How to Grow: Control Weeds Organically

Learn about controlling weeds organically and caring for your vegetable and flower garden. This podcast and video includes information on organic sprays, tools, and the best weeding techniques. For more garden videos, check out the National Gardening Association


Hi I’m Charlie Nardozzi of the National Gardening Association. Today I’d like to talk to you about how to control weeds organically in your lawn, garden, and yard. Weds are just plants growing in the wrong place. Some of them, such as dandelions and lambs quarters, are actually edible and they’re good for you, too. But if you find you have some of these misplaced plants growing in your lawn, garden, and yard here are some safe ways to control them.

Lawn weeds are best controlled by having a thick, lush healthy lawn. Aerating, dethatching it, fertilizing and mowing it high every year will keep your lawn healthy so the weeds won’t invade. But that being said, sometimes they get in there. There’s a few tips for you. If you have tough, perennial, hard to kill weeds like dandelions, and plantain, dig them out. I like to use a dandelion digger. It’s a simple stick your poke in the ground next to the weed and yank it out, weed, root and all. After you’re done, spread some grass seed in there so the dandelions don’t reinvade. For crabgrass, try corn gluten herbicide. This natural product contains corn that kills crab grass seed before it germinates. Simply sprinkle it around in the spring and by summer your crab grass is gone.

If you have weeds in your patio, deck or driveway a nice way to control them is with acetic acid. It’s a concentrated vinegar solution. Spray the acetic acid on a sunny day on the annual weeds and it’ll kill them. If you have perennial weeds, you’ll have to reapply a number of times. While some of the weeds in your lawn and yard, such as dandelions, will show up in an annual garden, vegetable gardens have their own set of weeds to deal with.

Many of these weeds are annuals. It start from seed in the spring. A good way to prevent them is to know their  source. Hay and grass clippings that have gone to seed and fresh compose manure are all good sources of weed seed. You should try to minimize the use of those in your vegetable garden. Also, when you till you bring weed seeds up from below the soil surface to germinate. So once your gardens is established, don’t till as much or turn the soil deeply. That’ll prevent weeds from growing. But ultimately you’re going to have to do some hoeing and hand weeding to control these weeds.

To control weeds, it’s best to get at them early and often. Hoe or cultivate the garden when the weeds are small scalping them off just below the soil line. I like to use a scuffle hole to do that job. They’re unlikely to regrow. For deep-rooted weeds try hand pulling them after a rain when the soil is moist. They’re more likely to come out that way. If weeds get out of control in your garden, mow them down before they go to seed. That way, at least, you won’t have as many weeds to deal with next year. So take control weeds in your garden before they take control of you.

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