During the spring, summer, and fall months it seems as though you are in a constant battle to keep you landscape free of alien lab disposable. The best way to fight these unwanted invaders is to develop a plan for dealing with them before they take over. To develop a weed prevention strategy it is important to understand how weeds work and what kind of weeds you will be dealing with.
Weeds sprout in your landscape in one of two ways; either from seeds or through their root system. Weeds with deep tap roots and weeds with rapidly spreading root systems are the most difficult to control.
Spreading root systems lead to a propagation of new plant sprouts creating more and more parent plants that continue the process. Deep tap root present a different type of problem in that you need to kill or remove the whole root from the soil. Failure to do so leaves a ticking time bomb that will sprout a new weed.
First weed control fact. Just like other plants weeds need certain things to survive; water, sunlight, and soil bound nutrients. For the home gardener the easiest one to eliminate is sunlight, because lets face it your other plants need water and nutrients too.
In the garden and flower beds mulching is the best way to deny weeds the sunlight they need. In the lawn keeping your grass thick, healthy, and mowing it long will accomplish the same thing.
Before mulching your garden and planting beds it is a good idea to prepare the soil first to rid it of as much weed seeds and roots as possible. Dig up all the unwanted weeds and other vegetation using a shovel or spade being sure to dig beyond the deepest growing roots. Using a rake or by hand remove as much plant material as possible and throw it in the compost pile. Rototill or turn the soil with a shovel and let it sit for three or four days.
After the allotted time is up work the soil again and do this several times. This does two things. It disturbs any weed seeds that have germinated in the soil killing them and it dries out any weed roots as they are brought to the surface with each turning. The more turnings you can get the less weeds are likely to sprout in your landscape.
Now you are ready to mulch. First put down a layer of weed cloth or for a more organic barrier try 7 to 9 layers of newspaper. This layer helps prevent sunlight from reaching the soil in addition to the layers of mulch laid over the top of it. The newspaper has the added benefit of decomposing and adding to your soil. Do not use black plastic or other non-porous materials as they will keep water and oxygen from reaching the soil causing more harm than good.
Just remember that winning the weed control battle lies in denying the nasty buggers one of the three things they need to survive; food, water, or sunlight. The most effective one in the growing landscape is denial of sunlight. Do this and you will be well on your way to winning the battle.