Yesterday’s temperature was 50 something degrees. Warm enough for me to go outside and see the first weed colonies trying to propagate every inch not claimed by my favorite perennials. Some gardeners have learned to live with a few weeds, or even eat them. I’m not one of them. However, I don’t suggest to go out to the local garden store and buy a big bottle of Roundup either. Glyphosate resistance has been reported in Austrailia and a handful of states in the US. Here are a few suggestions to tackle those undesirable perennial weeds:
- Hand-picking This is pretty self-explanatory. Many have found this method to be extremely time consuming, not to mention back-breaking, if you wait until summer. Commit this to memory, “give a weed an inch and it will take a yard!”
- Tools People have their favorites. Golden Rule: if a tool makes your job harder, then give it to your neighbor. Click here for 5 must-have tools, and pictures of how to use them, in an article from Fine Gardening Magazine.
- Pre-emergents For larger areas, a great organic alternative to chemicals is corn gluten. This is used to prevent new weed seedlings from growing but does not work on existing weeds. Be aware that corn gluten also works on grass seeds so don’t apply in combination when trying to patch bare spots in your lawn. Apply in spring or fall.
- Solarize This is a great way to let nature do the job for you. Stake down clear plastic over the area you wish to eradicate. Allow the sun to bake the weeds into oblivion for 4-6 weeks during the hottest part of the year. I used this option as a last resort one year in my 4 by 20 foot parking strip. The downside to this method is that many of the beneficial microorganisms that live in the soil can be killed in the process.