You have a beautiful yard, but there is something which does not seem right. In your carefully mowed and curated lawn, there are some eyesores. These are the weeds which keep sticking out like a sore thumb.
You have researched several articles on "how to get rid of weeds in lawn” but did not have much success. After all, you want to kill weeds not grass.
If that seems like you and you seem to be losing weeds battle and feel like giving up, then you are not alone. There are several gardeners like you in a similar situation and they also faced the challenge of how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds.
But don’t lose hope.
There are tricks to get rid of the weeds. Plus, there are also some weeds which have surprisingly good health benefits. Maybe once you know these benefits, then you can look at these weeds differently and bring it to your dining table.
Let’s dive in and know more about weeds so you can control and get rid of it.
Types of Weed
You have to first identify the weed in your yard which you want to get rid of before you move into the next step of removing it. Correct identification of plant is essential to stop and eradicate the weed.
There are several different types of weeds. But we can classify lawn weeds into three main categories:
Unwanted Grasses - These are not actually weed, but anything which you do not want in your yard is a weed.
Sedges - Sedges are a type of grass which has a triangular stem and have textured and attractive color. You may like to keep it in your garden, but if you are looking uniformity in your garden, then you may want to get rid of it.
Broadleaf Grasses - As the name suggests, these grasses have broad, but blade-like leaves and are common weeds found in the yards.
Now we often associate weeds with something which we definitely do not want in our yard or garden. But do you know that some of these weeds have useful medicinal properties?
Weeds with Medicinal Quality
Let's check out some good weeds which are helpful in many ways.
It’s the most universal type of weed known to grow in the most stringent condition. It’s typically identified with a yellow, bright color flower. It is also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene.
If you have a condition of high blood sugar, then Dandelion roots contain insulin and levulin. It also has taraxacin chemical which helps with the digestion. You may also use it as a natural sunlight protector.
Red clover has a bright pink color flower with a similar texture as Dandelion. It is also a natural fertilizer as it helps to keep the nitrogen in the soil. The nitrogen helps with the growth of plants.
Red clover is very adaptable and can grow in the most challenging condition. This makes it a weed since its robustness makes it hard to get rid of it.
Many people use Red Clover in tea due to its medicinal properties. Many traditional medicines use Red clover in the treatment of cancer, skin condition, and whooping cough.
Red clover contains chemical like estrogen which is a female hormone. Due to this, it helps improve the female reproductive health.
Purslane is a green weed most commonly found in the most part of the world. Although it may standout in your yard and you may want to get rid of it, but it is full of nutrients.
It has a high level of omega-3 fatty acids which is essential for proper working of your body. The presence of a large amount of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium makes it full of health benefits.
Due to plenty of high minerals and vitamins, purslane is helpful in weight loss, skin care, and gastrointestinal treatments.
Chickweed is a rich source of fiber and nutrients. It can help you with weight loss, reduce joint inflammation, and prevent open wound infection.
It grows in patches and is also easier to control than other weeds. But once overgrown, it can hamper the grown of other plants in your garden.
Now it is up to you if you want to keep those weeds for its medicinal purposes or it is an eyesore in your garden.
Now let's move our attention to the bad weeds which are hard to get rid of and how to identify these weeds.
Weeds You Don't Want in Your Yard
Below is the list of weeds which are most commonly found in any garden and often are challenging to get rid of.
Oxalis is a broadleaf type of weed and grows up to 20 inches tall. It has light green leaves and often has yellow flowers which bloom in summer and fall.
It is most commonly found in lawns and garden areas under sunny or shady areas.
Crabgrass has broad leaves and can grow up to 18-inch-tall and 20 inches wide. It is often difficult to get rid of crabgrass due to its agility to grow in any condition. Each grass plant can produce up to 150,000 seeds which makes it very fast to spread in other parts of the lawn.
Crabgrass often starts growing up in summer and last till the winter frost. It is an annual weed plant and dies itself once it produced its seed. But a large number of seeds produced is enough to keep it growing new plants every year.
White clover is a broadleaf plant which grows 8-10 inches tall and 12 inches wide. It has distinct broad green leaves and white round flower. It often occurs in a set of 3 leaflets which has stripes around it. The flower color is white with a brownish green center.
White clover helps to add nitrogen to the soil which is essential for plants. So, although it is a weed, it helps to grow other grass in your lawn.
