Last Updated on January 20, 2022
If you have a garden, you know the importance of weeding it. Even as a newbie gardener you understand the havoc that weeds left unchecked can cause.
Weeds are the enemy of your plants and if left unchecked they will grow faster than anything else in your garden. When weeds get out of control, they can choke out their competition (your beloved plants!) which is why regular weeding is so important.
Weeds can also hoard water, sunlight, and essential nutrients that your plants need in order to grow and thrive.
This post answers the question, why is weeding important, and how to care for your garden properly to maximize its growth potential while minimizing weed interference.
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Why is weeding important?
Weeding is the process of removing weeds from gardens. When doing this, it’s important not to pull up the plants that are growing in your garden because they’re what you’re trying to grow.
One of the most important reasons for weeding is to minimize the competition between weeds and desired plants. Weeds grow faster than anything else will in your garden, so if you don’t take care of them they will choke out everything else you’re trying to grow.
It’s also important to keep your garden free of weeds during wet seasons because this can help prevent water shortages. Weeds will suck up a lot of the water in your garden so by getting rid of them you’ll have more available for the plants that need it.
Weeds can also harbor diseases as well as pests that can be harmful to your plantings.
What are weeds, anyway?
Did you know that there are different types of weeds? Yep. There are basically three types:
- Common Weeds – your average ‘garden variety’ weed (no pun intended!) that is undesirable and can ultimately cause costly damage. These weeds can also cause health problems for both animals and humans. Some of the common weeds include giant foxtail and common lambsquarters as well as crabgrass.
- Noxious Weeds – these weeds have been classified by local, state, or federal government as “injurious to public health, agriculture, recreate, wildlife, or property”. Authorities can quarantine areas and take other actions when a weed is classified as noxious. Want to see the list of noxious weeds by state? Check out this list.
- Invasive Weeds – weeds that are defined as invasive may lack natural enemies to curtail growth. The can spread widely in ecosystems that are not a part of their natural range. Many of these weeds are also in the Noxious category.
It’s important to note that not all weeds are horrible and deserve to be pulled and gotten rid of. Some weeds actually add organic matter and can assist in stabilizing the soil.
All that said, I’m sure you still don’t want to see those weeds in your backyard garden!
How to weed your garden effectively
First and foremost, take a proactive approach to weeding. It’s not much fun to check the garden daily (or as close to that as possible), but if you catch the weeds while they’re still small and before they produce flowers and seeds.
A single plant can produce thousands of seeds that can keep coming back year after year. That in itself is motivation to remove them early, and remove them thoroughly.
When you weed your garden, the first thing you want to do is find out what type of weeds are there. You may have several different types that need to be dealt with in different ways. It’s also important to identify which plants are weeds if you’re not sure just by looking at them.
The next step is to remove the weeds without damaging any of your other plants. If they’ve gone wild and are choking out some of your other plants, it’s best to use a sharp knife or hand pruner for this step. When pulling up the weeds, make sure you pull straight in away from the plant base to avoid harming the roots when pulling up the weed.
Here are some simple tips for weeding your garden:
- Keep your weeding tools clean as you move from one area of the garden to the next. You don’t want to inadvertently spread the weed seeds around.
- Pull the weeds when they’re young and small.
- Remove the pulled weeds from the ground and discard them.
- When purchasing mulch, compost, or soil, make sure to read the label and determine that the product is weed-free.
- If possible, apply mulch around the plants, as weeds have a harder time pushing through it.
- When you water, try to water just the plants and the area directly around them. Otherwise you might be watering the weeds.
Weeding can be done with many different methods but these are some of the most effective ones:
- Using chemicals — Several types of herbicides can be used to kill weeds in your garden.
- Using a weed puller — A good way to remove large amounts of weeds from your garden is with a weeder that you place over the roots and then pull out at the base. This will prevent future growth which makes it an effective method for reducing weed populations significantly.
- Tilling the soil — Tilling your garden allows you to kill weeds and prepare a seedbed at the same time.
- Using mulch around plants — If you place straw, grass clippings or bark mulch around certain plants it will prevent weed growth while also providing some nutrients for your other flowers and vegetables.
- Using ground cover — Some plants can be grown to act as a weed barrier so that they will take over the soil and prevent other types of weeds from growing. You can also use landscape fabric in this way if you want something more permanent rather than temporary.
Tips to keep the weeds away from your plants
Once your garden is free of all weeds, it’s important to keep them from coming back. If you want to prevent future weed growth, it’s a good idea to rotate your crops every year and plant new flowers or vegetables where the old ones were grown previously.
Using organic methods such as mulch and composting piles can also help prevent weed growth. Organic material, such as straw or wood chips, can be spread out over the garden to smother weeds and keep them from getting the sunlight needed for their roots to survive.
Compost piles should have a variety of organic items in them so that there is no one type of plant being thrown into the pile. This will help keep your plants healthy and weed-free.
In conclusion, weeding can be a tricky process. It’s important not to pull up the plants that are growing in your garden because they’re what you’re trying to grow! We hope this blog post has answered the question, why is weeding important, and helpful for those of you who may have had trouble with weed removal in the past.