The ample Central Iowa rainfall this summer has brought a green grass, high humidity and a bumper crop of weeds our gardens. What is a gardener to do? There are a few basic steps that can keep your garden weeds in check, and Garden’s Grace’s garden maintenance professionals have their favorite tools for getting the job done!
Glenna Walker, Garden’s Grace Residential Crew Leader, loves her linoleum knife when it comes to finessing fibrous roots from the soil. She keeps it sharp, and her technique demonstrates Rule #1 in Weeding–get the root! Slicing roots only multiplies roots and often shoots and you may be out digging the very same weeds in a matter of days! Another favored tool of the Garden’s Grace Residential Crew is the Cape Cod weeder–a short-handled hand tool with a hooked piece of
metal at the end. It’s narrow point is perfect for uprooting small seedlings that are growing among your treasured plants. It also good for “scrabbling” the soil–roughing up a larger area of soil–when weed seedlings of a inch size or smaller are so dense that picking individual weeds is impractical. Rule #2–when the roots are too small to individually dislodge, a broad stroke with maximum disturbance is best. The Cape Cod weeder is also great for picking out weed roots while keeping the mulch undisturbed. Finally, our Commercial Crew’s favor a weeding adze or pick for the large areas of tough, clay soil they maintain as part of commercial sites like businesses and homeowner associations. The heavy soils, especially in western suburbs of Des Moines, make weeding a considerable chore, and the heavy forged metal heads are up to the task of going deep and bringing the root up completely.
There are two other tools that Garden’s Grace recommends for keeping weeds at bay, even with lots of rain fall and weed seeds. One, consider using a product that will discourage seed germination. Preen is one popular choice, or if you prefer and organic approach, any number of companies sell products using corn gluten meal, a byproduct of the corn milling process which both deters rooting and has a bit of fertilizer value. (Did you know corn gluten’s weed inhibiting properties were discovered at Iowa State University?)
Finally, get a good mulch on your gardens–wood or compost if possible–because excluding weeds and their seeds from sunlight will keep them from rearing their ugly heads!
If the weeds get too far ahead of you, you can always give Garden’s Grace a call and our hardworking crews can help you get back your garden! Call us today at 515-559-3049 or send us a note at our Contact Us page!