Post-emergent weed control refers to practices to manage weeds once they have sprouted and are growing. Weeds take over naked soil very easily, so they are an annual problem in vegetable gardens, in poorly established lawns and along walkways, driveways and the edges of buildings. Post-emergent weed control techniques are either mechanical or chemical.
Mechanical control techniques include the following:
Weeding – Weeding is the most basic technique. You can weed by hand. Just try and pull weeds up by the root to prevent their resurgence. You can also weed with a hoe and expose the roots of the weeds which will then dehydrate in the sunlight. This is an easier practice if you have a lot of ground to cover. It is best done in soft soil that will give way beneath the hoe. If the soil is very compacted, you can try watering first.
Mulching – Mulching is the practice of covering the ground where weeds will grow in order to prevent sunlight from reaching them. Without sunlight, they cannot perform photosynthesis, so they cannot live. There are several materials that are great for mulching including plastic, clean straw, wood chips, cardboard, newspapers and weed mats. If you use straw, you need to make sure that it does not contain viable seeds that can grow into a new weed problem. If using wood chips, it is important to make sure they were not treated with any chemicals that you may not want in your garden. Most commercial growers use plastic sheets that easily cover large sections of ground. Holes are punched in the plastic to allow water to reach the soil beneath. The drawback of plastic is that it does not biodegrade and will have to be removed later. If left out too long, plastic can begin to disintegrate into little pieces that are very hard to pick up. You can also use cardboard or newspapers, although these can disintegrate into an unsightly mess over time. Straw and wood chips provide the most environmentally sound method of mulching.
Chemical control techniques include mainstream herbicides like Roundup and alternatives like Phydura, which is an all-natural herbicide.
Herbicides work by chemically burning plants. Both Roundup and Phydura are non-selective herbicides, so they have to be applied with care. Otherwise, you can kill the plants you are trying to grow. Typically, non-selective herbicides are best used around the periphery of a garden or beneath tall plants that are already quite big and healthy. They can also be used under established trees in an orchard.
More and more studies are demonstrating the toxicity of glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) to human beings. Gardeners are turning to natural alternatives. Soil Technologies created Phydura for just that purpose. Phydura is a very potent herbicide, but it is composed of ingredients that people use in their kitchens every day. The base of the formula is oil of clove and vinegar, which are quite powerful. Phydura has a wonderful clove aroma that dissipates shortly after spraying. It is great for use under orchard trees or beneath berry patches. It can also be used as a spot spray along sidewalks, driveways, walkways, and around buildings or on dandelions growing in a lawn. Another great thing about Phydura is that a space can be replanted within hours of spraying because the product dissipates quickly. Phydura is a very effective weed killer, and weeds will die within several hours of spraying.
If weeds are a problem, you can choose from plenty of natural, environmentally friendly and safe ways to get weeds under control. You can use mechanical weeding methods, chemical methods or both. Learn more about Phydura.