How to kill weeds  naturally and without chemicals?

How to kill weeds naturally and without chemicals?

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

33 guides

Pulling out weeds by hand and preventative mulching are two good reflexes to have. Nettle manure is an efficient resource, as is also the garden hoe, shear or flame weeder. Boiling water and coarse salt can also get the job done without restorting to chemical herbicides such as glyphosate.

Important features

  • Manual weeding
  • Selective weeding
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Limiting the appearance of weeds
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Weeds: not so bad after all


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Be it in the garden, on the lawn or the driveway, weeds will eventually pop up in random undesirable places, without waiting to be invited. The most radical solution to this problem are chemical weed killers. It is coincidentally also the most expensive and least ecological solution. 


The negativeimpact of flame weeders on the environment and personal health has been widely demonstrated. It is therefore time to adopt a more environmentally friendly and economical alternative. In this article, we highlight some totally natural solutions adapted to each situation to get rid of invasive weeds, garden and vegetable garden, in respect of nature.

These herbacious species, more commonly referred to as weeds, are defined as plants that grow naturally in the vegetable plot or lawn, without its appearance being voluntary by the gardener.

Disadvantages

In the vegetable garden, weeds have three major drawbacks:

  • Depending on their size, weeds can deprive other plants of much-needed light;
  • They take nutrients from the soil that should have been destined for other crops;
  • They represent natural competition with your other, cultivated plants.

Advantages

Weeds also have three main advantages:

  • They aerate the soil with their roots;
  • They will eventually decompose and become a source of nutrients for other plants. They can even be added to your  compost;
  • They are a valuable indicator of the soil's health (over-fed, missing nutrients, any imbalances, etc.).

Weeds are therefore not as bad as their reputation may imply. They have just as many advantages as they do disadvantages, and some weeds are even edible! For example, purslane can quite commonly  be found decorating your salad.

Natural weeding in the kitchen garden

4 ways to limit the appearance of weeds in the kitchen garden

1. Mulching

The use of mulching, also commonly referred to as as bedding, consists of covering the soil around crops with straw or any other material that is neither completely permeable or impermeable. The goal of this operation is to prevent the weed seedlings from taking advantage of light and start to develop, yet water must still be able to infiltrate the soil in order to reach the desired plants.


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2. Hoeing or weeding 

This technique is accomplished with a hoe or hand weeder. The goal is to manually remove weeds and breach the soil's crust to aerate it.

3. Plant closer together 


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By bringing the plants closer, the space available for the development of weeds becomes less important.  You should however still be careful to respect the specific plant's needs.

4. Use of black plastic 

Using ground cover is a different approach to mulching, but is based on the same idea. Less ecological than mulching, it is also more expensive and particularly unsightly. It is normally reserved as a last resort.

2 tips for limit the appearance of weeds in the kitchen garden 

1. Remove the weeds before they germinate in late winter or early spring.

2. Use weed-free potting soil and quality seedlings.

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Ground cover

Natural weeding of lawns, courtyards and driveways

Getting rid of weeds in lawns more complicated because the fiolage is very dense and the slightest mis-step can leave an unsightly hole. It is therefore crucial to use a properly adapted approach.

There are two primary ecological techniques for removing weeds from lawns.


Manual weeding 

This involves removing unwanted weeds and their roots by hand or using a weeder. The operation is quite laborious but it is impossible to find a more environmentally friendly solution.

Selective weeding  

As its name suggests, this technique focuses its effects only on specifically targeted weeds, without damaging the surrounding plants. It can be carried out using chemicals or natural products such as manure (nettle, angelica, etc.). Flame weeding is also a valid alternative for selective weeding. It is operated by a long propane-fueled gun. The idea behind this tool is to produce a flame that is directly applied to the surface of the weeds. The heat shock will literally kill the plant's cells, which then decays quickly. Flame weeding is also a sustainable solution, with long-lasting effects.

Manual and selective weeding is also suitable for weeding courtyards, driveways and vegetable gardens.

2 tips for limiting the appearance of weeds in your lawn

Invest in a quality lawn. The type and quality of the selected lawn will be a decisive factor. It is best to select one that is strong, yet easy to care for. Weeding regularly is a good habit to adopt, as weeds will consistently, but gradually emerge. By taking the time to regularly inspect your lawn, you can determine when the time is ripe for regular weeding, this will avoid a build-up of weeds, and the hours of work it comes with!

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Lawn

More Information


Still need more information on creating the perfect outdoor space and maintaining it? Follow our editors' advice and check out their other guides: 


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Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 33 guides

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford.   After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life.   From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.

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