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Monday, 14 November 2016

Tips for Controlling Weeds and Keeping Your Garden Beautiful

The problem with weeds is that you never know your lawn has them until there's a vigorous overgrowth that threatens your turf and your plants.  Most lawn owners just don’t pay attention to an innocent, scrawny stem with tiny leaves until it turns into a monster.  And when it does, that's often the time when it's next to impossible to get rid of the weed.  If you want to manage and maintain your lawn, learn the effective ways of controlling weeds.

What is a weed?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a weed is a plant that people don't value and has a tendency to overpower other plants, specifically those we consider desirable.  This is a tricky definition, considering that one man's weed is another man's wild flower.  In order to decide whether or not to destroy a certain growth, it's best to ask yourself whether you want that plant in your garden or not.  If the answer is no, then it's time to get rid of it.

Why you should control weeds
Weeds are notorious for being fast growers, able to outgrow other garden plants.  Because they will overpower and probably destroy these plants, we find them annoying, especially since most of them don’t have any apparent use.  Furthermore, most weeds don’t have the aesthetic appeal that other plants have.

Is there any reason why I should not be so harsh on weeds?
Weeds do have their advantage.  They are the favorite residence of many pest and bug-killing insects such as ladybugs and bees.  If you have these insects in your garden, you can even control the incidents of pest infestation in your turf.  However, if pests aren't a problem, you probably have no use for weeds and should control their growth.

Controlling weeds the old way
There are three kinds of weeds – the perennials, biennials and the annuals.  Perennial weeds are the type of weeds that recur over the seasons and often produce seeds every year.  Weeds such as milkweed, dandelions and blackberries are considered perennial weeds.

Biennial weeds are the type that survive for two years.  During the last year, these weeds flower and develop seeds.  Annual weeds, such as thistles, chickweed and crabgrass, maintain a yearly life cycle.  Unlike perennial weeds, they are easier to control.

If you don't want to use chemicals and if the weeds in your lawn are still manageable, try to control their growth by simply uprooting the weeds.  The best way to do this is to cultivate the soil by breaking up the surface.  This aerates the soil and makes it soft, so weeds are easier to pull out.  Do this when the weeds are still young to ensure that no flower or seed is propagated or spread.  Perform this task regularly to make sure that any growth within a season is controlled.

An old garden practice called mulching is also an effective way to keep weeds under control.  This process helps control weeds by using a thick layer of materials such as leaves, bark, grass clippings and other organic matter and spreading the mixture over your lawn.  Not only does this organic material keep your soil rich and healthy, it also prevents sunlight from reaching the seeds of the weeds.  Since they can't grow and establish so the weeds die.

If you use these natural methods of controlling weeds, you will have to be vigilant and patient.  Pulling out leaves and preventing seeds from growing doesn't guarantee they won't sprout again.  However, you can keep controlling them until they are either minimized or eliminated.

Using herbicides
Weeds are tough and flexible.  In fact, there is no all-in-one weed killing product on the market today that is capable of destroying all kinds of weeds.  If you want an effective way of controlling them, first learn how to recognize them.  If you know which weeds are found in your lawn, you'll be able to find the right product to use.

There are two kinds of herbicides – the systemic type and the contact type.  The systemic herbicide is absorbed by the weeds through the leaves and the root system.  These kill the weeds from the inside out.  Contact herbicides, as their name implies, kill from the outside in.  They prevent the weeds from using photosynthesis to survive.

Both these herbicides come as either selective or nonselective varieties.  Selective herbicides are those that are chemically capable of killing only certain weeds without affecting other plants in your lawn.  Nonselectives, however, will kill regardless of what they come in contact with.

The best way to use these chemicals for controlling weeds is to follow the manufacturer's directions.  This is also the safest method, considering that much of the failure (and danger) associated with the use of herbicides is due to inaccurate or incorrect application.  Use during early spring in order to attack weeds when they are at their weakest.

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