How to Control Spring Weeds

Weeds always seem to get a jump on you in spring. Before you know it, they're competing with your favorite plants, robbing them of light, water and nutrients. And they look terrible, clogging the straight rows of vegetable and flower beds, messing up new ground cover plantings that have yet to fill-in, and finding every crack and crevice in walkways, paths and driveways.

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Don’t give in to spring weeds. Here are few tips to help prevent and eliminate weeds in your landscape.

Cultivate. Use a trowel, hoe, hand fork or other garden implement to turn the soil, uprooting young weeds and exposing their roots to dry.  Cultivating also aerates the soil, letting it warm quickly and hastening growth of plants nearby.

Try landscape fabric. Landscape fabrics are cloth-like materials that are permeable to air and water but smother weeds. Lay them down before planting ground covers, roses or other landscape plants, and then cut small Xs to plant through. Cover the fabric with organic mulch, such as compost or bark, to make it look more natural. Landscape fabrics are also an ideal choice to use under gravel or stone ground covers.

Plant closer. Plant vegetables and flowers as closely as recommendations allow. It will help them shade out weed seedlings.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. A thick layer of organic mulch, like compost or ground bark, will smother seeds, making it hard for young weeds to reach the surface. Weeds that do get through will be easier to pull.

Use Your Hands.  Hand-pulling is a time-honored solution that can be remarkably effective if you keep at it. Just make sure you get the weeds, roots and all.

Use an herbicide. Look for a product that's labeled for use in your areas of concern, such as patios, driveways, sidewalks and flower beds. Always follow label instructions. Learn about the 8 Troublesome Weed Zones.

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