MNN Galleries

11 ways to control weeds without chemicals

By: Networx Systems on Aug. 13, 2010, 11:07 a.m.
Natural weed control in flower garden, lawn

Photo: Lapina/Shutterstock

1 of 14

Be in control

Weeds are the home gardener's biggest enemy. Roundup and other chemicals may seem like the best weapon in the arsenal against weeds. However, many experts discourage the use of chemicals, which can leach into fruits and vegetables. They also trickle down into groundwater.

Moreover, chemicals are more expensive and less effective than many other methods. Ronald Smith of the North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences said “weed and seed” combinations in particular are typically weak and practically useless on home gardens and lawns. He said a blanket herbicide application cannot reverse a heavy weed infestation in a lawn.

“This is not a debatable point. It is something we nailed down here at NDSU years ago in field trials,” Smith said.

Fortunately, there are better ways to prevent and control weeds before they take over. However, Smith notes that only a full-time assault on weeds can keep out every weed.

Here are seven strategies for preventing weed growth, and four methods of controlling existing weeds, with the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

This article was reprinted with permission. It originally appeared on