As any green thumb will likely tell you, weed removal is key for healthy blooms. When left to run amok, weeds can cause a lot of damage to your flower beds by eating up their nutrients and stunting their growth. And while many things can cause weeds to spring up, it's ultimately the quality of the soil you want to pay attention to for a long-lasting buds. "Weeds are often an indicator of what is lacking in the soil. To alleviate weeds, keep your soil healthy," says Lively Root's resident horticultural expert, Debbie Neese.
But even if you've got high-quality soil, weeds can still crop up (womp womp). And if you find yourself with an uncontrollable patch of weeds invading your garden unexpectedly, there are ways to mitigate the damage and remove them. To help keep your garden weed-free, we asked a few plant experts to break down some of the basic necessities for tending to their flower beds and keeping weed growth at bay. Take a look below at some of the must-have tools and items gardening experts love to keep weeds from eating up your garden.
The best products to remove and manage weeds
One of the best weed removal tools to have is a fishtail knife. It’s the perfect small device for digging into the soil and pushing up weeds at the root. “It’s designed to extract weeds together with their root ball and is great for working between row crops,” says resident botany expert for the NatureID app, Nastya Vasylchyshyna. This one features a comfortable handle grip and a coated steel blade that prevents rust and other kinds of wear and tear with time.
Unlike a regular gardening hoe, this one has a bit more flexibility in its design to help cut through much larger weeds. The key is the pivoting blade, which cuts on both the pull and push strokes. This two-way design allows you to move the blade deeper into the soil, so you can reach the stem of the weeds. It’s also great for preventing their seed from spreading. Just keep in mind: It’s only ideal for removing the upper parts of the weeds.
In order to efficiently remove weeds from your garden without destroying other plants or kicking up too much dirt, a garden fork is a handy tool to have. It helps to cleanly break up the soil around the roots, so you can lift up the weeds. “Its strong short tines grab and remove weeds with large, branched roots; the tines make it easier to dig it into the ground compared to a shovel,” says Vasylchyshyna.
The beauty about this tool is that it has an ergonomic-shaped handle that covers a larger surface area. It allows you to dig deeper and better reach and uproot the weeds below the surface, according to Vasylchyshyna.
“Garden gloves are a must-have when handling weeds,” says Bloomscape’s gardening expert, Lindsay Pangborn. “It’s important to make sure they’re durable, lightweight, and form fitting so they can protect your hands and allow you to work efficiently. Some weeds you encounter may have sharp spines (like thistles) or irritate your skin (like poison ivy).” Which is where these gloves come in handy, as they’re a perfect match for anyone looking to take on serious some yard work (and tackle some serious weeds). They’re made with thorn-proof leather and come in four sizes to accommodate everyone.
Mulch is very important in keeping your perennials and other blooms happy. It’s a type of material that you lay onto of the surface of your garden that helps to keep the soil moist and reduce your weed population. In fact, if your garden beds are sprouting a lot of weeds, a lack of mulch may be to blame, according to Neese.
“Barren ground erodes each time it rains, and the weed seeds get light and germinate. If the soil is covered with at least two to three inches of mulch, then there is less likely going to be weeds.” FYI, mulch can be made from both inorganic materials like rubber, or organic materials like wood chips and pine bark nuggets.
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