- Many weeds can easily be pulled by hand. Hire neighborhood youngsters to help. Pull perennial weeds within four to six weeks of sprouting before persistent seeds and difficult-to-remove roots form.
- To suppress annual weeds, spread mulch such as wood chips, straw, leaves or bark several inches thick over bare soil. For added suppression, lay cardboard, permeable landscape fabric or several layers of newspaper under the mulch. Avoid impermeable plastic.
- Use dense plantings to shade out most weeds.
- In veggie beds, plant seedlings that are at least several inches tall to give them a head start. Sow in rows to help you distinguish weeds from crops and make hoeing easier.
- Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation, or water by hand to keep water only where it is needed. Where there’s water, weeds are not far behind.
- Hand-pull or hoe unmulched areas. Tap-rooted perennial weeds like dandelions can be pulled with a special weeding tool like a hori-hori or a “grandpa weeder”. For shallow-rooted weeds, use a hoola hoe, scuffle hoe or onion hoe to avoid bringing weed seeds up from deep in the soil.
- Carefully burn plants in pathways and in cracks with a propane torch or boiling water.
- Mow your lawn high (about 3 inches), leave the clippings and overseed each year so your lawn can out-compete weeds.
Tip: Some weeds are edible and delicious in salads – bittercress, chickweed and purple dead nettle to start.