Ideas & Inspiration

How to Prevent Weeds

Weed Prevention
A thick, healthy lawn in a landscape

The first step in eliminating weeds is creating a healthy, thick lawn that crowds out future weeds. Healthy grass starts in the soil, so test your soil and follow soil amendment recommendations to replace any nutrients you find lacking. Fertilize grass seasonally.

Never cut your grass shorter than 2 1/2 inches or remove more than a third of the height in order to keep grass roots strong. Leave grass clippings on the lawn; as they break down, clippings will add nutrients to the soil.

Suppress Weeds with Mulch
A flower bed with mulch

Mulch helps retain soil moisture, keeps soil temperatures consistent and makes the garden look tidy. But did you know it has weed-preventing properties, too? A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch deprives weed seeds of sunlight and reduces their ability to grow.

Find out why treating your garden to mulch is a good idea. 

Pull Weeds
Disposing of weeds in a bag

An effective and organic way to rid your garden of weeds is to pull them by hand or dig out with a garden weeder. For easier removal, pull weeds after a rain. Be sure to remove the weeds by their roots so they don’t grow back.

Learn more ways to whack weeds, including in your garden.

Avoid Weeds
Spreader running over a lawn

The best way to stay ahead of garden weeds is to stop them when they’re seeds. If you stop weed seeds from sprouting, they never grow and you won’t have to pull them. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide only in early spring and summer. Learn more about weed control products.

Blanket with Landscape Fabric
Landscape fabric in a backyard

A landscape fabric or plastic sheathing in new garden beds will assist in keeping weeds down for a few seasons and help control soil erosion. Cover fabric with two to three inches of mulch or stone. Keep in mind, the fabric or plastic barrier also keeps organic matter from the soil, so be sure to add appropriate fertilizers to planting holes.

Spot Treat Weeds
Weed control products in lawn

When weeds escape other efforts, try the spot-treatment method. Post-emergent herbicides kill existing plants when sprayed on the leaves. Spray only the unwanted plant, as these herbicides will kill anything they come in contact with.

Organic methods such as vinegar or hot water can also be effective for broadleaf weeds such as dandelions and chickweed.

Double Duty on Weeds
Spreader with weed and feed product

Weed and feed products selectively kill broadleaf weeds while feeding your lawn. However, they can kill grass seed, young grass and St. Augustine grass, too. Learn more about lawn fertiliizer products.

Timing is key to winning the weeding battle. Eliminate weeds when you first spy them. If the plant goes to seed, you will have even more weeds to fight.

While tilling new beds in the spring, be aware that most seeds germinate in the top 2 inches of soil. Digging deep in the garden brings these dormant seeds to the surface into perfect conditions for germinating.