Mulching for weed control

Mulching for weed control

How to properly apply mulch and green manure

The simplest organic shredder - a chock with an ax

Many questions arise among gardeners who have decided to switch to natural farming. I will answer some of them.

"Can the mowed wheatgrass be used as mulch?"

Oddly enough, many copies have been broken around this question. Most authors advise to deal with wheatgrass radically - just burn it. But in my practice, I have never done that. I did everything simply. Even wheatgrass plants with roots were simply laid out on top of the mulch and so left. They definitely dried up and did not cause any more problems.

It happened that in a rainy summer he pulled out wheatgrass bushes with roots and did the same. Even the earth did not particularly try to shake off the roots. The rains only somewhat delayed the deadline for the weed, but I have never seen wheatgrass take root in such conditions. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with using the mowed vegetative mass of the weed as mulch.

I do the same with other perennial weeds that are considered malicious. It is important here not to allow perennials to seed, so as not to increase their number. But for the burdock I am making an exception. If his seeds fall into the path, no big deal. When the leaves grow to such an extent that they begin to interfere with cultivated plants, I cut off the leaves. Over the summer, you can cut it several times, replenishing your garden with organic matter. If burdock plants get in the way, it's very easy to deal with it. It is necessary to pour a little edible salt on the cut - the plant will certainly die.

After two leaf cuts, the burdock became "compact"

“Despite the still thin layer of mulch, weeds are making their way through it. How to weed and loosen, is it really possible to move everything every time? "

Mulch greatly reduces weeds. But it is important to understand how this happens. Sufficiently thick (at least 5 cm), a dense layer of mulch does not allow sunlight to pass to the weed seedlings. Annual weeds do not germinate without light. But in order for this mechanism to work, you need to take into account some subtleties. For example, the mulch layer is small, as in the case described by the author of the question. A thin layer of mulch cannot provide complete darkness on the surface of the garden bed or path, which means it does not save you from weeds.

The same thing happens if you cover the ground with a thick layer of coarse, coarse mulch, such as whole straw or large weed stalks. It does not create a dense, sun-proof layer simply because it does not fit tightly. For such a mulching material, a much thicker layer is needed - 20-30 cm. Of course, you cannot mulch carrots with such a layer, but potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers are quite possible. Crops that grow slowly at the beginning of the growing season, such as carrots, require a thinner layer of mulch. This means that it is necessary to use a mulching material that would provide a high density. On my site, foliage from the forest with an upper layer of litter, needle litter from a pine forest, and chaff serve for this.

The most impenetrable layer is formed by last year's foliage, if watered abundantly. If there are not enough such materials, you can simply grind the organic matter that you have. The finer you grind it, the denser the mulch. It would be ideal to only use highly chopped mulch. Now on sale there is a large selection of organic waste shredders. Craftsmen use various homemade designs. They greatly simplify the preparation of high-quality mulch. However, if the area is small, and time permits, you can use the simplest chopper - a chock with an ax.

On my site, I have long found a simple way to do without grinding coarse organic matter. In the spring and summer, I spread straw, cut grass, weeds on the paths. During the warm period, this organic matter is trampled, partially undercut. By the spring of next year, it is a densely packed crumb. Any crops can already be mulched with such organic matter. In a warm period, I always try to bring as much plant debris as possible to the paths, then in the spring there are no problems with mulch.

But even the densest mulch, laid in a thick layer, cannot contain some perennial weeds. Bindweed, thistle thistle, burdock easily break through any mulch. This is often referred to by gardeners who are disillusioned with the use of mulch against weeds. There's nothing you can do about it, these aggressors are breaking through the asphalt.

Foliage from the forest with a top layer of litter,
pine tree litter

How to weed?

If you have created a dense layer of mulch, then you will only have to restrain the growth of perennial weeds, which were discussed above. I just pull them out manually, I don't see any other option. If the mulch layer is thin, then using a flat cutter you can cut the weeds directly under the mulch. In this case, it is better to use a sharply sharpened small Fokin flat cutter.

On my site, I do not strive to completely get rid of weeds, I allow a certain amount of them. I only welcome the appearance of weeds on the paths - they accumulate solar energy, which is then given to cultivated plants. The main thing is that the weeds on the paths do not interfere with the growth of crops.

