Here’s how to keep weeds out of garden, mulch over weeds, use landscaping fabric, and 6 prevention mistakes to avoid for better garden weed control. Seed, Feed and Weed to Succeed In my earlier article I used the sports management analogy to make the case for actively managing the skills, skill levels and composition of your team. In this What is Weed and Seed and what does it mean to your …
How to Prevent Weeds From Growing
Tips on how to keep weeds out of the garden, add the right amount of mulch over weeds, and 6 mistakes to avoid to keep your garden weed-free.
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Think it’s an overstatement to call it the war against weeds? Here’s what you’re up against.
A single redroot pigweed is able to produce up to 30,000 seeds in a season. And those seeds can remain alive in the soil for 70 years waiting to sprout and overrun your perennial border at any time.
Controlling weeds is a fight you can’t win entirely because they always grow back. But you can keep weeds under control by depriving new ones of the conditions they need to take root in the first place. Let’s look at how to prevent weeds from growing.
(For those of you who already have weeds attacking your yard, read our article on How to Get Rid of Weeds.)
As with most types of prevention, discouraging weed seeds from sprouting requires some extra time now so you can save a lot of time later.
Spread Landscape fabric and cut it to fit around plants. Photo by Saxon Holt
Fertilize Enough, but Not Too Much
Too little fertilizer can lead to sparse lawn that loses the competition with weeds. Too much helps nurture certain weeds, notably annual bluegrass, Bermuda grass and crabgrass. Strike a balance by following the application rates on the package. And use a fertilizer with a high percentage of controlled-release nitrogen, such as sulfur-coated urea, ureaform or IBDU. These provide a slow, steady nutrient supply.
The frequency and timing of your fertilizing efforts are also crucial to healthy lawns. Both vary depending on your lawn type and the length of your growing season. Most northern lawns need only one or two applications of fertilizer annually—once in fall and sometimes a second time in spring. Southern grasses might require three feedings—early to mid-spring just after the grass greens up, early summer and again in early fall.
Water Grass Infrequently and Deeply
Frequent, light watering causes shallow roots and helps annual bluegrass, crabgrass, chickweed, sedges and other weed seeds germinate. If you water too little, the lawn suffers while spotted spurge, Bermuda grass, quackgrass and other weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. Instead, provide your lawn with infrequent, deep soakings. Lawns need about 1 inch of water per week. Set an empty tuna can on the lawn to determine when you have applied 1 inch of water.
Can I Put Landscape Fabric Over Weeds?
Yes, you can. Synthetic landscape fabrics provide a physical barrier to weeds yet allow air, water and nutrients through to plant roots. Spread the fabric over bare soil around trees and shrubs; overlap several inches of fabric at the seams. Anchor the material with U-shaped metal pins, then conceal it with 1 to 2 in. of mulch, such as stone or bark chips.
You can also use landscape fabrics to control weeds under decks and in pathways (spread over the excavated soil base before you add gravel or sand). A 3×50-ft. roll of landscape fabric, such as the Typar shown below, costs about $10. The fabric is also available in 36-in. die-cut circles (about $3 each) for installing at the base of trees.
Photo by Saxon Holt
Smother Weeds with Mulch
Left unattended, weeds will quickly fill in unplanted areas and any open ground around plants. Mulch spread over the soil surface blocks the sunlight most annual weeds need to take hold. Weeds that do sprout are easy to pull because soil beneath mulch remains loose and moist. Coarse chipped or shredded bark is a good choice for large areas between trees and shrubs because it decomposes slowly and doesn’t easily blow away. For paths, a thick layer of sawdust provides good weed suppression because it depletes nitrogen in the soil.
How to Mulch Over Weeds
- After clearing a landscaped area of visible weeds, put down coarse-textured mulch up to 4 in. deep.
- Apply a fine-textured mulch that packs tightly, such as shredded leaves, to a depth no greater than 2 to 3 in.
- Keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunks and stems of plants to prevent disease problems.