Another most usually sighted weed is plantain. It grows up to 9 inches tall and 12 inches wide. It is often found in the moist and shaded area of the lawn. You can identify it with its broad and flat leaves.
It is a very robust weed and can produce up to 15,000 seeds which makes it little more difficult to contain.
This is a little pesky weed which grows up to 2 feet tall and wide. It is most commonly found on the sunny side of garden areas. You can identify it by its rough hairy leaves with a small white flower at the top.
As its name suggests, it is very fast growing weed which blooms and produces its seed very fast. Unlike other weed seeds, it does not wait to germinate in the next season. The seeds produced by it can grow in the same season.
Canada Thistle has spikey, green leaves with purple flowers. It grows up to 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It grows anywhere where there is soil. You may have seen it even growing from the cracks of a sidewalk or your driveway.
What makes it so difficult to remove is its network of long roots. These roots can grow several feet beyond the central plant.
Where other weeds do not affect human health, poison ivy may cause serious health issues. Contact with this weed may cause itchy rashes.
It is also very enduring weed and can grow in any harsh condition. Poison Ivy root contains poisonous resin urushiol. You may develop symptoms after having contact with it in 24 to 48 hours.
The severity will depend on the sensitivity of your skin and the amount of contact you had with the poison ivy.
Black medic is a short-lived weed shrub which is generally up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. It can grow in any condition from dry soil to exposure to sunlight. It has clover like leaves and small yellow flower at its tip.
It has strong root stems which make it difficult to pull it out.
Quackgrass is grassy perennial weed which grows up to 3 feet tall and several feet wide. It grows in yard and gardens in both sunny and shaded areas. It is also known as couch grass or twitch grass.
It spread through its seed and rhizome. Each plant produces up to only 25 grains, but they are potent and robust. It can stay dormant and sustain harsh weather conditions. The biggest strength of this pesky weed is its ability to grow fast. It can grow up to 2.5 cm per day, and new grass can shoot through any point of the weed stem.
Musk Thistle is a weird looking leaf with a tall stem. It grows up to 7 feet tall and 18 inches wide. At the top, it produces a massive 3-inch purple flower. The leaves have a smooth waxy surface which helps it to remove excess water.
It most often grows in mid to late July and blooms in the summertime. It is very fertile weed and produces thousands of seeds which makes it difficult to control.
So those are the common types of weeds you may find in your yard or garden. It is essential to identify it before you start devising a plan to get rid of it.
How to get rid of weeds Permanently
There are three common ways you can control and get rid of weeds.
Preventive Method of Controlling Weeds
A common saying that prevention is better than cure applies here. The most effective way to control weed is not to have it in the first place. Let’s talk about some preventive methods which you can apply not to let the grass to plant itself in your garden or yard. And also protect large area from weeds.
1. Know the layout of your garden
Weeds like to grow in a condition which is more favourable to them. If in your yard you have an area which is at a lower level then it is more likely there will be a water pool either from irrigation or rain.
There is more likelihood that weeds such as ground ivy which grow in wet and humid place will be rising to that place. Improving the drainage at that part of your yard will help you control the growth of weed at that place.
Some weeds like to grow in a shadier area. Removing the particular tree branches from that area will make the sunlight to pass through it more and control the weed growth.
Once you know the layout of your garden, you can make a better plan to reduce the chance of germination and growing of weed.
2. Suffocate the Weeds
Weeds like any other plants need space to grow. Weeds are an opportunist, and it will thrive wherever it finds the little area to take root and get some sunlight.
You should keep your plant gap small to not let weed get space to place its root and deprive it of sunlight. This is what kills weeds permanently before it starts to germinate.
Be careful to give your plants enough space so they can grow fully. Planting too close may result in the plant not be able to expand as it hits maturity.
3. Keep Your Fertilization at an optimal level
Fertilize your lawn based on the number of nutrients your plants or garden need. Putting too little fertilizer may result in plants not getting enough nutrients and will not grow to its full extent.
Putting too many fertilizers may result in excess nutrients used by the weed. Know the layout of your garden and the types of plants you have. It will give you the rough estimation of the fertilizers required by the plant.
Then look at the packaging of the compost and use the measured amount of fertilizer to control the amount of fertilizer. You may also use a fertilizer such as sulphur-coated urea or IBDU.
