Controlling Weeds Without Chemicals

One of the persistent enemies of a beautiful garden is the weed. After spending copious amounts of time, effort and money on your garden, you will still likely deal with the emergence of weeds. Competing with your plants for water, sunlight, and soil nutrients, and often an eyesore, it’s no wonder that gardeners and property owners are keen to get rid of them.

Whilst many turn to the weed killer and other strong chemicals to deal with weeds, using these products can have adverse effects on your garden, health, pets and the environment. So, how can you prevent weeds from taking over your garden without using harsh chemicals? The experts at Jim’s Mowing break down the basics of controlling weeds without the use of chemicals.

Weeding in the Garden

How can you control weeds without chemicals?

Weed killers and other chemical products do get the job done, however they are also effective in killing or damaging surrounding plants. The chemicals are also highly problematic if ingested by native wildlife, pets or humans, whether directly or through edible plants. If mixed with the water supply, weed killer can be highly toxic and cause environmental damage. Fortunately, there are some ways to control weeds without chemicals.


The easiest way to control weeds is to prevent them from growing in the first place. Some prevention methods include using organic mulch on your plants which smothers weeds and helps to retain moisture, placing plants close together so weeds have no space to grow, and inspecting new plants and soil for any unwanted seeds or sprouts.

Remove by hand

Removing weeds by hand is easy, relatively effective and sometimes a satisfying and cathartic experience. To remove by hand, ensure that you pull with force at the bottom of the stem and pull the roots out of the ground. It’s best to use gloves when removing weeds, and you can dispose of them by throwing them in your garbage bin or compost. Removing by hand isn’t the most efficient method so it’s best suited for a small amount of weeds. You can also use a hand weeder particularly when dealing with small garden areas. Hand weeders are like miniature hoes and they make quick work of weeds.

Use a gardening hoe

You can use a hula hoe to scrape the weeds out of the ground before they flower and drop seeds. A hula hoe is also called a stirrup hoe, oscillating hoe or scuffle hoe. It is by far the most efficient tool for the job, with its blade cutting through the weed roots without displacing or harming the soil. Just make sure you use it when the soil is dry. Do not hoe your garden when the soil is wet because doing so will change the structure of the soil and will cause large clumps and cracks to form.

Apply boiling water

Boiling water is a simple and straightforward method of killing weeds. Simply heat your water and once it is boiling, pour it directly onto the offending weeds. Be careful to not pour any hot water onto surrounding plants or yourself when using this method.

Use household vinegar

Although still a chemical, vinegar is a natural herbicide which can effectively kill weeds without the risks of weed killer. Simply apply vinegar directly to the weeds and wait a day or so for them to die. Avoid applying any vinegar onto surrounding plants and soil, and do not apply before rainfall.

Use special weeding tools

When there are deep-rooted weeds, you must use special weeders. These forked tools reach deep into the soil below the long roots and lift out the weed completely. Depending on the kind of weeds you need to remove, it is crucial to ensure that not one piece of the root is left in the soil.

Implement a special mulching technique

Mulching can do more than prevent weeds and retain moisture, it can also kill existing weeds. By applying mulch to your plants, weeds will not have a chance to seed and grow if the ground is covered with mulch. You may even plant a “living mulch” of low-growing creepers. This includes thyme, chamomile, isotoma, and other spreading plants that effectively discourage weeds.

When dealing with a large garden area, the best technique is to let the weeds grow for one week then starve them to death through a special mulching technique. Follow these steps:

  • Moisten the soil
  • Cover the soil and weeds with thick sheets of newspaper — thick enough to keep the sunlight away but also allow air to reach the soil
  • Lay any kind of organic mulch, at least 100mm thick, on top of the newspaper
  • Leave untouched for 3 to 6 months to make sure no seeds will survive and take on a new life.

To get the best experience in garden mulching and fertilising, contact the experts at Jim’s mowing to take care of you garden landscaping needs.

Call in the experts

If you’ve tried all the above methods to remove weeds in your garden and are still unable to prevent weeds from thriving in your garden, it may be time to call in the experts. Jim’s Mowing offers comprehensive gardening services and advice to ensure that your garden is healthy and growing. We will be able to help address your weeds issues and treat them accordingly. Get in touch with us to receive a free quote today!

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