Basic Garden Tips: All About Weeds

weeding at 111Lets talk about weeds!

What’s wrong with weeds?

Bad for your other plants. It is especially important to manage weed growth in small spaces like schoolyard gardens and plots where soil and nutrients are limited.  Unfortunately, weeds left to grow wild will eventually kill some plants and stress others.

Too messy. Weeds make your school garden look messy and unattended. Weeding can send a message about how others should interact with the space.

So what goes into weeding?

Make sure it is a weed! If you are unsure, look around. If you see the same plant all over the garden, it is most likely a weed.

Teacher tip: One fun student activity can be to photograph and/or draw the most common weeds after your first round of weeding. Laminate and post your site-specific weeding guide on the playground fence so community members can also help out!

See an example of playground weeding guide here: MS 354 Weeding Guide

Use a trowel to take out the entire root system. Weeds grow back quickly if any part of their roots is left in the ground.

Weed after the rain. If soil is very dry and compacted, weed removal is harder. Try to weed after a rain, or give the garden or tree pit a good soak. Weeds will pull out of wet soil more easily.

Check before you dig & wear gloves! Sometimes weeds can be unexpectedly prickly, or even poisonous. Sometimes trash can be hidden by over growth. Broken items like glass can be especially hazardous. Be sure to wear protective gloves!

Weed Early. Weed your site throughout the summer/early fall before the weeds dry out and the seeds disperse.

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