It releases the required nutrients such as nitrogen in a more controlled manner. This will allow you to time and balance the level of fertilization in your garden.
4. Mulch – Don’t let weed see the sunlight
For those who are new to gardening, mulching means spreading of decaying leaves, the bark of compost around or over the plant. So, in a sense mulching is like putting a jacket around the plant.
Mulching keeps the underneath soil cool and moist. Plus, it deprives the weed of getting sunlight to grow. Organic mulch such as homemade compost also contains several insects such as crickets and beetles.
These tiny insects find out and eat the weed seeds which helps keep your garden weed free. If you have already planted, then putting a thick layer of mulch around it once will be enough to contain the weed growing around it.
5. Water the Plant Not the Weed
Weeds, like any other plants, need water and sunlight to grow. Mulching helps to deprive it of sunshine, and you can take it further to deny it from the water. There are certain ways you can achieve it.
Start with drip irrigation which is the most effective way to water your plant and not a weed. You may place a drip or soaker hoses around your plant and beneath mulch to water your plant.
The water will be contained in the area surrounding the plant and will not get to weed for it to grow. When you are placing these drip or soaker hoses be aware of the type of weeds likely to surround your plants.
Weeds with more prolonged and deeper root may be able to get the water if the positioning of the soaker hose is not correct.
6. Reduce Digging and Soil Disturbance
Some weeds contain thousands of seeds which get spread all over the place. But fortunately, not all that seeds will grow into grass.
Weed seeds which are at the top inch or two of the topsoil will have a chance of developing into weed when given enough sunlight and water.
Digging makes these deep undergrounds weed seeds to get exposed to the top layer where it has a much higher chance to develop into full-grown weed.
Tilling is essential to growing the good yard. Do not till where it is not required. To reduce the soil disturbance, use sharp gardening tools to severe it from its root rather than digging it out.
7. Maintain Ideal Mowing Height of grass
Mowing is essential to keep a neat and tidy yard. Depending on the type of grass you have in your yard, you may want to keep grass at the same height. Identify the most common weed you are seeing in your yard and its average height.
Then mow your grass bit higher than weed height. This will make the long grass to shade the small weed, and it will die down due to lack of sunlight.
If you mow too low then you run the risk of removing the grass altogether which may give the weed to find enough space to spread its root. In most cases mowing at the 2- or 4-inch level are ideal.
You should mow your yard as grass goes longer than your desired height. Do not rely on any kind of mowing schedule or calendar but be flexible to mow when required.
The growth of your grass and weed will depend on several external and internal factors so mow your garden weeds as required.
8. Commit to the weeding schedule
If you are looking to maintain lush green beautiful looking yard, then you have stick to the weeding schedule.
It is far easier to contain weed before it grows its root. Committing and sticking to the weeding plan will help you later to spend less time in removing the grass.
Controlling Weeds Physically
This is the second step of the weed control strategy. It is more labor intensive but can help you get rid of weeds without much side effects.
9. Physically Pull Weeds
This is the most common and rudimentary approach of removing the weed. Depending on the type of weed this may or may not be very useful. When pulling a weed, you have to make sure that you pick it in its entirety so as not to let it regrow.
You can either pull it by hand or use gardening tools. To be most effective in removing, do so when the ground is moist. Keep your gardening gloves on while pulling as some weeds have stronger and deeper roots. It may need you to apply more force.
If you are using tools like trowels, then make sure to go underneath the roots of weed to pull it out.
For weeds which contain seed, avoid pulling it with your hand as you may cause the seed to fall off. The fallen seed on the ground will cause the weed to regrow. Use the gardening tools to dig or cut the plant.
Do safe disposal of weed seeds to avoid any contamination. Put it in a plastic bag when you take the weed out from the ground to reduce the spread of its seed.
10. Landscape Fabrics
Landscape fabrics provide the physical barrier not to let grow the grass and weed from the ground which kills weeds permanently. It works the same as mulch but is more effective. These fabrics are made with materials which take longer than mulch to decompose.
When buying landscape fabrics make sure the gap in the structure is small enough, so it does not let weed to pass through it. A good quality landscape fabric should be firm and stiff and should not tear or stretch easily.
