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News / Life / Clark County Life

Gardening with Allen: Keep weeds at bay with right tools

By Allen Wilson
Published: May 25, 2024, 6:06am

I don’t have everything planted yet and I have weeds coming up everywhere. How do you cope with weeds?

My attitude toward weeding is this: focus on what things look like after weeding. There is satisfaction when the weeds are gone. However, there are a number of ways I make weeding easier, faster and more efficient.

My favorite weeding tool is the hula hoe. It has a circular blade that’s flexible and sharp on both edges. It cuts both ways. I use it a lot in the spring when the weeds are small. It cuts weeds off just below the surface. I usually rake the weeds up afterwards with a leaf rake. It is much easier and more efficient to remove weeds when they are small.

I try to keep on top of weeding by doing a little bit regularly. I get up 15 minutes earlier this time of year and spend that time weeding and just enjoying the early morning outdoors when the birds are chirping. Weeding when it is cool is always easier. If I need to weed later in the day, I work on the west side in the morning and east side in the afternoon, so I am working in the shade. Almost every time I come home, I end up with a handful of weeds by the time I reach the front door.

Since I mulch a lot with compost and bark, I have a lot fewer weeds. I use a lot of fresh grass clippings as mulch around vegetables. The rest go into the compost pile along with small weeds and vegetable waste from the kitchen. I buy bark in bulk and keep a pile in the corner of the back yard. The old compost goes on first and then bark goes on top for a uniform appearance.

I have made beds around all my trees and shrubs. I use weed barrier fabric covered with bark wherever I am not going to plant flowers. After a year or two, a few weed seeds blow into the bark and sprout. However, they are very shallow rooted and easily removed.

Lawns have very few weeds if you raise the mowing height to 2 inches or higher. I seldom use lawn weed killer any more. Instead, I use Grandpa’s standup weeder to take weeds out of the lawn and individual weeds in other places that I have missed.