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  • Lanthier Winery’s Master Gardener: Tami Hagemier

10 Easy Tips for Weed Control

As Lanthier Winery's Master Gardener, I get asked many questions. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is: How do I prevent weeds in my garden?

First, let's talk about prevention. One of the things I dislike most is failing to implement processes to keep weeds from sprouting. If our team doesn’t do a good job with landscape fabric, or mulch, in open areas, weeds quickly grow out of control during our warm, wet springs and hot, sunny summers. Weeds reseed quickly, if not removed, so it pays off to prevent rather than pull.

Pre-emergent chemicals like Preen help to keep weeds from sprouting. With larger gardens it becomes too expensive to scatter over large areas. At Lanthier Winery, we use landscape fabric and rubber mulch in areas we know we will never plant. But you can use wood chips and cardboard or thick stacks of newspapers. Both make great weed barriers and compost into the soil adding to next year’s fertility but keeping this year’s weeds at bay

At Lanthier Winery, if we want a “spot of color” we will dig a hole, place the fabric in the hole, and then place a large pot down in the hole and surround with mulch. This is a great idea for tropical or tender perennial that need dug. You simply pull the pot and replace it with an empty one of the same size. Next year, bring your tender plant out and start again.

Weed barriers are by far, the best for season long control. Just remember that water is essential to soil health, and plastic, tarps and trash bags don’t allow water to the soil. If pulling and costly sprays aren't an option, there are some great organic, low cost, DIY ways to kill weeds.

We recommend pulling weeds as soon as the ground thaws. It’s a great way to catch weeds as they are young, with small roots and the cool, damp soil makes it easy to yank out the problems. We also suggest pulling after rains, because more of the root is easily taken. The number one rule for weed control is: DON’T SHAKE THE SOIL OFF THE WEED ROOT. Each time you do this, the soil takes small pieces of roots with it and, the next thing you know, you have more roots in the spot you just weeded.

To learn more about weed control or other gardening ideas join us for Lanthier Winery's annual Spring Celebration Festival the last weekend in April!

Ten Quick and Easy Tips For Weed Control

1. Start pulling early - as soon as the ground thaws.

2. Never toss weeds in compost piles. You will reseed your garden when you spread the compost!

3. Weed after it rains. It makes the process easier and quicker.

4. Spread newspaper or cardboard on the ground and cover with mulch. This acts as a totally organic weed control that lasts an entire season.

5. Consider using landscape fabric, mulch, and buried pots instead of cutting holes in fabric (this allows for weeds to emerge).

6. Select chemicals carefully. Preen is only effective on weed free soil.

7. Plant flowers close together. This helps block weeds and gives big bursts of color!

8. If using chemicals, be sure to use the correct type. Only certain mixes will control weeds for several months – these are extended control and, depending on the chemicals, may last from 3 to 12 months. These methods are great for paths and driveways, but can do great harm to lawns and flower beds.

9. Never spray on a windy day, a day below 65 degrees, or if rain is expected in the next 24 hours. Some mixes are made to be “rain proof” in as little as 30 minutes, but all mixes work best when not diluted by rain.

10. NEVER EVER shake the soil from the weed roots. This creates root cuttings that help the spread of weeds. Instead, carry a bucket and dump your weeds, dirt and all, in a designated area away from your garden and yard.


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