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how to prevent weeds from growing in backyard

Preemergence herbicides, such as those containing oryzalin or trifluralin (look on the label for these chemicals), or nontoxic corn gluten meal, kill weeds just as they germinate and will not eradicate established weeds. For a preemergence herbicide to be effective, you must apply it to soil cleared of visible weeds; also, you have to water most of these herbicides into the soil.

Denman & Co.
401 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866
714/639-8106
Ball weeder

(For those of you who already have weeds attacking your yard, read our article on How to Get Rid of Weeds.)

Smother Weeds with Mulch

The frequency and timing of your fertilizing efforts are also crucial to healthy lawns. Both vary depending on your lawn type and the length of your growing season. Most northern lawns need only one or two applications of fertilizer annually—once in fall and sometimes a second time in spring. Southern grasses might require three feedings—early to mid-spring just after the grass greens up, early summer and again in early fall.

Any weeds that grow through mulch are easy to pull because the soil remains loose. Photo by Saxon Holt

Where to Find It

This Preemergence herbicide, made from corn gluten, is nontoxic. You can safely use it near all of your vegetables as well as around ornamental plants. Photo by Saxon Holt

Yes, you can. Synthetic landscape fabrics provide a physical barrier to weeds yet allow air, water and nutrients through to plant roots. Spread the fabric over bare soil around trees and shrubs; overlap several inches of fabric at the seams. Anchor the material with U-shaped metal pins, then conceal it with 1 to 2 in. of mulch, such as stone or bark chips.

How to prevent weeds from growing in backyard

A weed is any unwanted plant growing in your garden. Weeds are just plants that have been planted by nature

Organic Weed Control Plan.

Road base is not a good idea as it has undesirable chemicals in it and gravel often changes the PH. An organic mulch is a much better choice. If you try a few precautions before you plant, and then mulch you have a much better chance of staying ahead of the weeds.

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Tackling weeds is a bit of work in the beginning, but these steps will make your life so much easier and your gardening experience so much more satisfying.

How to prevent weeds from growing in backyard

When you can’t remove weeds, the next best thing is to chop off their heads. With annual weeds, dead­heading buys you a few weeks of time before the weed “seed rain” begins. Cutting back the tops of perennial weeds, like bindweed, reduces reseeding and forces them to use up food reserves and exhaust their supply of root buds, thus limiting their spread.

Close plant spacing chokes out emerging weeds by shading the soil between plants. You can prevent weed-friendly gaps from the get-go by designing with mass plantings or in drifts of closely spaced plants rather than with polka dots of widely scattered ones. You can usually shave off about 25 percent from the recommended spacing.

3. Weed when the weeding’s good

If you choose to use this method on seldom-dug areas, such as the root zones of shrubs and trees, opt for tough landscape fabric for the light-blocking bottom sheet. There is a catch, however: As soon as enough organic matter accumulates on the landscape fabric, weed seeds dropped by birds or carried in on the wind will start to grow. For the bottom layer of fabric to be effective, these must be pulled before they sink their roots through and into the ground.

If you have autumn leaf fall in your area and cost is the big concern about mulching, I get good results from shredded leaves. They work well for several purposes: mulching, composting, and using in general to add organic matter to soil.

Heat is the key to composting weeds

Mulch benefits plants by keeping the soil cool and moist and depriving weeds of light. Organic mulches, in particular, can actually host crickets and carabid beetles, which seek out and devour thousands of weed seeds.