11. Cover Your Garden Bed
Covering your garden bed with household items such as newspaper, cardboard, or carpets stops the sunlight and air to reach to the weed. Weeds need sunlight and air for germination and growth.
Newspaper and cardboard are made with organic materials like plant pulps. When these decompose, it improves the soil quality of your garden for other plants to grow.
You may also use old shower curtains, but if those are made from plastic, then you have to remove it after a while as plastic does not decompose naturally.
12. Pour Boiling Water on Weed
Hot boiling water will kill the delicate tissues of the weed and will cause it to die. But we careful with this technique and make sure you are pouring boiling water on the weed only and not to the plants or grass you want to keep.
Pouring boiling water on weed is more useful for the weeds grown on a sidewalk or driveway. At those sites, you have less risk of damaging other plants.
13. Cut the Weed top
There may be a specific scenario where it might not be possible to either pull off the weed from the ground or get rid of it by other means.
You may also want to hold off pulling the weed if there are lots of seeds on the weed and you do not want to risk dropping these seeds in your garden.
Cutting the top of weed may result in secure disposal of weed seeds and reduces the possibility of reseeding of the weed. The leftover weed stump dries down its own.
14. Using Compost, let a weed grow first
If you are using organic compost, sometimes you may still have weed seeds in it and which does not get destroyed. When you spread this compost in your garden, these weed seeds start germinating.
To counter this, spread your compost in your lawn a week or two before the actual planting of your garden. This will give the weed seeds enough time to start growing which you can either remove it physically, or the weed seeds may die on its own due to cold weather.
15. Burn the weed
This is another easiest and effective way to get rid of the weed. There are limited sites where you can burn the weeds such as driveway or sidewalk where there are no other plants which you want to keep.
But smoking the weed will help you minimize the risk of spreading the weed seeds. To be effective, you don’t have to burn the weed into the ground entirely but run the hot flames over the weed to let it lose all its internal moisture. Then plant dies itself naturally in a few days.
16. Unleash a livestock
Now depending on the area, you live, whether it is urban or rural, you may or may not have this option. For the most part, cities bylaws do not allow residents to raise livestock. But if you are living in some rural community, then you can let your livestock loose on the weeds.
Livestock such as goat or cow grazes on the grass and the weed. You should be careful protecting your plants which you want to keep from livestock. You can do it by fencing the plant or trees which you want to keep.
The preventive and physical method of killing weeds will give you temporary relief from weeds but you are still looking what kills weed permanently then keep reading.
Kill Weeds Permanently - Chemically or Organically
Use of chemicals or organic means are the most natural and most effective ways to kill grass and weed permanently. But we are recommending it as a last option because of several side effects of the use of chemicals.
Chemicals are indiscriminate as they may not only destroy the weeds but may also destroy the other plants.
Moreover, these chemicals are also harmful to humans, especially children. A recent study found that common weed killer Glyphosate increased the risk of cancer by 41%. So, use chemical weeds killer carefully.
17. Use Weed Preventer
You can apply weed preventer granules in your yards which can prevent the growth of weeds temporarily for as long as three months. This chemical-based weed preventer works by killing the weed or inhibiting its growth.
Keep in mind that all weed preventers are not the same. You should first identify the type of weed you are trying to remove. Then you should find out the area where you have weeds such as in garden, or driveways or patios.
The strength and composition of weed preventer are based on the type of weed, persistence, and ability of the weed to spread.
18. Use a Vinegar
We all use vinegar at home for various purposes. So, It is naturally to ask, "will vinegar kill weeds?"
You can spray vinegar to kill weeds naturally. You may use white vinegar available in superstores or use apple cider vinegar. Both are effective in controlling the weed.
You should do a single spray of vinegar either in the middle of the weed or to the weed flower which stops it from producing seeds.
You may also spray it near the roots, so the vinegar passes through the soil and gets absorbed in the roots. This prevents the weeds from regrowing and is the best way to kill weeds.
19. Baking Soda
If you are dealing with weeds growing through cracks of your driveway or lawn, then you may use baking soda to wipe it out.
Baking soda kills the weed slowly and prevents its regrowth. So use it in areas where there are no other plants which you may want to keep.
The use of herbicides is for the last resort for those persistent and pesky weeds which refuse to leave your garden alone. There are two common types of herbicides in the market depending on the kind of plant you are trying to get rid of.
