When weeds grow to mammoth proportions in your garden, they steal valuable nutrients and water from the soil. Removing them becomes necessary if they threaten to overgrow desirable crops, restrict movement through your farm, occupy the spot where you want to plant vegetables, and harbor insects.
But weeding is one of the most unfavorable tasks among gardeners. Getting rid of them requires careful thought. That is because many methods are available for killing weeds. Furthermore, different plants respond differently to specific techniques.
Generally, you can get rid of weeds from a large area by applying chemicals or herbicides. You can also clear a garden full of weeds by pulling the plants, cutting using a gardening hoe, burning, suppressing them, and even applying household products like vinegar or rock salt.
The method you use will depend on the type of result you want. For example, if you prefer to use herbicides, you will have to determine whether you need post-emergent or pre-emergent herbicides. Here are some of the best ways of removing weeds from a large area.
How to remove weeds through soil solarization
Weeds are plants and so they need the proper conditions to thrive. They need nutrients, light, and water to grow. You can suppress weeds and deny them access to sunlight by covering them with a black, light-proof tarp, fabric, or cardboard. The process is called soil solarisation.
You will need:
- Weed suppressant fabric or cardboard, or black, light-proof tarp.
- Lay the suppressant fabric or cardboard, or black, light-proof tarp on the soil.
- Cover it with at least four inches of compost to prevent it from blowing away. Alternatively, cover the edges of the tarp or fabric with stones.
- Leave the fabric or cardboard in place for at least a month.
One disadvantage of this method is that it will take quite some time to clear a yard full of weeds. If you want the best results, work on the area during the winter and remove the fabric in the spring. The method works because the cover will prevent light from reaching the weed roots, thus inhibiting its growth.
How to remove weeds using a sod cutter
A sod cutter uses blades that slide under the weeds to cut them from the roots. That will make it easy for you to remove the entire sections of sod and expose the ground beneath. The tools are the best for people who want to pull weeds fast from a garden or lawn.
But sod cutters come in different types. The type of tool to choose will depend on the area or the job you want to accomplish. Ideally, you can use a:
- Square edge sod cutter: useful for removing small sections of sod around the lawn.
- Kick sod cutter: it can remove long, narrow strips of sod.
- Motorized sod cutter: it is the best for removing weeds in a large area.
The directions for use will depend on the tool you choose. If you are using a square edge sod cutter, you will have to use your boots to wedge the cutter into the sod at an angle.
A kick sod cutter requires you to kick the crossbar to move it along the sod while you cut. With a motorized sod cutter, you will have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using the machine.
How to pull weeds by hand
Hand-pulling offers a practical and natural way of getting rid of weeds from your garden permanently. It allows you to remove the plant by the root. Although the process is time and labor-intensive, it will prevent the weeds from growing for a long time.
If you are looking for the best way to pull a lot of weeds at the same time, here is what to do:
- Find the base of the weed.
- Loosen the soil around it. You can use a gardening trowel for this step.
- Try to pull the plant slowly but assuredly. Ensure to grab as much of the base as possible.
- For best results, make sure you remove the entire roots.
When pulling the weed, do not tug fast. Ripping it out quickly will cause some of the plants to rip right off the root. That will make it impossible for you to remove the rest of it unless you use a gardening hoe.
Note that the best time for this exercise is after the rains because the soil is looser. If there are no rains, you can water the ground first before pulling weeds.
How to remove weeds through burning
Burning offers a safe and time-effective method of killing weeds in a large area. The flame produces heat that eliminates unwanted plants by the roots. You can use a portable gas torch or subject the whole field to a fire.
Here is how to use a portable gas torch to burn weeds:
- Obtain a burn permit, if needed in your area.
- Water the soil around the weeds. The wetness will help with heat conduction.
- Open the flame knob as directed by the manufacturer.
- Ignite the flamer using a flint lighter or as directed by the manufacturer.
- Adjust the size of the flame to a low pilot flame.
- Start torching the weeds by holding the flamer over the weeds and walk at a slow pace.
The best time to burn weeds is in the spring or early summer. If you want the best results, torch the plants when they start emerging. Ensure to touch the weeds with the flame for at least two seconds.
How to use corn gluten meal to kill weeds
You can kill weeds naturally from a large area by using corn gluten meal. The benefit of cornmeal is it does not eliminate existing plants. It also has protein and nitrogen that can act as a fertilizer. Cornmeal works because it has an oily coating that does not allow plant roots to form.
Here is how to apply it:
- Buy corn gluten meal in the form of pellets or powder.
- Use a seed spreader to spread it over the garden or lawn.
- You can ensure an even application by using 40 pounds of cornmeal per 2,000 square feet.
The best time to apply corn gluten meal is on newly germinated seedlings. Cornmeal works as a pre-emergent herbicide. It is useful against weed seeds but not established plants.
If you are thinking about weeding large areas, you can use different methods to achieve your desired results. Some options to consider include soil solarisation, sod cutting, hand pulling, or burning. Another natural option of eliminating unwanted plants from your garden is by using a corn gluten meal.
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IW’s Chief Editor and a lover of green spaces.