Carefully hoeing the topsoil can effectively control some weeds but, like tilling, hoeing has its limits.
“Hoeing can be very effective for controlling annual weeds. However, perennials often resprout from the roots after the tops are removed,” said B. Rosie Lerner, an extension consumer horticulture specialist at Purdue University.
Lerner said only the surface needs to be hoed to pull away young, small weeds. “Hoeing should consist of short, shallow strokes that simply cut off the weeds at soil level,” she said. “Hoeing deeper will only bring more weed seeds to the germination zone and may injure the roots of desirable plants growing nearby. … Weeds will be much easier to pull or hoe while they are still small.”