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How to weed less

There are days I enjoy weeding the garden because it’s a great stress reliever, but they’ll cause me more stress if I let them get away from me. Fortunately, there are ways to get the upper hand on these pesky plants without spending all day pulling them out.

Karma Larsen is a communications associate with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. She says weeds will take advantage of any bare spots and fill them up quickly. Don’t offer the opportunity.

"One thing that we’re really recommending and all of us are doing in our own yards is just spacing plants a lot closer together, using a lot more ground cover-type plants. Even plants that aren’t necessarily ground covers but if they fill the soil and out-compete weeds, that just really helps," says Larsen. "Mulch is good, I would say filling in with plants you want is even better." 

 Spending 15-minutes out there every day can save you from the drudgery of weeding marathons. Take a morning or evening walk around your garden and notice the pleasant things – new buds, flowers that are blooming, veggies ready to pick. And then look down.

"Take a dandelion digger with you and while you’re admiring that, just lean over and pull out whatever’s in the way. So, it just makes it a lot more enjoyable if you’re just naturally paying attention to what’s going on and beautiful right then. Just go ahead and weed at the same time," she says. "And you don’t have to spend a lot of effort, that can be done someday when you have an hour or two."

Pull weeds when the soil is moist to get as much of the roots as possible. This is especially true if you have clay soil that’s like cement on a hot, summer day.

If they’ve taken over to the point of total frustration, solarize the area with clear plastic in hot weather. You can also smother the weeds with cardboard or newspapers and a layer of leaves or grass clippings.

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