Apply Preemergence Herbicides
Preemergence herbicides, such as those containing oryzalin or trifluralin (look on the label for these chemicals), or nontoxic corn gluten meal, kill weeds just as they germinate and will not eradicate established weeds. For a preemergence herbicide to be effective, you must apply it to soil cleared of visible weeds; also, you have to water most of these herbicides into the soil.
Check the label to determine if it is safe for use around the kinds of landscape plants you have and effective against the weeds normally present.
Deprive Weeds of Water
Weeds can’t survive without moisture. In areas with little or no summer rain, drip irrigation or soaker hoses help prevent weed seeds from sprouting by depriving them of water. These systems deliver water to the root zone of plants at the soil level. The soil surface and area surrounding the plants stays relatively dry. In contrast, overhead sprinkler systems spray water over the entire soil surface and supply both garden plants and weeds with water.
You can get in-depth information on drip irrigation from the Irrigation and Green Industry Network in the “Where to Find It” section.
Mowing too low weakens turf by reducing the ability of a grass leaf to produce enough nutrients. It also lets light hit the soil surface, which helps crabgrass and goosegrass seeds sprout and grow. Check with your local extension service for the recommended range of mowing heights for your grass type. Then mow at the highest level—usually between 2 and 4 inches.
Any weeds that grow through mulch are easy to pull because the soil remains loose. Photo by Saxon Holt
6 Weeding Mistakes
In the process of trying to eliminate weeds, people often make mistakes that lead to more weeds. Here are the most common:
- Leaving weeds that are in flower on the ground. Even after they are pulled, weeds like chickweed and purslane can continue to develop seeds.
- Piling too much mulch over landscape fabric. As the mulch breaks down, it provides a perfect medium for weed growth from wind-borne seeds. You can actually have weeds rooted to the fabric. Limit mulch depth to 1 or 2 in. over landscape fabric.
- Applying mulch containing weed seeds. Sometimes mulches such as straw and wood chips contain weed seeds. To avoid this problem, buy from a reputable nursery that offers mulch free of weed seeds.
- Tossing weeds with seeds into the compost pile. A good compost pile can get hot enough (160°F) to kill weed seeds. But there are often cool spots where the seeds can survive. Those that do will be spread in your garden with the compost.
- Breaking apart the roots of perennial weeds as you try and dig them out. Each piece can grow into a new plant.
- Planting weeds along with your new shrubs and trees. Just a few nutsedge or Bermuda grass plants growing in a nursery container can spread and multiply in your garden. Make sure to remove them before planting.
This Preemergence herbicide, made from corn gluten, is nontoxic. You can safely use it near all of your vegetables as well as around ornamental plants. Photo by Saxon Holt
Where to Find It
Lee Valley Tools Ltd.
Ogdensburg, NY 13669-6780
Telescoping Crack Weeder
True Temper Hardware
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Drip irrigation information and supplies:
Irrigation & Green Industry Network
916C N. Formosa Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
2250 Agate Ct.
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Request the free “Drip Watering Made Easy” guide.
Denman & Co.
401 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866
Cherry Valley, IL 61016
Seed, Feed and Weed to Succeed
In my earlier article I used the sports management analogy to make the case for actively managing the skills, skill levels and composition of your team. In this note I’ll discuss the topic of how to manage those activities. For this, we’ll leave sports and use a gardening analogy.
Even a novice gardener would not expect to rake some soil, throw some seeds, pray for rain and wait for a beautiful garden. Your team is no different; you must undertake the same activities in managing your team as you would in creating a successful garden.
Selecting the right flowers for our garden means paying attention not only to how they look, but how they will interact with the other flowers in our garden; will they steal too many nutrients or will the soil properly support their needs?
Managers in hyper-growth companies spend a lot of time interviewing and selecting candidates but usually not very much time on a per candidate basis and even less time pondering where they’ve gone wrong in hiring in the past. Finding the right individual for your job means paying attention to your past failures in hiring and correcting them. We might interview for skills, but overlook critical items like cultural or team fit. Why have you had to remove people? Why have people decided to leave?
Candidate selection also means paying attention to the needs of the organization from a productivity and quality perspective. Do you really need another engineer or product manager, or do your pipeline inefficiencies indicate additional process definition needs, tools engineers or quality assurance personnel?
