This dandelion was scuffed just prior to spraying a weedkiller. It died quickly and completely, never to return. The best time to spray dandelions is in the fall, because this is when plants are naturally shifting materials from leaves to roots for winter storage. Weedkiller applied in fall moves directly to roots, which helps get rid of dandelions permanently. Avoid using lawn weed and feed products in fall to kill dandelions, though, because if your lawn goes dormant for winter, it won't absorb the fertilizer. Instead, any weeds present take up the fertilizer and grow stronger.
Annual weeds like crabgrass, pigweed, lambsquarters and wild mustard sprout from seed as soon as soil warms in spring. Perennial weeds like dandelion, sorrel and thistle can also sprout from seeds.
Easy Solution: Short circuit weed seed germination by spreading a pre-emergent herbicide. Corn gluten is an effective, natural control that prevents weed seeds from growing successfully.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.