What’s the best way to stop a gardener’s worst enemy?



It’s the same battle every spring: You take care to plant your daffodils, daisies, purple coneflowers and lilies. But instead of these colorful flowers, weeds have taken hold of your garden. You need to get rid of these green pests. But what is the best way to do it?

What’s the best way to stop a gardener’s worst enemy?

It’s the same battle every spring: You take care to plant your daffodils, daisies, purple coneflowers and lilies. But instead of these colorful flowers, weeds have taken hold of your garden. You need to get rid of these green pests. But what is the best way to do it? From harsh chemicals to organic products to your own hard work, there are plenty of ways to wage war with weeds. Here are some of the most common, complete with the pros and cons of each.

 

1. Sweat equity

It’s the oldest form of weed removal: You get on your knees, dig in the dirt and yank those weeds out, being careful to pull from the roots.

Pros: It’s free, it’s effective, it’s exercise and it gives you a chance to spend some time in the great outdoors.

Cons: It’s messy and you might have a sore back in the morning. If you’re not careful, you’ll simply snap off the heads of your weeds, and they’ll be back within the week.

 

2. Bring in the pros

There are plenty of professional landscape companies and lawn-care firms that would love to take a crack at your weeds — for a price, of course.

Pros: They’ll get rid of weeds in a single visit. Hiring someone means you don’t have to get dirty or deal with harsh chemicals.

Cons: They’re professionals, and they charge like it. Once you hire a pro, you might be hooked, meaning you’ll pay every year to have your weeds professionally eliminated.

 

3. Mulch it

You can slow the growth of weeds by covering your garden with mulch. This cuts off the weeds’ light source, according to writer Genevieve Schmidt at Northern California’s North Coast Gardening.

Pros: It’s easy; just spread some mulch and you’re done. It’s also organic, with no harsh chemicals involved, and looks nice.

Cons: This method slows the growth of weeds but doesn’t prevent them. Those weeds will eventually poke through.

 

4. Vinegar bath

Vinegar has enough acid to kill baby weeds, according to Web site Stretcher.com. Simply use fill a bottle with vinegar and douse the weeds as they’re coming through.

Pros: This is an organic solution, one that doesn’t rely on harsh chemicals.

Cons: This only works on young weeds. Vinegar doesn’t posses enough acid to kill off more mature invaders, according to the University of Minnesota Extension Office.

 

5. The chemical route

If you don’t mind working with sometimes-harsh chemicals, there are plenty of weed-control sprays on the market.

Pros: Most chemical sprays are relatively inexpensive. These sprays are effective, often killing weeds on contract.

Cons: Chemical sprays can be harsh and are far from an organic alternative. And they leave behind the shriveled brown remains of your weeds, which you’ll have to remove.