Try this experiment. Leave a piece of the path densely overgrown with annual weeds, so that they cover the surface of the path with their foliage. Under this cover, moisture always remains much longer, you can see for yourself. The attitude towards malicious perennials is somewhat different. On my site - this is a bindweed, sow thistle. They need to be removed at any stage, and the more often the better. However, I do not consider these plants an indisputable evil either. There is nothing absolutely harmful in nature. Let's take the same bindweed and sow thistle. Their roots go to a depth of more than six meters and from there they pull nutrient solutions. They are able to assimilate food in a form in which it is not available to cultivated plants. After they are pulled out, the weeds give up the accumulated substances in a more accessible form. They can perform other functions, but more about them below.

This is how my beds are mulched

How to loosen?

This question also arises from a misunderstanding of the essence of mulching. Loosening is a useful thing if your beds are kept without mulch. What is its need? As a result of the destruction of the soil crust, a dry, loose top layer is created. This layer greatly reduces the evaporation of moisture from the ground surface, which reduces the amount of irrigation required. Therefore, loosening is called "dry irrigation". In addition, by breaking down the crust on the surface of the ridge, we provide access to atmospheric air to the roots. If there is no air access to them, the plants are oppressed and often die.

All of the above tasks can be easily solved by mulch. In addition, you need to loosen after each watering or rain, and the mulch remains loose all the time. Thus, the use of mulch makes such a traditional agricultural technique as loosening completely unnecessary.

“About siderates: if you just cut them off, then we will have stubble - how to sow on stubble in spring? The same happens if the roots of large plants, such as cabbage, are left in the soil in the fall. "

First of all, the use of green manure does not provide for their complete maturation. Siderata are cut while they are still quite tender, not lignified - not later than the budding stage. And you need to cut them not obliquely, but with a flat cutter at a depth of 1-2 cm in the soil, and not above the surface. Then there will be no stubble left. The roots remaining in the soil will support and will not create problems in the spring.

The harvest is ripening in the beds

Another thing is if the green manure was grown to obtain seeds. Here they cannot be taken with a flat cutter - they are too tough. In this case, I proceed as follows. I leave the stubble high for easy grasping. In the spring, I just pull out the stems with the remnants of the roots. This is not difficult to do. During the autumn and early spring, the roots are strongly undermined, and only the thickest ones are pulled out. The vast majority of small roots remain in the soil.

I do the same with cabbage stalks, the remains of tomato stalks, beans. So the roots of the harvested crops work for the fertility of the soil, and hemp does not interfere. For the sake of interest, do an experiment: pluck the stumps in the fall and estimate the volume of the roots pulled out. Then pull out in the spring, see how many roots remain on the torn stump. See for yourself that there is a big difference here.

Read the next part. Using mulch for pest control →

Oleg Telepov,
member of the Omsk club of potato growers

Weed control with herbicides

Weed control with herbicides starts with choosing the right type of chemical. Selective herbicides kill a wide range of weeds, but do not pose a hazard to the garden plants indicated on the label, provided the instructions for use are followed. The most famous examples are 2,4-D-based lawn herbicides, mecoprop, dicamba, fluroxipir, clopyralid, etc.

Indiscriminate, or continuous herbicides, destroy crops in the same way as weeds. Use them to completely spray untreated land or select a formulation that can be used for targeted treatment between plants. Examples are glyphosate, ammonium sulfamate.

Contact herbicides only kill the parts to which they are applied, so full leaf coverage is required. These preparations are fast acting and are great for controlling annual weeds.

Residual herbicides penetrate the plant through the roots. These drugs remain active in the soil for many weeks or even years, depending on concentration, soil type, etc. They work stealthily, killing weeds underground as they sprout. This type of herbicide is used to control weeds on paths. Examples are dichlobenil, oxadiazone.

Systemic herbicides move with the juice flow, so the roots, as well as the leaves, are affected after spraying. Full sheet coverage is not required. These preparations are effective against many annual and perennial weeds, but usually act slowly, and the result is often dependent on time, weather, etc. Examples are glyphosate, ammonium sulfamate.

And now about some other methods of weed control.

