Managing Weeds

Unfortunately, those pernicious invaders we think of as weeds seem to be more tenacious and resilient than our desirable garden plants.  One key to weed management is to avoid bare soil in the garden and landscape. Mulch is a great first line of defense in preventing weed seeds from getting a start. Dense turf is its own best weed deterrent while thin turf areas are prone to ongoing weed problems.

Limited weed problems may be managed the old fashioned way by hand pulling or hoeing. Often the combination of mulch, dense turf or ground cover and some hand removal is enough to maintain acceptable weed control in the landscape and garden without resorting to sprays.

There are a number of herbicide products on the market for managing weeds. However, depending on herbicides to continually rescue weed problems brought on by bad management is ill advised and can have various negative effects on desirable landscape plants and the environment.

Weed control products may be synthetic or natural. Some known as pre-emergence products work to prevent weed seeds from growing. Others, known as post-emergence products, kill weeds after they are already growing. Certain products control grassy weeds, others control broad leaf weeds and still others control both.

Before purchasing or applying weed control products, contact the Extension Office or a nursery professional to discuss the best approach for your particular weed problem. Factors such as weed species, surrounding plant material, temperature and time of year all should be considered before purchasing and applying any product.

The resources in this section are compiled to help you identify and manage your landscape and garden weeds in the safest, most effective and environmentally responsible way possible.