Natural Ways to Keep Weeds Out of Your Garden

There are many joys to gardening, one of them being admiring the view of your beautiful plants. One annoying thing that most people don’t enjoy is the pesky weeds. As much as we try to stop them from growing, they are inevitable. But before you reach for just any weed-destroying product, you should know there are natural alternatives!

It may come as a surprise but common household supplies like vinegar and boiling water can keep those pesky weeds at bay. So this year, ditch the products that are laden with toxic chemicals and give one of these natural home remedies for killing weeds a try!

Landscape Fabric

If you’re going to do some landscaping, consider using landscape fabric. This special fabric is a perforated material and it still allows water and moisture to reach your soil — an important part of growing healthy plants! Luckily, the barrier also stops unwanted plants from sprouting and thus can help keep weeds out of your garden.

Landscape fabric can be purchased online or from your local home improvement retailer. If you’re worried about the installment process, don’t fret! Laying down landscape fabric is easy to do! The Spruce has an excellent step-by-step guide you can follow.

Let Your Grass Grow Longer

Picking weeds out of your lawn can feel like an endless task. For every weed you pull, two seem to pop back up! Luckily, there is one simple solution that may help — let your grass grow longer.

Good Housekeeping says, “the length of your grass can impact its health and make it more or less susceptible to weeds.” So, to help prevent weeds from growing in your lawn, allow your grass to stay longer (about 2 to 3-inches). Another tip, mow your lawn before the weeds set seeds.

Consider Your Plant Options

When choosing flowers for your garden consider your options. Good Housekeeping explains plants will fight for resources and only the strongest will survive.

With this in mind, opt for flowers, ground covers, and garden crops that will fight for more resources (sunlight, water, and nutrients) than weeds. Some great full-sun ground cover options you can consider are stonecrop, Calamintha, mint, and Coreopsis. If your garden is in a shady area, you can consider plants such as geraniums (or cranesbill), periwinkle, or lily of the valley.

Solarizing

Another simple, yet effective way to keep weeds out of your garden is to try solarizing. This method involves placing a thin clear plastic over any area you want to destroy weeds.

You simply leave the plastic in place for a few weeks (typically 4 to 6-weeks), and the sun will heat the ground to eliminate the weeds and their seeds.

Mulch

Mulch doesn’t only make your garden look good, it has a functional purpose too! Mulch can help keep your soil cool and wet (great for growing plants!) but as it turns out, the mulch can help eliminate the sunlight that weeds require to grow.

Make sure your mulch is about 2 to 4-inches deep. You should also keep it away from your lawn because it can ruin your lawn if it covers your grass. Better Homes and Gardens also says, “Avoid placing mulch right up next to the trunks of trees or stalks of plants, which can lead to disease or decay.”

Newspaper

Similar to laying down mulch, you can also try using newspaper as an effective and natural way to keep weeds out of your garden. By laying the newspaper over the weeds you’ll prevent the weeds from getting the sunlight they require. As a result, they’ll be exterminated.

You could also place a layer of newspaper on your garden and then place mulch over top. Both the newspaper and the mulch will work together to prevent new weeds from growing. As a bonus, the newspaper will also decompose and feed your soil.

Boiling Water

If you need to get rid of stubborn weeds in the cracks of your sidewalks, patio, or driveway, then good ole tap water can help! The secret is to boil the water first!

You simply pour the boiling water over the weeds and the heat causes an instant shock. The heat of the water not only destroys the plant and root tissue but also any seeds that may be lying dormant.

Vinegar

Vinegar is a staple in most homes and for good reason! It’s so versatile and can be used in the kitchen, as a cleaning product, to help ward off stubborn odors, and it can even be useful in the garden.

To exterminate those pesky weeds in your garden, drench them with vinegar. Just be careful because vinegar is acidic so it may lower the pH of your soil which can result in poor plant health. It’s best to save this method for the pesky weeds that aren’t located near other plants you’re trying to grow. Save it for places like your patio, sidewalk, and driveway.

Corn Gluten Meal

Better Homes and Garden says corn gluten meal can also help prevent seeds of pesky weeds from growing in the first place. Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of corn milling and is a “pre-emergent organic herbicide,” says the source.

The secret to it being effective is to apply it at the right time. This is typically in the spring before the weeds start sprouting. It’s also worth noting, this method may require a few years of consistent applications to reach its full potential. Finally, the source explains you should “avoid applying corn gluten in any beds where you plan to sow other seeds because it’ll also prevent them from growing”

Get a Goat

If you live in the country and love animals, one animal you should consider getting is a goat. Goats enjoy eating bush and weeds and thus this may be a great option to keep those pesky weeds out of your beautiful property.

Not to mention, goats may be able to reach areas that machinery cannot. As a bonus, Good Housekeeping says their hooves rototill the soil as they graze, not to mention they’re incredibly adorable!

Weeding by Hand

Finally, one of the tried and true methods of keeping weeds out of your garden is weeding by hand. Nothing quite beats good old-fashioned elbow grease, right?

To ensure you get rid of the weeds for good, make sure you pull from beneath the soil to pull the root out. Good Housekeeping also suggests waiting until after a rainstorm because the ground will be much softer and the weeds will come out easier. Finally, using a screwdriver or weeding tool may help loosen those stubborn roots.

Don’t Use Salt

One natural method for eliminating weeds you might find online is using salt. However, Better Homes and Gardens recommends that you err on the side of caution with this one.

Salt can eliminate weeds, but the problem is, “it also poisons the ground for many years and moves with rain or water into groundwater sources,” says the source. With this in mind, avoid using salt anywhere in your yard.

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa is the Junior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat. She aspires to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating foods that nourish her body, but she isn't afraid to indulge in a little chocolate here and there! Clarissa loves cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with her dog. In her free time, you'll find her relaxing in her hammock or curled up on the couch reading a book.

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