Controlling Weeds In Your Garden

Weeding the Lettuce Patch
No matter if you like to garden just for fun or for growing food for your family, having weeds around is a problem. Getting the weeds under control is an important step to getting the most out of your garden. This is a page about controlling weeds in your garden.


This page contains the following solutions.

June 6, 2006

Here's a tip to remove stray weeds, invasive vines or stalks of crabgrass from crowded beds or shrubs, such as junipers, where it's not feasible to spray. Put on rubber or latex gloves, slip cotton gardening gloves over the rubber or latex gloves. Put the herbicide (like Round-up) on the cotton gloves and stroke the offending plant. The rubber or latex gloves protect your hands from the weed killer and the cotton applies it directly to your invasive plant. Works excellent for weedy vines.

By Charbie from St. Johns, MI

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August 18, 2009

Flower Box full of bloomsUse newspaper as an inexpensive alternative to weed-blocker fabric. Place your plants in the growing location, then lay sheets of newspaper around them and cover with a thin layer of topsoil or mulch to hold the newspaper down and hide it from view. The photo shows how flowers explode when they don't have to compete with weeds!

Source: My own photo; tip from a gardening friend.

By stephanie from Anchorage, AK

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June 13, 2011

After I plant the seeds in my vegetable garden, I lay down 2 layers of newspaper (not the colored pages) then cover with old hay/straw or free mulch that I get from limbs/trees that have been shredded. I leave space for the seeds to sprout. This really helps control the weeds. At the end of the season, I can plow the garden and the newspaper/hay makes my soil better for next year.

By Diane P. from White House, TN


July 8, 2004

In an effort to try to keep the weeds in the vegetable garden down, we mulched our vegetable garden with a sheet of inexpensive black plastic bought from the hardware store (not the more expensive stuff from the garden center).

We cut holes for the tomato and zucchini plants, and wide slits for the rows of beans, and then punched holes in the black plastic all over with the spikes from the bottom of the tomato cages, to let more water in. We anchored the sides of the plastic with dirt/rocks.

This method has worked well; it keeps the weeds down to almost none (less labor), and keeps the moisture in the soil under the plastic (less watering). We have had our best tomato yields ever using this method, and the plastic can be reused for years.

By Ness

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July 18, 2005

Tips for removing weeds. Post your ideas.


March 7, 2001

Place pieces of newspaper between your rows or plants. Each time you mow your lawn, dump your grass clippings over the paper. You won't have anymore weed problems, and it helps out your soil when you till it under for the next year.


November 30, 2009

It is up to one and all to prevent noxious weeds from becoming a problem in our areas. I now check the database for noxious weeds in my state so that I may not be guilty of planting them


April 22, 2008

To rid your flower bed of all the weeds and wild onions that come up in the spring, simply put black plastic over the ground for about 2 days and then remove it and rake up the dead weeds. It is now ready for planting your flowers.


24 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

August 23, 2019

"Knapp Weed" is an invasive species, and hard to get rid of. I would like to know if anyone has an idea for killing it.


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August 23, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

Glyphosate Roundup, is the strongest to get rid of this problem!


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August 24, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you do not want to kill the dirt in this area and want to replant and grow again I would use a mixture of vinegar and salt to kill them. I have done this in the past and it works well. You may need to do this each day. Then you need to dig deep into the ground and make sure you get all the roots out of there.


That can be the hardest part of all. A machine to turn the ground is best or you will need to have a pick and shovel in order to do this by hand.

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April 6, 2020

What are some inexpensive ideas for managing weeds in my veggie garden? Also, any ideas to keep rabbits from eating all my greens?

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July 15, 2010

I have a small garden, but it is loaded with old weeds with large deep roots from the neighbor, and other weeds. How can I kill the weeds, but still grow veggies in the same dirt. If this is not possible what can be done? What weed killer can you sprinkle on lawns to kill weeds, but not the grass, although there isn't much anymore?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

By Peggy B from Philadelphia, PA


July 15, 20100 found this helpful

For the grass I would use a weed and feed. It will kill the weeds and feed the grass.

For the garden, I would lay a very thick layer of straw over the weeds, it will keep the weeds from getting sunlight, and after a while, they will die.


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July 16, 20100 found this helpful

If the weeds are out of control, and can't be dealt with by cultivation, you could spray them with Roundup. This will kill everything. Then you can start anew in a new growing season and keep ahead of these weeds with hoeing and hand picking. Anything that kills weeds will kill veggies. And who wants to eat veggies that have been sprayed anyway?


If your weeds are very tall, mulching them is not the answer. Use mulch after you have hoed them out.

July 16, 20100 found this helpful

You must see if your library system has a book by author Patricia Lanza called Lasagna Gardening. Amazing! She will tell you how to deal with those weeds without using toxic products. Great book.

July 16, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with the other posts, I had a similar problem. Sprayed with Roundup and had to spray again about 1 month later to kill off new baby weeds. Its not ideal especially as I like organic gardening but I had no choice. Do not compost the dead plants. Hoe/till/dig the whole area and leave over winter (not sure if you have harsh winters but we tend to in the uk!) for the frost/rain to breakdown and then rake in the spring and you should be ok to plant. You need to be looking long term as oppose to short term for your gardening.


