Home & Garden

Weeds on the warpath? Get to the root of the invasion

Q: I have weeds coming up everywhere in my yard. What’s the best way to handle these yearly pests? — Lee Olson, Los Osos

A: Pesky weeds rear their little sprouts all year in the garden, but they go into overdrive during the rainy early spring, peeking through pavement cracks, nudging aside perennials and smothering baby flower and vegetable seedlings. Ridding one’s yard of weeds can seem an overwhelming chore, particularly this year when some weeds have reached impressive size. What to do?

It’s time to dig in with spade, hoe, trowel and gloved hand and a good plan in mind. Remove the largest weeds by the roots before they have the opportunity to scatter their seeded progeny to the winds. Mowing may also be effective depending on your garden design. Leave the trimmings in place and cover the area with two to three inches of mulch to control the summer annual weeds that are just emerging. You’ll find you have good weed control. Weeds that do emerge will be easier to remove by hand, and you’ll conserve precious water.

If weeds are pulled before they go to flower or seed, many can provide a base for next season’s compost pile, making them a little more acceptable. The combination of mulching, frequent hand-weeding and careful irrigation serves to make next season’s weed influx less daunting.

For additional information on specific weeds and the best way to eradicate or prevent them, see www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7441.html or contact University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers who provide additional