I think, of course, it is better to start the fight against weeds in the spring, as soon as the shoots have appeared - to weed, while the young shoots are. Also treat with herbicides in the spring. Weeding is the most efficient and time consuming method. Better with a pitchfork, so as not to break the root, if you missed the plant and it is already large. Plucking the stalks to keep the weed from sowing is the best control for weed growth. If in the spring the peduncles were successfully removed and the seeds could not get into the ground, then in the fall it will be easy to deal with it by planting the plants - helpers. And all cut and dug out weeds must be immediately removed from the garden, because some of them are able to take root again - garden purslane, starlet, etc.
Weed control in the garden should be carried out systematically and regularly, and not from time to time.
You should weed not only the beds, but also areas near hedges, paths and agricultural buildings.

If you didn't have time in spring, then autumn, it's time to get rid of weeds ... Covering material that does not allow water, air and light to pass through is another helper in the fight against weed ... Black film, linoleum, roofing material, slate, etc., can be placed along the paths and buildings on the site.

After you have removed all the vegetables from the garden, burned the tops, pulled out the remaining weeds and dug up the soil, cover the area under the beds with cardboard. Secure with boards or bricks so that the autumn winds do not carry away the "blanket". This will prevent fallen seeds from hatching due to lack of light and will prevent windborne seeds from taking root. Cardboard allows moisture to pass through, so that the earth is saturated with rains and melted snow in spring. This does not apply to the planting of winter crops! Well, for example, the photo below shows an approximate weed shelter.

In the spring, after the snow melts, the soil will calmly warm up with the rays of the sun. When planting seedlings, you just carefully make a hole and plant them in the soil.

This method is certainly not durable, the paper will rot, but it is simple and will be enough for the season. In addition, when the weeds come, most of the work will be done and you will calmly take to delete emerging weeds ... And as soon as they appear, treat them on the sheet with a solution: half a glass of vinegar, half a glass of salt and a couple of tablespoons of dish soap or household soap. Only use fine-grained salt, dissolve a little with soap in a small amount of hot water. In vinegar, the salt will not dissolve and the spray bottle will clog (by the way, it did not spray with coarse salt) Maybe there is another way how to apply this solution to weeds? I did it with a bottle with holes in the lid, and within a week the weeds dried up by themselves. Only in dry weather.

Mulching is a good way too weed control ... If you managed to cope with the weed in the garden, then the aisle near the beds and flower beds is better to mulch. You can plant lawn grasses - they also conquer territory well and prevent weeds from settling. Even the tractor doesn't pick up some weeds. The seeds then crumble. It means to eliminate flowering - the first way to fight the second - weeding the third - herbicides.

Folk remedies for weed control:

Vinegar. Pour into a spray bottle and spray the weeds. Just don't get on cultivated plants.
Salt. Sprinkle salt on weeds and around the garden beds.
Mulch. Any covering material, newspapers, cardboard, roofing material between the beds. Agrospan, spunbond, etc. in the beds. Sawdust, wood chips, bark are also fine.
Soap. Mix equal proportions of household soap, salt and vinegar and spray on the weeds.
They say alcohol also helps. Mix with water 1:10 and cultivate the land before planting (within a month!)

A widespread continuous-action drug, a systemic herbicide. Affects young shoots and leaves, has a weak soil activity.
A drug with a broad spectrum of action. It processes the above-ground part of the plant, then, having got through the stems and leaves, it spreads and enters the root system, while the weed dies entirely. Treatment with this drug gives excellent results for fighting even such malicious aggressors as wheatgrass, pigs, bindweed, and reeds.
Hurricane Forte.
Postemergence, non-selective herbicide. It is used for the complete elimination of perennial and annual weeds.
An aqueous solution, the main component of which is glyphosate. Blocks the synthesis of amino acids in the plant, thereby preventing it from developing.

Well, that's all for now! Good luck to everyone in the fight! If you want to know in detail about any topic that interests you, write in the comments. I will gladly rummage through my notes and memory cells, find useful information for you and make a selection of photos.

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Weed control methods

It is necessary to constantly look after the garden and get rid of weeds that appear on the site.If left untreated, the vegetable garden can become a thick carpet of unwanted grass, making it harder for crops to grow and develop, resulting in lower yields.

There are many ways to control weeds nowadays. Each summer resident will be able to choose for himself an effective method of destroying grass.

