How to get rid of weeds without nasty chemicals

Weeds are annoying and unwelcome visitors - and they are programmed to adapt to poor soils and fill any empty spaces they can find, sucking the nutrition from the plants you do want in your garden.

January 4, 2024

The easiest way to control weeds is to be vigilant. When you spot a weed peeking out of the soil, just pull it out straight away. If the soil is damp, the roots should come out easily, if not, use a trowel or something similar and make sure you get as many of the roots as possible. If you keep an eye out every day, and spend a few minutes weed pulling, you should be able to keep them under control.

If it's too late and the weeds have already taken hold, here are some natural ways to get rid of them.

Paving weeds

  • Boiling water is great for young weeds popping up between pavers. It isn't ideal for garden beds, as you could also damage plants that you want to grow.    
  • You can also sprinkle sodium bicarb/baking soda on weeds growing in on paths and patios (it will also kill healthy grass, flowers, and other vegetation in your garden beds). The difference between baking soda, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Spray vinegar onto any weeds that pop up in your paving or paths- you may have to repeat a few times, but it works very well when you can't pull them out.
  • Avoid hazards on your outdoor paving.

Garden bed weeds

  • Mulch! A garden's best friend! Organic mulchesare natural materials such as wood chips, bark mulch and straw. Inorganic mulch is composed of stones, pebbles etc. Mulch can also include compost crops to suppress weeds. You can also put weed mat underneath the mulch for a two-pronged attack.
  • Plant some groundcovers in your garden beds to fill in any empty spaces. Weeds can only invade if you give them room.
  • Another way to crowd out the weeds is by closer planting. This can reduce weed growth by creating shade, limiting the seed germination of weeds, and crowding out the things you don't want to thrive.
  • If you have obstinate weeds that you can't pull out by the roots, keep chopping off their heads!This will prevent them from seeding and spreading and will eventually die.

To reduce the risk of weeds coming back:

  • Be careful about using composts, mulches, and/or manure, which can be sources of weeds. Enquire about how products were produced and stored to minimise weed contamination.
  • Avoid putting weeds with seed heads into home composting systems.
  • Remove weeds from purchased or shared plants before planting.

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