Time to Wipe Out the Weeds | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 07 March 2013 14:24

By Buzz Bertolero

The Dirt Gardener

Q: I have a 16-foot-by-8-foot vegetable garden that I maintain organically year round, but my neighbor’s weedy yard is a big headache. I’d like to wipe out the weeds before I till the soil this month with some sort of natural herbicide. Do you know of any? As of yet, I have found none.

A: I’m not aware of any herbicide, organic or non-organic, that is applied prior to tilling that kills both the actively growing unwanted weeds and grasses along with the dormant weed seeds. It’s going to be a two-step process with post and pre-emergent herbicides.

There is herbicidal soap available for the actively growing weeds but cultivation is by far the best organic control. It shouldn’t be a big deal based on the size of your garden. I might hoe and remove the largest weeds and then till the area. It’s the weed seeds that are going to be a problem during the growing season.

Concern Weed Stopper Plus is an organic pre-emergent herbicide made from corn gluten. It’s applied to control the weed seeds around edibles and other plants. It’s not recommended if you’re starting your vegetable garden from seed, but it’s okay around transplants or seedlings.

Any type of pre-emergent herbicide can’t tell the difference between desirable and undesirable seeds. Concern Weed Stopper Plus does an okay job with grassy weeds, but it’s very weak on broad leaves and deep-rooted perennials.

Hand cultivating and mulching could be just as effective.

You can also lay down a landscape fabric or a thick layer of newspaper. A thin layer of organic matter is then placed over the material to cover it and weigh it down. I wouldn’t make it very thick, otherwise you provide for an excellent area where the weed seeds that blow in can germinate. The lack of light will prevent the dormant seeds from germinating.

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is www.dirgardener.com and you can send questions by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or to 360 Civic Drive, Ste. “D,” Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Buzz-Bertolero.



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