You need to deal with weeds carefully so as not to scatter the seeds around the garden. Plugged plants should not be left on the site. Weeding should be done regularly. It is easier to pull out the grass when it has just appeared and has not had time to reliably gain a foothold in the ground. The smallest roots should be chosen from the soil in order to prevent new weeds from growing out of them.


Weeds should be fought early in the season when unwanted plants are just beginning to appear. In this case, the root system of the weed will not have time to fully develop and firmly anchor in the soil, and the plant will be easily pulled out of the ground.

Preparing the soil before planting cultivated plants involves digging up the earth. After the soil on the site is dug up, all rhizomes should be carefully selected. It is better to dig not with a shovel, but with a pitchfork, so as not to damage the root system by cutting it into pieces. You can plow the land with a cultivator or walk-behind tractor. Such treatment helps to get rid of weeds with deep and strong roots that are difficult to pull out by hand or shovel out of the soil.

Manually getting rid of weeds on a large area is quite difficult, the process is laborious and requires a lot of time and physical strength. Manual weeding is used in small vegetable gardens. In order to pull out the weed, various gardening tools are used that do not have a cutting edge so as not to crush the root system. Better to use a garden fork or hand cultivator. A fork helps to remove rooted weeds such as buttercup. And to combat taproots, a special root remover is used (a two-toothed fork with flat teeth and a long crevice between them).

One of the common garden tools for weeding a vegetable garden is a hoe. The device is convenient, but not always effective in weed control. The chopping motion of the hoe helps to cut the plants from the surface of the soil, while the root system remains underground, and soon a new weed will develop from it.

To get rid of weeds in your garden, you need to regularly weed the beds and aisles. When the procedure is delayed, cultivated plants are oppressed by weeds, receive less moisture and nutrients from the soil.


Soil mulching is used to control weeds in the aisles, as well as under cultivated plants. The top layer of soil is covered with mulch by an average of 5 centimeters so that unwanted grass does not have the opportunity to germinate.

  • cut grass
  • straw
  • fallen leaves
  • compost
  • sawdust
  • peat
  • paper.

The aisles can be covered with cardboard, and covered with a layer of gravel, chips or bark on top. Weeds will have no chance to germinate from under such a cover. This technology can be applied to ground cover plants growing on rocky hills, such as sedum, thyme or carnation.

Pine bark and peat are suitable for mulching, but they tend to acidify the soil. For plants that prefer neutral acidity, it is best not to use them.

Freshly cut grass is not suitable for mulching. Weed seeds are capable of ripening in the cut state, so they can germinate after a while. It is better to mulch the aisles with non-flowering and well-dried plants, laid out on the site in warm and dry weather.

Overripe manure is not only a material for mulching the soil, but also a weak fertilizer. Straw is a good weed control material, but when rotted, it lowers the nitrogen level in the soil. Therefore, it is necessary to periodically produce nitrate fertilizing.

Cut grass should be applied sparingly. Although it is rich in nitrogen, it generates a lot of heat during decomposition, which can harm the roots of plants and reduce the flow of air to the root system. This method can be used to control weeds between the beds, but a different material should be used under the beds themselves.

Before mulching the soil with sawdust, they must be mixed with nitrogen and resin.

Black covering is popular among effective weed control methods. The covering material is easy to use and ensures normal development of cultivated plants. In shops for gardeners, there is a wide selection of canvases that reliably protect the soil from the germination of weeds.

Benefits of using black canvas:

  • prevents the formation of soil crust
  • protects against drought and cold
  • reduces moisture evaporation
  • does not form humus
  • prevents soil compaction by precipitation.

Technology of using black fabric:

  • pull the canvas onto the surface of the garden
  • make cross-shaped cuts in the places of planting seedlings
  • water the cuts abundantly and plant the seedlings.

The artificial material prevents the formation of rot and mold underneath. The fabric allows moisture and air to pass through, but prevents the penetration of light necessary for the germination of weeds.

The disadvantage of black linen is its possible decomposition during periods of sustained heat. To avoid this, you need to cover the surface of the fabric with a layer of hay.

Water and mineral dressings can be poured onto a canvas, the surface of which is conducive to absorption.

Soil mulching is a simple and convenient method of weed control, widely used in horticulture and horticulture. It can be used over large areas and is less energy intensive than hand weeding.

Chemical control methods

Chemical methods of weed control include the use of herbicides.

