MNN Galleries

11 ways to control weeds without chemicals

Aug. 13, 2010, 11:07 a.m.
organic soil in a truck

Photo: yugenro/Flickr

3 of 14

Maintain healthy soil

Once you have put in desirable plants that crowd out weeds, keep your plants healthy with fertile, aerated and well-drained soil. Test your soil and talk to local specialists to create the optimal fertilization plan. Unfortunately, weeds can grow in virtually any soil, but soil improvements will at least create a level playing field with your plants.

“Most weeds don’t have specific requirements for growth other than open areas. It usually isn’t possible to eliminate weeds simply by supplying some specific nutrient,” Hartzler said. “However, anything that can be done to promote the growth of the desirable plant will reduce weed problems. Weeds often benefit as much, if not more, from the application of fertilizer, so blindly applying nutrients in the hope of suppressing weeds can be counterproductive.”

Soil compaction is a concern under lawns, but can be overcome with core aeration every three or four years, said Smith.