- Pre-emergence herbicide
- Post-emergence herbicide
The Pre-emergence herbicide are used before weed seeds germinate from the ground. These are the type of preventive herbicides, and you have to use it for several seasons to see a long-lasting effect.
Use of pre-emergence herbicides is most effective in controlling crabgrass. You have to be little careful in using these herbicides as it also kills the germinating lawn seeds.
The Post-emergence herbicides are used on weeds which have already germinated and are growing. There are two types of post-emergence herbicides which are contact and systemic.
The contact herbicides work only to the part of the plant where it made contact and are active on annual weeds. The systemic herbicides work by circulating inside the grass and killing it internally. It is most effective on perennial weeds.
You should not spray the post-emergence on your entire lawn but use it selectively on the weeds you are trying to eliminate.
If you have weeds growing around the foundation of your house or along the sidewalk, then you may also consider using Borax. Borax is also a good insecticide, so if you have trouble keeping away ants or other small insects, then Borax will take care of both.
You can use alcohol such as vodka to kill weeds from your garden. To use it you can mix vodka with few drops of liquid dish soaps and water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on a warm sunny day.
Alcohol dries quickly and takes the moisture out of weeds by breaking the waxy layer on the weeds and exposing it to direct sunlight heat. This dehydrates the weeds which cause it to die slowly.
If you wondered "does bleach kills weeds"? Then here is the short answer.
You can use bleach and spray on the weed to get rid of it. To be more effective use an undiluted bleach as it will be more potent. Fill up the bleach in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the weed.
Then just in a day or two the weed with die and you can pull it out easily. The bleach on the soil will prevent any weed seed from regrowing.
Be careful while applying bleach as it may result in discolouration of the tiles or floor and don’t spray it on the plant you want to keep.
24. Corn Gluten
If you are looking for an organic weed control method, then you may consider using corn gluten. It is a by-product of corn mill process and contains up to 10 percent nitrogen. So corn meal does kill the weeds but you have to use it correctly.
You have to use it before the weed germinates as it works by stopping the formation of weed roots. The nitrogen in the corn gluten helps fertilize your lawn while killing weeds.
But if you are trying to get rid of crabgrass, then you have to double the normal dose to be effective. Make sure there is no rain or water the lawn for at least 5 days after applying the corn gluten to make it work.
25. Essential Oils
Essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, and orange have natural weed killing properties. The essential oils work by destroying the weeds leaf cuticles or destroying the inner part of weeds.
You can make your own natural weeds killer with essential oil. Grab a 16 oz spray bottle, add 14 oz vinegar, 1.3 oz Castile soap and 3 drops of each essential oil. Use clove, cinnamon, orange, and wintergreen essential oil.
Once you are ready, then spray the essential oils on the weeds. You may not get the desired result in a single spray. So, you may have to repeat the process 2 or 3 times to get the desired effect.
If you are looking for the most effective and most natural way of getting rid of the weed, then you have all the ingredient you need in your kitchen. Salt is a natural weed killer.
The salt is sodium which changes the chemical balance in the plant which results in it to kill weed quickly. To make your salt weed killing solution, take 1 cup salt and add in 2 cups of water.
Then boil the solution and put it in your spray bottle. Spray the salt solution directly onto the weeds. Repeat the process till the weed dies off. Don't spray on the grass which you want to keep as salt kill the grass.
27. Use organic compost
If you thought to yourself, "how to get rid of weed naturally", then you will be interested in this section. We recommend you to use organic compost and matters to kill weeds.
It has double benefits as it destroys the weeds but also fertilize your garden plants. We found it to be the most effective way to control and get rid of weeds while growing the beautiful lawn.
Use of organic compost is more natural to apply as you have to spread it in your lawn as you usually would other fertilizer. Unlike other chemical fertilizers, it is safer to use organic compost, and there are no usual side effects. So in our opinion it is a best weed killer for lawns. You can use organic compost liberally.
Many people also look for the best soil for weeds but if you use organic compost then the type of soil does not matter a lot.
So, there you have it. The 27 innovative ways you can get rid of weed from your lawn and in grass. If you find the list helpful then share it with your friends and other fellow gardeners so they can also have the same weed-free garden like you.
If you have used any other tips or technique which tell us what kills weeds permanently, then share in the comment below. Happy weeding.