Preparations for chemical soil treatment are divided into:

  • inorganic
  • organic
  • mineral oils.

Herbicides are of continuous action, which destroy all plants, and selective action, used to destroy certain classes of plants.

In gardening and horticulture, selective drugs are more often used. They have a toxic effect on weeds without affecting cultivated plants.

Weeds with deep roots are less resistant to herbicides.

Penetrating into the plant, the chemical interacts with the contents of the cells, disrupting vital processes, resulting in the death of the weed.

When using herbicides to combat weeds, you need to remember that these are potent toxic substances. Apply the product according to the instructions and follow the precautions. This method of control is used not only to control weeds in the garden or flower bed, but also to destroy unwanted grass in the crevices of paths and areas.

Popular weed control agents are Roundup and Agritox. You can purchase the herbicide at a specialty store. When choosing a drug, you need to take into account its characteristics and the characteristics of the site on which the treatment will be carried out.

EM drugs

If herbicides are not suitable for weed control, EM drugs, or effective microorganisms, will come to the rescue.

The product is a concentrate containing beneficial microbes (bacteria, yeast, enzyme fungi) that are inactive.

Weeds on the site must be cut with a hoe or a flat cutter so that the root system remains in the soil. Then pour abundantly over the prepared area with a concentrated solution of the EM preparation. Under the influence of microorganisms, the root system of weeds will quickly begin to be processed.

In addition to weed control, EM preparations have a number of beneficial properties:

  • increase the content of microorganisms in the soil
  • improve soil structure
  • stimulate plant growth, increase their productivity
  • help to improve the mineral nutrition of plants.

One of the effective biological means of weed control is "Baikal". It is necessary to use the drug according to the instructions so as not to harm cultivated plants and achieve the desired result.

It is advisable to treat the area with EM preparations in the fall, so as not to expose cultural crops to biological effects.

Folk recipes for weed control

An effective folk remedy in the fight against unwanted vegetation is weed cutting. Having lost the aerial part, the plant spends a lot of energy on recovery, wasting nutrients contained in the root system. This method requires patience, but after several procedures, weeds leave the site for a long time.

Some gardeners use fire to cultivate the soil. The technology is effective for weed control in parsley, carrot and dill beds. Before the crops emerge, the germinated weeds are exposed to a burning flame. You can use a blowtorch. The flame should not be held in one place so as not to burn the seeds of cultivated plants in the soil. The lamp must be constantly moved over the soil surface. After cultivation, the soil is watered to cool.

The reason for the spread of weeds on the site is the use of fresh manure as fertilizer. It contains a large amount of weed seeds. Also, plants with seeds should not be added to the compost, as they will germinate after fertilizing the soil.

Vodka or ethyl alcohol is used to control weeds. To prepare the solution, use 150 grams of an alcohol-containing agent per liter of water. It is necessary to cultivate the soil one month before the start of sowing. This method can be used to destroy weeds not only on the site, but also in greenhouses.

The method of re-seeding, or sowing siderates, is necessary to prevent weeds from occupying empty soil. After harvesting, especially early crops, the land can be planted with rye or mustard. Siderata are cut and dug up in autumn. They are not only an effective weed control agent, but also a fertilizer.

Mixed planting helps to destroy weeds in flower beds. Several types of plants are planted on one site to occupy empty soils. Secondary plants serve as mulch and prevent weeds from germinating.

Vinegar is used as a weed killer. Using this product, you need to remember that it destroys not only weeds, but also cultivated plants. The optimal time for vinegar treatment is at the beginning or end of the season. To prepare the product yourself, you need to mix two and a half glasses of vinegar (9%) with one liter of water. The resulting solution is sprayed over the area, being careful not to hurt the cultivated plants. The mixture is enough to process one hundred square meters of the garden.

A wide variety of ways to deal with weeds allows each gardener to choose the most suitable option. It is important to remember that it is necessary to start weed control at the very beginning of the season, when the grasses are just beginning to appear. The complex use of various technologies will make the fight against weeds more effective.


It is difficult to control weeds: they are extremely unpretentious, grow quickly and multiply easily; for their successful development, they have enough moisture from atmospheric precipitation. Unlike vegetables, they direct all their forces towards survival. The gardener's task is to keep the beds clean by combining and combining various methods of getting rid of weeds. Causes minimal damage to crops and soil composition.

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