The problem with weed-free gardening is that weeds are always free. In fact, they are too free, spreading all over. Putting them in their proper place, outside of the garden, is a major occupation for gardeners and lawn lovers alike.
The simplest method of weed control is to grasp the offending plant, pull it up, root and all, and dispose of it so that the seeds will not come back to your garden. However, when the gardener is faced with a lawn or garden bed full of weeds, more efficient methods such as chemicals are needed.
Chemical weed control products are divided into two categories — selective and nonselective.
Selective herbicides are choosy about the plants they will take out. For example, Bayer Season Long eliminates 200 types of broadleaf weeds, including the cursed dandelions, without harming the turf grasses you want in your lawn.
A single application of Bayer Season Long will kill current lawn weeds and prevent new ones for up to six months. Bayer Season Long can be applied from spring through fall and is rainproof within one hour of application.
Nonselective herbicide is exactly that – whatever plant material it touches will be damaged or doomed. It’s the weed control of choice when you need to clear a large area.
There are two types of nonselective herbicides, contact and systemic.
Contact nonselective herbicides affect the plant tissues they land on, and are most effective against annual and biennial weeds.
Systemic nonselective herbicides are taken into the plant’s circulatory system and will kill the plant down to the root.
More tips for Controlling weeds
When using weed killers, be sure to choose a day without a lot of wind, and keep pets and children away from the area once sprayed. Protect yourself by wearing work gloves, safety glasses, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and covered shoes.
Landscape fabrics are further insurance against pesky weeds. Spread the material on a prepared area and layer with soil before planting; the fabric will prevent weeds and encourage root growth by keeping soil moist and cool.
Look for landscape fabrics that allow the free flow of air, water and nutrients to the soil while blocking sunlight and weeds.
For more information about using landscape fabric in your garden, check out this video:
Have additional questions about purchasing weed killers? Learn more in this in-depth Home Depot Buying Guide on weed control.