Picture this: it's a gorgeous spring morning and the sun is shining over the dew of a new day.
You shuffle over to the window with a cup of coffee to take a look at the landscape of your backyard...
...only to see that it's covered in tufts of unsightly weeds!
If this scenario sounds familiar (or like it could very well happen to you in the near future), read on. We've got expert tips and tricks on how best to remove weeds from your yard so that they don't return.
First, Look For The Roots & Pull!
If you see a well-formed, sprawling weed system sprouting from your soil, it's best to manually pull it from the ground by hand.
However, you can't just yank it out of the ground! This will cause the weed to grow right back—possibly larger and stronger than before. Keep reading the sections below for details on how to master the art of extracting these nuisances from the soil.
Locate the Source
Though the weed may look large, pinpoint its leaves to the single stalk that juts out of the soil. This will lead you to the beginning of the root system.
Once you've found the central stalk, dig around it with your hands. The goal is to unearth as many small, thin roots as possible while keeping the main, central root intact.
After you have dug about five of six inches into the dirt around the weed plant, take the central root into your hand and begin to twist. You'll be able to determine that this is the main root because it will be thicker and tougher than the others.
The goal now is to separate the main root from the root system and disengage the weed plant from the ground. Keep twisting until the plant comes loose, then throw it away.
The severed roots will more than likely be too damaged to host a new weed system, which means that a new weed probably won't grow back in its place.
For a full demonstration of how this process is done, take a few minutes to watch the information in the video below.
Vinegar Spray To Help With Weed Removal
What if you've got hundreds of small weeds to take out, and not enough time or energy to manually twist each one out by hand? Better yet, what if your weeds are growing through the cracks in a stone-paved walkway?
Don't fret—there's another solution which is just as simple and doesn't involve the use of chemicals.
Using vinegar as a weed killer is recommended in a few different formulations online, ranging from those who endorse straight vinegar to combinations of vinegar, dish soap, salt, and water.
Vinegar in a spray bottle will work to kill your weeds, and adding extra elements will speed the process. However, adding salt is tricky because it will hinder growth of ANY plant in that particular soil ever again.
Also, if you decide to use vinegar as a do-it-yourself weed killing spray, be careful. The USDA's Agricultural Research Division conducted a study which found that while household vinegar is effective as a weed killer, its concentration needed to be increased a few times over to compete with the results of herbicides. Because of these findings, we recommend that anyone who takes this route protect themselves with the right personal protective clothing and gear.
The Black Bag Trick To Help With Weed Removal
This is a creative trick, but it works! You'll need a black garbage bag, four ground stakes, and a lot of patience.
This method of weed removal is recommended mainly for those who have a lot of weeds in a certain area. If you're giving your yard a long overdue makeover or preparing a new spot for a flower bed, this is the removal method for you.
Here's how it works: place the black bag over the area which is infested with weeds. Pin the bag in place with the stakes, and let it sit for a few weeks. Over time, the weeds will be deprived of sunlight, and won't be able to properly photosynthesize. In turn, they will die under the black garbage bag.
After a few weeks, remove the bag and sweep away the dead weeds, which should be easy to remove from the ground.
Make Sure Start Pulling Weeds Early
Even if you think it may be too early in the season to pull weeds in your garden, experts recommend that you should get a jump-start on weeding.
This is the only way to truly prevent getting over your head in having too many weeds spring up around your garden or backyard: to pull weeds early and often. In addition, professionals recommend to stay the course. Just because the garden is free of weeds at one moment doesn't mean it will stay that way for long. Remaining vigilant against new weed formations is key in preventing an overrun garden.
Take a look at what horticulturist Dave Epstein has to say about getting these weeds out as soon as the weather allows.
Final Thoughts On Manual Weed Removal
Weeds are most definitely unsightly, but they don't have to rule your garden.
By utilizing some of the tips in our guide, you can enjoy your backyard, terrace, or patio for many seasons to come—and kick the weeds to the curb.
Other Weed Guides
Curious about other weed articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.