Weed control in a garden is a major challenge. Although chemical industries provide arsenal of powerful herbicides to exterminate weeds. And, their effectiveness is beyond question, they are toxic substances which require special care in handling and to apply; leaving residues that may be harmful to animals and can contaminate ground water and streams.
<h2> Weed Control: Chemical Herbicides</h2>
Keeping in mind that chemical herbicides are mostly to cover commercial agriculture, but some people also implement them in home gardens. Mainly because weeds are not welcome; but they tend to appear spontaneously and compete with garden plants for water, light and soil nutrients.
<h2> Weeds Natural Habitat</h2>
Weeds are native or exotic wild plants, which most of them are; but they may also be formerly cultivated plants gone wild (feral) which have become weeds. A number of grass species fit this latter example. Both non-woody and woody plants can be weeds. In nature, weeds perform important ecological functions in providing food for wildlife and insects, as well as building soil in barren sites. Nonetheless, weeds tend to be very hardy invasive plants which are among the first plant types to occupy open wild areas resulting from natural disasters or deforestation.
<h2> Weed Control: Natural Methods</h2>
Gardeners who wish to avoid using harsh chemical herbicides have several options for weed control. One approach, is to accept weeds as a part of nature. A “natural” lawn where weeds can grow, if kept regularly trimmed, looks almost as good as one that is regularly treated with chemicals. In fact, a natural lawn is more hardy that one with chemicals.
The oldest practice for weed control is physical; that is, by pulling the weeds by hand or digging them out with a hoe. In a small garden, this is a feasible option and also provides a good form of exercise without going to the gym.
Mulching is another benign means to control weeds in flower beds and around shrubs and trees. Weeds can be cut off at ground level before a few inches of mulch is spread to cover the surface; some gardeners chose to lay down a black plastic sheet beneath the mulch to more effectively kill the weed roots. Another method, for killing weeds is by using a flame-weeder or boiling water. Although, these practices may not kill the plant roots and have to be repetitive.
<h2> Organic Herbicides</h2>
Another method or methods for weed control is the application of several different natural organic herbicides. Among these are corn gluten meal, which inhibits weed seed germination; common vinegar, 5-20% acetic acid, acting as a desiccant killing to the plant by drying it out; and vegetable oils can suffocate weeds. Canola or sunflower oils, as well as citrus oil extract, neem oil and pine oil are all potent weed killers. Pouring salt or salt water on the roots of weeds is also effective. These organic substances break down in a short time and do not contaminate the soil or water in which they come in contact.
Controlling garden weeds organically may be more work; but has the advantage of managing a lawn and garden that is safe for children, pets and friendly to the environment.
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