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As the hot weather approaches, garden weeds can spring up seemingly from nowhere. Though many gardeners might think chemical weed killers are the only way to tackle an overgrown garden, this is not the case.
How can you kill weeds without using chemicals?
Dig and clear overgrown weeds
With the right tools and a free afternoon, you can get to work pulling weeds from your garden manually. According to the experts, this is the best way to avoid damaging your wider garden ecosystem.
Smaller weeds can be pulled by hand, but for larger ones, gardeners may need a little bit of help.
Hunker explains: “A garden hoe is an effective tool that helps you dig up weeds while standing. You can also use speciality weeder tools that are designed to dig up the weeds without requiring you to bend down.”
When weeding, it is a good idea to wear long sleeves and trousers to keep irritating weeds away from your skin.
The best time to pull weeds is when the soil is damp as the roots will come up easier.
When pulling by hand, be sure to grasp each plant individually at the base to prevent it from breaking off and ensure you remove the roots.
Once you pull the weeds, remove them from the garden to stop the spread of seeds.
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Cut down tall weeds
For extremely overgrown weeds, you will need to cut them down. This will make it easier to use other treatment methods.
Hunker recommends using a string trimmer or brush mower to cut down tall weeds quickly.
They add: “If you don’t have access to that type of equipment, you can cut down the tall weeds manually with a scythe, moving the blade slowly and carefully until you get the hang of the motion safely.”
Once weeds have been cut, be sure to move them away from your garden to stop the spread of more seeds.
After all of the weeds are cut, you will need to firmly pull each root or smother the remains.
Smother overgrown weeds
Once weeds have been cut down to a more controllable level, you can smother the remaining parts of the plant to kill them completely.
Hunker advises using black landscape fabric, multiple layers of newspaper or cardboard.
Cardboard and paper will break down eventually, but mulch can be added for an extra layer.
The bonus of using mulch is that as it breaks down it adds nutrients to the soil beneath.
Plastic will need to be removed manually once the smothering process has been completed.
The point of smothering is to keep sunlight from reaching the weeds.
However, it can take a full growing season to completely kill off weeds, so this step does take time.