The typical garden—be it flower or vegetable—needs some weed control the garden is usually plagued to some degree by pesky weeds. There are many ways to invoke weed control infestation, and if your garden looks like the picture depicted below then you are in deep trouble.

out of control weed infestation

You have two choices in weed problems: either preventive methods which causes weeds not to germinate in the first place, or utilizing the tools and techniques to discourage existing weed growth.

The first method can be accomplished but only after you have eliminated the existing weeds in your garden.

The second most important thing is weed identification. I will discuss with you here some of those common forms of weeds some which you may be able to identify, while others may bring back vague memories of debating to yourself about if this is a weed or a flower.

Go to my weed identification article  to learn how to eliminate your most common weeds.

The easiest method is to have available some classic mechanical weeders and preferably with long handles, so you do not have to bend or kneel to perform the task at hand.

It may require a little investigative work to locate the tool you like. The traditional garden hoes with maybe some neat weeding features will make your life a whole lot easier.

There is a collinear hoe which comes with a rectangular blade which is very sharp and has an angled handle, which is excellent at the removal of small weeds and has little or no impact on the soil.

Many Types of Weed Control Hoes Exist For Your Gardening Chores

There are hoes designed for sandy soil and a specific hoe which is triangular in shape to do close up work around young plants. It can also create a furrow in which your seeds maybe planted.

They are eye or grub hoes for very heavy digging and cultivating. These come with a very large and heavy blade and most times are equipped with a long handle so you can apply additional leverage.

I have had good luck with the muti-tined hoes where the single blade is replaced by three to five small tines. These are capable of digging very lightly around your precious young plants to dig out those nasty weeds. Gardens Alive has some excellent weed control products just check out their site.

Weed Control with Heat

This method of weed control is effective without all the stooping and bending, disturbing the soil, or applying herbicides. However there are safety concerns which using this method of weed elimination.

You should never use any flame torch during dry spells or when there is brown material present in your garden. I think it would be wise to contact your local fire department or town clerk before using this method. This would be especially true in urban areas.

Of course your own safety is of concern also when utilizing a flamer. These units have pressurized tanks of propane and if handled in a reckless manner, can be HAZARDOUS.

If you do operate them in a safe manner, then they are easy to use and saves a lot of time in the gardening and weed control.

The Use of Flamers in Your Garden

flame torching them weeds!

The flame is passed over and around the weeds. It actually causes the water in the plant cells to boil which in turn makes them burst. The heat destruction results in the cutoff of any water or nutrients to the weeds so that the top part of the plant cannot survive.

All that is required of you is to walk very slowly between the rows and applying the flame to the weed which only takes a tenth of a second to eliminate. The weed may not keel over immediately but will surely die within a few hours.

Just leave the weed to compost on its own because by disturbing the soil you could bring more weed seeds to the surface

One thing should be noted here before you run out and start flaming all of your weeds. If the weed has somehow managed to interweave itself with your valuable plant, then flaming will not be possible.

This is the only fallacy in using this method of weed control. The best time or season for effective control is in the spring or early summer, when your weeds will be small and not had the opportunity to wind around and through your plants.

There is also another problem which occurs with this method. It will not kill the roots of perennial weeds. There will appear within a week or two more small shoots requiring more treatments.

Eventually you will exhaust the root energy and the weeds will be gone. I have seen a recommendation to wet the soil prior to using the flamer.

This will result in killing the seeds that have not germinated. It acts like heat conduction and travels to the weed seeds just beneath the soil.

This piece of equipment can be purchased from your local garden center where I would inquire about the methods and safety of using this weed control tool. Again, go to the weed identification page *126 to learn how to eliminate your most common weeds.

Weed Control with Organic and Inorganic Mulches

The use of mulch does assist in weed control and prevents the germination of the weeds. There are two varieties of mulch one being obtained from plant material and decomposes in the earth.

The other type does not decompose and must be removed from the garden after serving its purpose of moisture retention, keeping the soil warm, and reducing the amount of weeds.

The most frequently used organic mulches include manures, bark chips, sawdust, and grass clippings. This type of weed control mulch allows you some leeway in both fertilizing and watering since the mulch can be pulled back from the plant.

It should be equally applied around the plant at a depth of three to four inches. It would be wise to make sure you do not apply straw with weed seeds.

Instead, apply moisture to the straw and allow the weed seeds to sprout by keeping the straw moist. Then the straw should be air dried to kill the sprouting weed seeds.

The use of black plastic is usually seen as the most used inorganic mulch. However red plastic is also used in conjunction with tomatoes. A clear plastic is not sufficient enough in keeping the light from the weed seeds which would need to sprout.

You will need to apply the fertilizer prior to putting down the plastic weed control. There are also some excellent fabrics that can be utilized in this capacity. I used the fabric roll extensively when putting in a narrow edging in a garden which displays shrubs.

This fabric is an excellent weed control and I did not have to do any weeding for three seasons. A word of advice here: make sure you have removed all weed seeds from the area before applying the fabric.

Some weeds have a tendency to grow through the fabric. The other thing about fabric is that sometimes the weed seeds attach themselves through the mulch to the fabric so you need to be aware of this happening.

When Do I Apply These Mulches?

The organic mulch should be spread after your soil temperatures had the opportunity to warm up. The application to a cool or cold soil well slow down the warming trend of your garden and impact the growth rate of your plants.

The application of an inorganic mulch will decidedly increase the heat retain in the soil by 6- 8 degrees, which is a vote for applying this type of mulch early in the growing season.

Herbicides another Form of Weed Control

controlling weed infestation with herbicides

Herbicides are another form of weed control applied by many gardeners. It is worth noting that no individual herbicide will complete the job. I always caution the average gardener, when applying these chemicals, to apply the correct amounts of these products to your garden.

A too generous application results in damage to your plants and a less than required amount results in poor weed control. This is why we have Ortho, Scotts that provide these herbicides in small enough quantities so you do not get yourself into trouble.

However you still need to read the labels and read them again. If you do need it for large areas then a visit will have to be paid to the larger farm retail outlets. Most of these places can provide you with sound advice for applying these herbicides to your garden or field.

There is another approach which can be utilized and one in which I am a strong believer. Now do not get me wrong here there are people who claim this product did absolutely nothing for their weed control.

This product is applied in early spring long before the crop emerges. It is Preen/Treflan. This can be had in a liquid form but I prefer the grandular type. This is sprinkled over your garden area and then lightly raked into the soil.

I personally have never had it kill one valuable plant but it WILL NOT KILL ALREADY EMERGED WEEDS. You will have to pull what few there are at the time of season you are planting.

I feel that gardeners have experienced plant burning because they sprinkled some of the granules on to their tender plant leaves by accident. This can cause damage if not removed while you are applying the product.

I have a brick path leading from a flower box to the rear gardens and I sprinkled Preen into this brick path. Not one weed emerged along the entire length that summer! It is like any other product you must read and understand the directions before applying.

It does work and it is not cheap but if you want to keep your weed control to a minimum I would give it a whirl.

What Is Your Experience With Preen/Treflan for Weed Control?

I have discussed my thoughts on the subject above. Now it is your turn as people for some reason feel quite passionate about the use of this product from “IT NEVER WORKS” to I am real pleased with the product. Tell me your experience with the product!