The thought of trying to keep your lawn and garden free from invasions of weeds without blasting them with noxious chemicals might be a lofty ideal, but probably conjures up visions of sore backs and aching knees. However, kneeling in the garden and snatching weeds by hand is not the only way to avoid using chemicals to kill the unwanted plants. In fact, there are some great ways to accomplish this end by working smarter, not harder.
The first big change needed to begin controlling the weeds in your lawns and gardens without chemicals is to properly prepare the soil for the areas in question. This would be considered laying the proper foundation where you will be growing your plants. It is best to implement the following ideas before doing your plantations so that you get your chemical-free weed control project off to a great start.
One of the best ways to avoid having weeds sprout up in your gardens or patio lawn is to kill the weeds though a process called soil solarization. This is a preventive approach and a completely organic way of eliminating weeds before they even have a chance to sprout. However, soil solarization does require a good bit of work, and is only effective if you can start planting the area with a clean slate.
Installing landscape fabrics is another terrific way that you can significantly reduce the occurrence of weeds in your lawn and garden. Using them also eliminates the need for toxic weed-killing chemicals. These fabrics made for use in landscaping are for this purpose and can even be considered a hi-tech way to battle weeds without introducing chemicals.
Utilizing garden mulch is another very beneficial approach to protecting your lawns and gardens from an invasion of weeds. While landscape fabrics work from below the prepared planting area, mulch is applied to the top of the soil, around your plants and can effectively smother a weed trying to break through to the surface. Mulch can also be used in conjunction with the anti-weed landscape fabrics for a one-two punch strategy of organic weed control.
Another added benefit of using mulch is that it also has the ability to provide insulation to your plantings. This insulation value is particularly helpful in the summertime and can help to keep the underlying soil both cool and moist. This will reduce the watering requirements and will also protect the root systems from damage caused by sever heat.
While some people have chalked it up to an old wives tale, vinegar can also help you control weeds without chemicals. It is the acetic acid in the vinegar that delivers an herbicidal dose to weeds. But, you will need a stronger variety than what you probably have in the cupboard and you can look for super-strength vinegar in weed and feed stores.
However, if you want to use vinegar to organically kill the weeds in your lawn and garden, then you must apply it carefully and only to the weeds. Vinegar is a "non-selective" herbicide and can harm any plants that are exposed to it, so it is not recommended for lawns. But, vinegar can be a terrific way to control weeds organically in your planting beds if you are careful about spraying it only on the unwanted plants.