How to Stop Weed Growth Without Chemicals

After you’ve spent time, money, and energy building your garden, flower bed, or yard, the last thing you want is for all your hard work to be tainted by weeds. Instead of using commercial weed killers to kill these pesky sprouts, there are many more environmentally friendly solutions out there. Here are some options.

How to get rid of weeds without using chemicals

Horticultural expert Lee Reich, author of numerous books including Gardening Weed-Free and The Curious Gardener, recently shared some non-chemical methods of weed control in an article for The Associated Press . Here are some of his suggestions:


In short, mulch can choke weeds. Here are Reich ‘s instructions for this method:

Fold organic mulch, such as leaves, grass cuttings, or wood chips, several inches above the ground to slow the evaporation of water from the soil and keep it cooler. Be careful not to place mulch directly on young plants, or the stems may rot.

It also provides more information on organic and synthetic mulch options.

Weeding geese

If your yard or garden is mostly covered in grass, weeding geese (yes, birds) are worth considering. Reich explains :

Young geese will eat all their weight in the weeds every day. All you need is water, shade and additional food, as well as a fence to keep out geese and predators.

A pair of geese will patrol about an acre and keep each other company. One caveat: remember that corn is grass. Plant corn and they’ll eat it too.

Indirect Weed Control

Taking some time to plan your garden or yard to prevent weed growth is another effective weed control tool. These strategies include:

  • Placing plants close to each other shades the ground and prevents weeds from growing.
  • Use drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to the roots of your crops, instead of sprinklers.
  • Skip tillage. According to Reich, this can help you “avoid potential soil compaction problems by setting up your garden in permanent beds that you will never step on, roll a wheelbarrow, or drive a car. Just put compost or fertilizer directly on the ground. “

This article was originally published in 2012 and updated on August 9, 2020 by Elizabeth Yuko. Updates include the following: validated links for accuracy, changed the title, updated formatting to reflect the current style, changed the function image, and fixed / rewritten large parts of the article to ensure accuracy.


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