For most people the idea of effective weed control means hours of back-breaking labour ripping them out by hand.
Like many things in life, prevention is better than cure and we’ll take a quick look now at some natural, cost-effective ways you can reduce the likelihood of weeds growing in your garden.
How healthy soil stops weeds growing
Believe it or not, the number one weapon you have against weeds naturally is healthy soil, which in real terms means fertile soil that supports a rich diversity of life, including microorganisms (also known as microbes), earthworms, and other soil-dwelling species.
Soil in such condition can contribute to weed prevention in the following ways:
- Plant nutrition – Healthy soil provides plenty of nutrients and moisture for plants to thrive and occupy the available garden space, which makes it harder for weeds to find the space and resources they need to flourish.
- Microorganism competition – Healthy soil contains an abundance of microbes such as bacteria, fungi and algae that not only play a vital part in supplying plants with nutrients, but also compete with weeds for vital resources themselves.
- Plant allelopathy – Some plants naturally produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants, a phenomenon known as allelopathy. Healthy soil can foster plants with allelopathic properties, reducing weed competition.
How to get healthy soil for weed prevention
Now you know the role healthy soil can play if weed prevention, here are a few tips to get your soil as healthy and weed-resistant as possible:
- Encourage microbial growth – Adding compost and mulch are well-known practices that introduce a wider variety of nutrients that can benefit both soil flora and fauna. There are also specialised products, such as our organic garden probiotics, that can give your garden a digestive boost and help the proliferation of beneficial microbes.
- Use a variety of plants – A diversity of plants not only helps your garden look amazing, but it also introduces different nutrients that can attract different microbes and help build a stronger, more vibrant ecosystem.
- Be mindful of soil structure – Avoid disturbing or compacting soil too much, and be wary of any plastic or fabric landscaping materials as these can reduce the vital movement of air, water, roots, and microbes within the soil.
More natural weed prevention tips
While healthy soil is your best natural defence against weeds, there are several other things you can do to reduce the likelihood of these pests damaging your garden. Steps such as planting groundcover to avoid open patches of soil, checking new plants for the presence of weeds before planting, and implementing smart, selective watering techniques to deny weeds vital moisture are all effective.
You can find more information on healthy soil and microbes in our previous posts – “Your Guide to Understanding Soil Bacteria” and “Why Plants Need Nutritious Soil”. Or, if you’d like to get some more personal advice on this topic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Bioweed.