Perennial weeds are tricky garden invaders because they can sprout from seeds, root pieces and stems. Common perennial weeds include tree of heaven, Canada thistle, dock and dandelion.
Easy Solution: Learn to identify weed seedlings. As soon as you spot a perennial weed, get on your hands and knees and dig it out. This broadleaf dock sinks a deep taproot quickly. Getting all of it out of soil is the key to keeping this perennial weed from coming back.
After applying organic mulches, water thoroughly to help the mulch bind together. If possible, time mulching before rain and let nature handle the watering. To help prevent weeds, consider adding a pre-emergent weed preventer like Preen on top of the mulch. This type of weed control prevents weed seeds from germinating.
For a more organic edging, look to stones. Light colored river rock creates a striking edge between lawn and planting beds. When using river rock for edging, you’ll need to monitor for weeds or grass creeping into beds. To reduce weeds or grass, hand pull or spray. Placing weed fabric under stones can help suppress grass, but it may break through eventually.
Straw is a more utilitarian mulch typically used in vegetable gardens or strawberry patches. Straw is simply the stalks of grain plants. Ask your local straw supplier if their product is clean (doesn’t contain grain heads) and weed-free. Prevent weed seed issues by spreading three sheets of damp newspaper under straw. Some gardeners let straw bales sit a few weeks so weed or grain seeds germinate. This leads to moldy straw—plan to wear a dust mask if you have allergies. Expect to get one to two growing seasons out of straw, depending on how thickly you spread it.
Test out your green thumb with these neutral brick container gardens. An alternative to raised garden beds, the containers elevate small garden plots to promote effective drainage and eliminate pesky pests and weeds.
The monarch butterfly is probably one of the more well-known butterflies in America. Black and orange wings give it a distinctive appearance. Here an adult monarch feeds on blooms of butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa.
Mulch is the No. 1 secret to low maintenance gardening. Apply it in a layer 2 to 3 inches thick, and it will help suppress weeds (less weeding for you) and reduce water evaporation from soil (less watering for you). Maintain mulch by applying a fresh layer as needed to maintain that ideal depth. In warm regions, you may need to apply mulch twice a year. In zones with cold winters, an annual mulch should be sufficient.
This outdoor gym at the home of El and Sharon Sanders underwent a makeover that took the weed and spider overrun yard filled with storage and fallen structures into a sleek, sophisticated space where the couple could workout together.
These perennial weeds smell like their namesakes, and there’s no mistaking their presence when you mow over them. Wild onion has flat leaves, while garlic is round. They both grow from bulbs and form clusters similar to chives. To remove them, avoiding hand-pulling. It only serves to separate the main bulb from the tiny bulblets surrounding it, which remain in soil and sprout. To dig wild onion or garlic, excavate about 6 inches deep to get the whole bulb. Otherwise, spray with herbicide. The kind that kills nutsedge works on wild onion and garlic. In late spring, these weeds produce small bulbs atop long stems. Snip these and destroy them. They contain new bulbs—they’re this weed’s way of spreading and covering new ground.
Another option for stones as lawn edging is to use large field stones. With this type of rock, you can source material locally and, depending on where you live, from natural areas. If you’re building a home or excavating a site on your property, save rocks you unearth to use as possible edging. When using rocks as edging, fit stones as closely together as you can to limit weed and grass growth. Use a product like Preen between and behind rocks to help prevent weed seeds from sprouting.
It may seem like a kid's car, but the Step2 Garden Hopper is a wheeled work seat with storage. You can access tools and supplies and sit while trimming and weeding. It comes with a beverage holder, too.
Be sure to read the label of your favorite weed killer. For common chemicals like Round-Up, 50°F is usually the lowest temperature where the product remains effective at killing weeds. Many plants essentially stop growing as soil temperatures fall into the 50-degree range, so at that point spraying is a waste of time and money. The answer is to spray early in the fall season, while plants are actively growing and air temps are still in the ideal 60-degree range.