prevent them from growing, others will sprout in your flower beds or lawns. You can never really have a 100 percent weed-free garden; but with regular check-ups, you will be able to have a garden that is healthy and looking weed-free most of the time.Using mulch to prevent weed growth and applying weed killers and herbicides can prevent or help kill these pesky plants in a neglected garden. However, in an active garden that has not been neglected, weeds usually appear either in batches or as individual weeds. Pulling them once you see them emerging helps prevent them from coming back.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Narrow trowel Hoe Knife Hand fork Shovel


  • Bulbous Roots: Uproot bulbous-rooted weeds as you would fibrous-rooted weeds, but avoid shaking the soil free. This is because the soil may include small bulblets that would then re-sprout on your plant bed. To prevent this from happening, carefully put the weeds, roots, and clinging soil into a hot compost pile to kill the seeds and the bulbs. You can also throw these weeds along with your household trash if you are not going to be composting. Fibrous Roots: Water the soil first. Once the soil is moist, it is easier to pull out fibrous-rooted weeds. Simply grasp the plant at the crown, where roots and top growth meet, and then pull upward. A hand fork can be used to loosen the clump first if it resists. Rhizomes: There are weeds that have a lot of long, fleshy roots that run horizontally at or below the root surface like grasses. These weeds are known to have rhizomes or specialized stems. Be careful when pulling these types of weeds, for even a small piece of rhizome that is left behind in the soil can re-sprout roots and leaves. The best way to deal with these types of weeds is to remove them but leave the roots undisturbed. Just repeatedly cut the top portion at ground level. Eventually the roots and rhizomes will starve and eventually die.* Taproots: There are weeds that have a long or central root which are also called taprooted weeds. An example of these weeds is the dandelion; insert a dandelion fork or a narrow trowel vertically into the soil alongside the weeds. Pull the taprooted weed gently on the top at the same time jabbing with the tool. You should feel the weed is released as the root breaks or is cut well below the soil surface. The root will then pull freely from the soil.

Types of Weeds

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


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