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With spring come the weeds

Spring is the time when we rejoice, when we yearn for the long days of sun, and the abundance of fruits of our labor in the garden. So do weeds.

The definition of a weed is any plant that grows where it’s not supposed to. It doesn’t have to be an undesirable plant. It can be a plant that’s in the right place that naturalizes itself all over.

That’s what happens to plants such as butterfly bush and my favorite scotch broom. (Just joking about the scotch broom.) Weeds can also signal what’s going on in your yard. Do you have a lot of buttercup or horsetail?

That tells me you have a wet garden and need to correct some drainage issues. Do you have a lot of dandelions? That tells me you have a rocky or compacted soil. Adding compost and creating berms will help out.

As a natural gardener, I like to use every means possible without the use of chemicals. In my business I use the IPM method. IPM is integrated pest management.

It is a lot of pulling weeds, using my propane torch and other non-toxic means. Please use safety when torching. Many people like to buy landscape fabric to lay on the surface of the soil before they mulch to prevent weeds. I don’t like the fabric because if you’re not on top of the weeds the roots of the weed will go through the fabric and when you pull you pull the fabric up.

Instead of that, use newspaper and, in some places, cardboard. I like to use leaves in fall to mulch with. Some leaves you have to run a mower over to break it up a bit before using in the garden.

On a lot of my clients' yards, I create a compost pile and use the finished product in the garden. If we all made our own compost we would prevent a lot of it from going to the dump and you will save money fertilizing your plants.

You can try to put some corn gluten on your flower beds as a pre-emergent. But I would hold off on that method if you sow seeds.

That goes for your lawns, too. In all the years I have been gardening, I can tell you that chemicals never work for the long term. I had a customer put a weed and feed down one year and in the next year what came back with a vengeance? Weeds!

We have to work with nature and never against it if we want a healthy and weed-free garden. It takes a few different practices and will work out for all of us in the end.

Happy gardening,

Gardener Joe

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