One final point here is that far too often we try to make hiring decisions after we’ve spent 30 minutes to an hour with a candidate. We encourage you to spend as much time as possible with the candidate and try to make a good hire the first time. Seek help in interviewing or add people whom you trust and whom have great interviewing skills to your interview team to increase your chances of a good hire the first time. Call previous managers and peers and be mindful to ask and prod for weaknesses of individuals in your background checks.
Feeding your garden means spending time growing your team. Of all the practices in tending to your team, this is the one that is most often overlooked for lack of time.
The intent of feeding is to help grow the members of your team who are producing to the expectations of your shareholders. Feeding consists of coaching, praising, correcting technique or approach, adjusting compensation and equity and anything else that creates a stronger and more productive employee.
Feeding your garden also means taking individuals who might not be performing well in one position and putting them into positions where they can perform well. However, if you find yourself moving an employee more than once it is likely that you are avoiding the appropriate action of weeding.
Also, feeding your garden means raising the bar on the team overall and helping them achieve greater levels of success. Great teams enjoy great but achievable challenges and it’s your job as a manager and executive to challenge them to be the best they can be.
While you should invest as much as possible in seeding and feeding, we all know that underperforming and nonperforming individuals choke team productivity just as surely as weeds steal vital nutrients from the producers within your garden. The nutrients that are being stolen in this case are the time that you spend attempting to coach underperforming individuals to an acceptable performance level and the time your team spends compensating for an underperforming individual’s poor results.
Weeding our gardens is often the most painful activity for most managers and executives and as a result it is often the one to which we tend last.
While you must abide by your company’s practices regarding the removal of people who are not performing (these practices vary not only by country but very often by state), it is vital that you find ways to quickly remove personnel who are keeping you and the rest of your team from achieving your objectives. The sooner you remove them, the sooner you can find an appropriate replacement and get your team where it needs to be.
What is Weed and Seed and what does it mean to your .
What is Weed and Seed and what does it mean to your .
What is Weed and Seed and what does it mean to your .
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What is Weed and Seed andwhat does it mean to your neighborhood?Weed and Seed, a community-based strategy sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), isan innovative, comprehensive multi agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, andcommunity revitalization. The Community Capacity Development Office oversees the Weed andSeed initiative.Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy—rather than a grant program—that aims to prevent, control,and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in the Upper Albany Clay Arsenalneighborhoods.The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutorscooperate in “weeding out” violent criminals and drug abusers and public agencies and communitybasedprivate organizations collaborate to “seed” much-needed human services, includingprevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs.A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements. Youth- andadult-oriented services are delivered. Through coordinated efforts, Weed and Seed joins varioustask forces of Law Enforcement Agencies from all levels of government who aim to reduce bothcrime and fear of crime, which gives back hope to residents living in distressed neighborhoods andsets the stage for community revitalization. Community Policing embraces two key concepts—community engagement and problem solving. Community policing strategies foster a sense ofresponsibility within the community for solving crime problems and help develop cooperativerelationships between the police and residents.About Weed and SeedCatchment AreaStrategic GoalsSteering CommitteeThe Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment component concentrates an array of human servicesin the UA/CA neighborhood and links law enforcement, social services agencies, the private sector,and the community to improve the overall quality of services to residents. The UA/CA Weed andSeed site has established Safe Havens, a multiservice center often housed in a school or communitycenter, where d use of federal, state, local, and private-sector resources, NeighborhoodRestoration strategies focus on economic development, employment opportunities for residents,and improvements to the housing stock and physical environment of the neighborhood. The“Weeding” component weeds out Crime, while the “Seeding component, seeds the communitywith social services and resource.Improve the quality of life in your community by joining “Weed & Seed”. Contact Officer KevinO’Brien, Weed and Seed Coordinator, at 860-757-4014 for more information.Do you want to see a CHANGE?Attend the Weed and Seed Steering Committee meeting held the third Wednesday of every monthbeginning at 5 p.m. at The Artists Collective, 1200 Albany Avenue, Hartford
- Page 2 and 3: About Weed and SeedThe Upper Albany
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