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Weeding: A Brief Guide to Natural & Organic Ways of Weed Removal

Weed is any wild plant that is not valued where it is growing and which usually shows vigorous growth that can hamper the growth of the plants in your garden. Weed can be removed with chemical weedicides, however, there are other easier and natural ways of removing it as well.

Aarushi Chadha
Weeds make your plants more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Weeds make your plants more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Weed refers to any plant that is growing where it is not supposed to be growing. The issue with weeds is that they have vigorous growth and that they compete with the growth of a healthy for water, nutrients, and sunlight. There are other weeds that are deemed invasive which can cause irreparable damage to the crops and property.

Weeds also make your plants more susceptible to pests and diseases. Weeds are adapted to grow in tough conditions and can act as a shelter for pests such as snails or aphids. They can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to other plants in the vicinity. Plus, when your crop is surrounded by weeds, then it can be really hard to harvest them.

Weed management

Farmers take a lot of precautions before sowing seeds and planting seedlings in a field. Some of these techniques usually involve adding mulch to the field, properly ploughing and tilling the land after removing weeds, and sprinkling herbicides that are meant to hinder the growth of weeds. They also choose the healthiest seeds and treat them before sowing them in the field.

After taking such precautions, it is still possible for weeds to grow. However, applying weedicide or herbicide to control weed growth can cause damage to the crop or plant, if not applied carefully. Like most chemicals, herbicides contribute to air, water, and soil pollution when it is applied indiscriminately. They also pose a health risk to both humans and pets if breathed or ingested.

Natural and Organic Ways of Weed Management

Mulching- Mulch is a layer of material that is applied to the surface of the soil for reducing weed growth, improving the fertility of the soil, and conservation of soil moisture. Usually, mulch is organic in nature and can be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. You can use old newspapers or cardboard to make your own mulch at home.

Remove weeds by hand- If you notice weed growth in a small land or in your back garden and know how to differentiate between the weed growth and your plant, then get rid of the weed by pulling them by hand. Pull the weed out by the roots to ensure that they don’t return to your garden. Also wash your hands, gloves, and other gardening tools that were used with water and soap to ensure that you don’t inadvertently transfer weed seeds to an unaffected area.

Apply a layer of cornmeal or polenta- Apply a generous layer of cornmeal or polenta on the base of your plant in order to stop weed seeds from spreading and germinating.

Solarizing- If there is vigorous weed growth in your garden during the summer, then you can control weed growth by the process of solarizing. During the height of summer, place a clear thin plastic sheet across the affected area. Leave the plastic in place for 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, the sun will heat up the soil and kill weed roots and seeds. The process of solarizing is also used to rid the field of diseases and pests. However, it can also kill the beneficial organisms present in the soil.

Vinegar- Take a spray bottle and fill it a quarter of the way with vinegar and the rest with water. Direct the nozzle of the spray bottle towards the weed, whilst simultaneously protecting the nearby plant. Apply the vinegar and let it do its magic. If it is especially windy, then use a brush instead of a spray bottle to avoid contaminating nearby plants.

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