Keep Your Garden Weed Free Naturally

Edited by Rebecca M., Robbi, Lynn, Nerissa Avisado and 3 others

Keeping your garden free of weeds is a chore that no one likes. Keeping the weeds at bay without using chemical herbicides makes the task even more difficult. No one wants to spend hours in the hot sun plucking weeds from around their plants, only to have them return within a few days. Fortunately there are many ways to keep the weeds at a minimum without spraying potentially harmful chemicals in the areas where children and pets often play.


Every problem starts out small, like that pesky weeds in your backyard. Soon, however, you realize that pest control is a global problem and more complex than a lot of people actually think. You may just have trouble keeping your garden weed free naturally, and it's just a small patch of land. How about those who have thousands of acres destroyed because of these destructive weeds, costing farmers, growers and property owners, thousands, even millions of dollars in losses?

Eager to put to test some methods to keep your garden weed-free naturally? Read on and find out how you can do that.

How to Keep Your Garden Weed Free Naturally

  1. 1
    Learn about Landscape Fabric
    1. One of the easiest ways to control weeds in your garden is through the use of landscape fabric.This is a thin layer of fabric that allows water to get through to your plants, but doesn't allow sufficient light for weeds to grow.
    2. Simply lay the landscape fabric over the area where you want to plant your vegetable or flower garden.
    3. Cut a small hole where your plant will go and dig a hole. Place the root of your plant through the hole and it can grow, but the weeds cannot.
    4. When planting seeds, make an incision in the fabric where your row of seeds will be and plant them. The seedlings will poke through the fabric easily enough and you only need to pull weeds until the plants are large enough to fend for themselves.
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  2. 2
    Garden Mulch
    Garden mulch is another great way to keep weeds from invading your gardening spaces. It not only keeps weeds from sprouting, but it also gives your garden a neat, tidy look. Garden mulch has the added benefit of holding moisture. That means less watering during those dry spells.
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  3. 3
    Corn Gluten
    Corn gluten meal is a waste product in the production of corn starch and corn syrup, and is technically a "weed inhibitor" rather than an actual weed killer.  
    1. It prevents the weeds from germinating correctly and has no effect on growing plants. While it can be quite expensive, so are chemical weed killers and corn gluten meal isn't toxic.
    2. It also acts as a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. You can find corn gluten meal in pellets or powder at many farm stores.
    3. For the best results, corn gluten meal should be applied to dry soil and then watered thoroughly.
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  4. 4
    Biological Control
    This involves the use of living organisms like nematodes, insects, fungi, or bacteria, in the reduction of weed populations. In nature for example, the plants are biologically controlled by organisms that are naturally occurring. When plants become pests they become known as "weeds", and become destructive when they become too rampant or their natural enemies either become nonexistent or ineffective. A natural cycle such as this is usually interrupted when plants are introduced into their new environment or people disrupt nature's ecological system. Introducing biological control agents is one way to enhance and restore this system. How does biological control works?
    1. Water and nutrients are provided to the plants by the roots. Some biocontrol agents stunt plant growth by attaching themselves to the roots. There are also bacteria that thrive in surfaces of roots while releasing toxins that also stunt root growth. Fungi on the other hand infect roots thereby disrupting water transport system and reducing the growth of leaves. Consequently, nematodes and insects that are beneficial are feeding directly on the roots of the weeds causing damage and injury and in turn allow fungi and bacteria to penetrate.
    2. Leaves of plants get energy from the sun and will later on store it in the form of sugar. When insects feed on the leaves, they naturally reduce the leaf surface needed to capture energy. Bacteria and fungi on the other hand reduce the leaf's ability to make sugars. Either way, energy needed for the growth of weeds is substantially decreased. Regardless whether they damage the leaves or roots, infestations at their most severe kill weeds, and reduce whatever adverse effects they have on the desirable plants.
    3. Not all fungi and bacteria applied as biocontrol agents can survive year after year. They need to be applied on a yearly basis. This strategy is also known as "bioherbicide", wherein the biocontrol agents are used the way you do chemical herbicides.
    4. The "classical" approach is another way to conduct biological control on weeds. When the weeds come from other countries the pathogens and insects need to be collected from their area of origin and evaluated for release in the new area. A lot of factors can make or break the effectivity of this strategy such as climatic conditions. Right now fungi that spread naturally while infecting weeds are also being used as a classical biocontrol technique.
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Why is biocontrol well worth your effort?


Simply put, it has been proven that weeds can be biologically controlled. One example is the rhizobacteria that was able to stunt the growth of weeds in the Pacific Northwest's wheat fields. Rust fungus on the other hand was used in the eradication of the rush skeletonweed in the West rangelands' thousands of acres. Introduced complex insects were also successful in clearing the waterways, lakes, and rice fields from alligator weed in the South. That is how effective they are.

How come not everyone is taking advantage of this amazing technology?


For many years, scientists have tirelessly proven that herbicides that are biologically based are very effective. Nevertheless, there are very few products that are being sold in Canada and the United States. There has been little or no incentive for interested companies to really get actively involved in the products' development. Added to that is the difficulty of patenting these agents in order to protect them.

Ways to Sustain biocontrol and Eco-friendly Solutions

  1. 1
    Advocate for support to fund biocontrol research
    This will definitely help push the agenda for research and development of these biological agents. Let them know implementing of economical, and sensible biocontrol laws and regulations that will facilitate instead of impede the development of these weed biological control agents.
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  2. 2
    Support public efforts
    This can encourage passing of laws that will reinforce efforts to promote weed control using natural and integrated solutions. Understand however, that the pace of these bio-solutions will depend on the financial support the research and development for this receives. An integrated approach is need so that farmers and property owners as well can benefit from this great strategy.
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  3. 3
    Be a committed user of natural or eco-friendly weed control solutions
    Help in educating other interested hobbyists by putting up model gardens that will demonstrate sustainable practices.
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Are you a gardener by heart? It's time to get actively involved so that safe and natural methods for weed management such as biological control can finally push through. But it all starts with you.

Questions and Answers

Hi my name is and why do I keep my garden tidy and free from weeds?

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Article Info

Categories : Gardening

Recent edits by: Alma, Eng, Nerissa Avisado

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