Also apply as much compost/mulch as you can lay your hands on before planting working this into the soil as much as possible will produce fantastic results and then keep composting and adding this to your garden in the autumn or spring and you will see a massive improvement both in quality of the soil and the goodies which you grow. Happy gardening!

For your lawn? why have one? I got rid of him 12 years ago using a mixture of textiles ie gravel/slabs/planting and have never looked back. Is this possible?

July 17, 20100 found this helpful

When weeds are bigger I take a small knife and then gather up the whole weed and cut it off at the base by the roots. after doing this you can cover the ground with something that will not let any light through, like black plastic, layers of newspapers, etc.


then weight it down. The weeds will not grow if it don't get light. I've done this and it works for me.

July 1, 20110 found this helpful

It is one year later and I thought the question sounded familiar, then saw my name! lol. Thank you guys for your input. It seems the one main solution that I never did was, make it dark somehow where I weeded! Will try that. It must work, lady next door put a black trash bag over a stump of a tree she didn't want and it indeed stop its growth! Thank you all.

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April 19, 2017

Could anyone give me suggestions or advice on locating used newspapers for weed prevention in my vegetable garden? I am having a difficult time finding a resource for used newspaper. Every search leads to a mail order site.

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May 19, 2011

We want to use folded newspapers with rocks placed on top as a weed barrier around the perimeter of our house, especially in front where there is a long thick row of day lilies. Would this work up against the foundation with no problems, such as holding water?

By Vicky


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May 19, 20110 found this helpful

It may start smelling musty during the really wet season; especially this present one. You could get landscaping fabric and put down under the rocks which works well and lets water go through better.

May 19, 20110 found this helpful

Newspaper can work but make sure you have the paper flat and graded slightly out away from the house. I have used newspaper with rocks edging and barkmulch to cover the rest. Fabric mulch by itself doesn't do a good job of keeping weeds away unless there is some sort of boundary like an edging that will keep grass from growing under and then up through. If you dig out the weeds either way, just make sure that the grading of the soil level leads water away the foundation.

May 20, 20110 found this helpful

It would work for a few years, but eventually it would break down and weed seeds would filter through the rocks and germinate in the decomposing newspapers. Better to use landscape fabric and not have to deal with the problem again.

May 21, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for everyone's responses. In the past, we used fabric barrier covered with rocks on a sloping bank flower bed, but the results were not the best. Maybe using both cloth and newspaper with rocks might work! The sloping grade reminder is appreciated, too. Blessings.

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August 26, 2011

I would like to know how to get rid of chick weed and other problem weeds in my vegetable patch.

By Cath


August 30, 20110 found this helpful

I covet chickweed! It tastes just like spinach, only has more nutrients. Cut off the top half with scissors and rinse in your collander, then saute quickly in olive oil, salt to taste. I freeze it in batches for my summer supply and it holds beautifully. Can't wait for winter when it grows again in my yard.

August 30, 20110 found this helpful

Eat your lambs-quarters, too! Lots of nutrients there. Of course a lot of weeds are inedible. The best way to deal with them might depend. Can you tell about how big your garden is and how long is your growing season?


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August 30, 20110 found this helpful

If you have a small garden and are in good physical condition, the best way is hand-pulling. Good exercise, and protects your garden plants. It's also the only way to let the edible weeds grow to harvest size. :)

If it's too big for that or you can't get to the ground easily, try the hula hoe (wiggle hoe, whatever it's called in your area). You go back and forth with a push-pull motion, so there's no wasted effort picking it up for the next stroke. It's great for getting seedling weeds, as it cuts them off just below the soil line. Its two drawbacks are: first, you have to do it frequently, before the seedlings get a good root system established; and second, it doesn't know the difference between weeds and vegetables, so give your plants a wide berth.

A third method is to lay down mulch to keep the seeds in the ground from sprouting, and any that manage to sprout on top cannot get a good toehold before you pull them out. It also conserves moisture and helps maintain an even temperature (or warms up the soil in the spring, if you use black plastic). It's the least work, if you do it right, but the most costly. There are whole books written on methods and materials of mulching.

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March 8, 2007


There are too many weeds in my garden. Can you suggest an effective weeding chemical or else, any other suitable suggestion for it?

Col (retd) H.K. Jha from Patna, Bihar, India


H.K. Jha,

There are plenty of chemicals that work on weeds in the garden, but I'm not an advocate of using any of them, especially on edibles. There are a number of better solutions-better for your garden and better for the environment. Here are some strategies:

  • Use mulch. Cover every available bit of soil that isn't growing desirable plants with wood chips, compost, newspaper, cardboard, etc. This will block out available light and suppress weed growth.
  • Remove weeds before they have the chance to go to seed.
  • Keep weeds out of the compost pile. The last thing you want to do is replant them again in the garden.
  • Pull a few handfuls of weeds every time you're out in the garden.
  • Utilize groundcover plants. They take up space, block out sun and out-compete weeds for nutrients.


