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natural ways to prevent weeds from growing

Keeping weeds under control doesn’t have involve harsh chemicals.

Chemical-Free Ways to Kill Weeds

No matter how much careful planning you do, it's inevitable that a few annoying weeds will start popping up in your garden. When you spot them, don't reach for the weed killer right away; there are natural ways to kill weeds that will solve the problem in an environmentally-friendly way. If you spot just a few weeds sprouting in your flower bed, you can try pulling them out and digging up as much of the roots as possible. But if you're seeing more and more weeds taking over your garden, a natural remedy to kill weeds can help you take back your yard.

Mulching

You can also use a propane torch ($24, The Home Depot) to scorch weeds. Just use extreme care and wait until a non-windy day to burn off weeds. Flaming weeds will also kill nearby grass and other plants, so it's best for using in areas without plants that you want to keep, such as between the cracks of a concrete sidewalk.

Natural ways to prevent weeds from growing

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Spreading these useless items in garden paths or between rows will keeps weeds from ever showing their unwanted heads. Cover with mulch.

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Here are 7 ways to kill weeds with household items. You’ll save money while showing no mercy to these uninvited guests.

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A carpet of newspaper, which blocks sunlight and oxygen from reaching the soil, will smother weeds already sprouted and prevent new ones from growing. Throw down newspaper in 10-sheet layers, wet to hold it down, and cover with an inch or two of mulch. If weeds begin to grow in the mulch, add more layers, making a mulch-newspaper lasagna, which eventually will decompose and nourish the soil.

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The acetic acid in 5% vinegar is a desiccant that sucks the life out of plant leaves. It’s most destructive to young plants with immature roots, though it just rolls off weeds with waxy leaves, like pennywort or thistle.

Who says you need standard weeding tools to kill weeds? Here are seven ways to kill weeds with weapons you already have around your house.

Natural ways to prevent weeds from growing

Douse weeds with vinegar and they’ll be DOA. James recommends using the horticultural kind, with a whopping 20% acetic acid. “It’s non-selective, meaning it’ll kill anything green, but it’s not all that effective on grassy weeds,” he says. “Also, realize that vinegar is acidic, which means you run the risk of lowering the pH of the soil.” Just take care to wear protective clothing and eye protection.

Dig only where you need to because removing grass creates a new place for pesky plants to thrive, even if you don’t see any around. “Most lawns have hidden weed seeds,” Holland says. “When you’re digging the ground to plant, open only a patch that you need.”

With or without fabric, experts agree mulch is a must. “Mulch is such an easy fix and helps keep your soil cool, wet, and eliminates light that weeds need to grow,” says Kris Holland at Black River Landscape Management. “Keep it around two inches deep and off your lawn, since it will also kill your grass.”

Weed control starts way before you spy intruders. “Consider laying down landscape fabric topped with a layer of mulch or straw,” advises Missy Henriksen of the National Association of Landscape Professionals . The physical barrier stops unwanted plants from sprouting up in the first place.

In the garden, there is a competition for resources among your plants, where only the strongest survive and thrive. Plant ground covers, flowers, and garden crops that will naturally beat out weeds for sunlight, water, and nutrients.

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Stop dandelions and crabgrass in their tracks — or really, their roots. These pesticide-free tactics let your garden grow in all its glory, minus annoying eyesores. Common household supplies like salt, vinegar, newspaper, and even water can kill unsightly weeds pretty much instantly, but mulch and landscaping fabric can save you from future yard work.