January 14, 20070 found this helpful

If you can reach the weeds apart from "good" plants you don't need to use chemicals. Salt will kill a lot of things. Also plain boiling water poured on will kill plant and roots. If you are talking about a very large field, I don't know. I prefer to stay away from chemicals. You will probably have to ask a professional. Good luck.

January 15, 20070 found this helpful

Salt will also leach into surrounding soil and prevent anything from growing there for 1-2 years or more, depending on how much salt you used. So salt is not a good idea. The only place salt is a good idea is between cracks in the sidewalk where you want nothing at all to grow, ever.

In flower beds here in the US we cover the beds with weed fabric, or newspaper, to prevent weeds. Then we let the desired plants grow through the weed fabric. We use whole or shredded newspaper as they both compact quite tightly.

People also put 10 inch wide boards between rows of vegetables or flowers, and that prevents weeds from growing where we walk (i.e. on the boards). Beneficial worms also hide under the boards too.

By Maggie (Guest Post)
March 8, 20070 found this helpful

I would like to make a suggestion regarding the wood chips. Don't put the wood chips anywhere near your house because they attract carpenter ants. This was told to me by an exterminator we used for carpenter ants. Use stone by the house instead.

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September 3, 2012

What is the best chemical or product to use to control or rid the garden of weeds during the growing season?

By Clarence

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June 18, 2012

What is the best way to get rid of weeds in a veggie garden? Could I use hay to cover them to smother them out? I am currently picking them out, but they just seem to be resprouting. It makes my garden look messy!

By ftsik


June 20, 20120 found this helpful

Yes, you can use hay. Mulch helps also. They also help hold the water in around the plants and doesn't cost a whole lot if you get it in a big bag. They also sell this black mesh net stuff that helps (you lay it down like carpet). It isn't hugely expensive either.

My mother once laid black trash bags along the rows of her gardens to keep weeds down. (Secure with rocks or stakes.) You could of course, use weed killer, but I don't personally "approve" of using weed killer type poisons on anything (it hurts our earth and us too, IMHO).

You could also spray vinegar directly on the weeds, but you have to be careful as it might (probably will) also kill the veggie plants if it gets on them. Really, you can't completely get rid of weeds without serious poisons and maybe not even then... but you can try to keep them to a minimum.

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April 29, 2014

I recently weeded my garden and placed a thin layer of pine mulch on it. Now I have weeds growing like wildfire in my garden bed. Everything I've looked at in stores harms other plants. Is there any way to get rid of this problem without harming my hostas and azalea bushes?

By Toni

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July 28, 2013

I have a new allotment that is heavily weeded over with docs. What is the best method to remove them which will also allow me to plant vegetables as soon as possible?

By brianferguson155

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November 6, 2012

I have a weed that is growing in my hydrangea bush, how can I kill it since pulling it does not do the trick?

By Glenn

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March 11, 2012

If I use boiling water to kill weed roots, how long before I can plant potatoes?

By Bev


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March 11, 20120 found this helpful

I am about to give you an alternative you all might want to try.

During the 70's, Mother Earth News came out with an issue that included growing spuds. If you have clean sawdust, that is boiled and then allowed to dry, you can grow spuds in it. Honest.

I will provide you with a link to prove I am not crazy.

In a 55 gallon tub, you can line the bottom with about 4" of clean sawdust. It has to be weevil free. Put some cuttings that have at least 2 eyes and have sat till they are almost black down in the dust until they are barely covered.
Moisten but don't soak. Leave for a few days till more sprouts come up and cover with more dust. Keep doing this till the leaves turn from green to yellow in the late summer or early fall.

Tip the tub and you should have a "ton of tubers"!! Hope that helps. Sandi/PBP

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June 17, 2012

What can I put in my hydrangea to kill the dandelions and other weeds, but won't harm the hydrangea?

By D. Smith

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August 14, 2011

My husband passed away in January and I am attempting to battle the overgrown garden, but have several large weed roots and a Russian vine root that I would like to kill. Does anyone have any ideas please?

The Russian vine has a root that is about 12" wide we did try to dig it out last year, but it has grown again.

By Sue

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 18, 2009

You can use newspaper for weed control, place 3/4 inch overlapping layers of newspaper around your shrubs/plants. Soak it down with water and wait for 24 hours before you place decorative mulch on top. It keeps weeds away while recycling. Save lots of $, no need to buy black gardening plastic. Don't have enough newspaper around? Ask your neighbors for their newspapers and help save the earth.

By Tracey from Thomasville, GA


Use Newspaper For Weed Control

Cardboard also works well as a weed control mulch. Just layer it as described above and cover with woodchips. (02/26/2007)

By csw

Use Newspaper For Weed Control

I think that is a great idea. Love it and will try this spring when I make a new garden. (02/26/2007)

By Valerie

Use Newspaper For Weed Control

This works exceptionally well. I have done this in the past. (03/04/2007)

By Vicky Ball

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