I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a bumper crop of weeds this year. My weed control efforts now consist primarily of pulling those intruders out and keeping my good plants heavily mulched.
When I first moved to my home, though, I inherited large areas of bishop’s weed (Aegopodium podagraria). Yes, I know they sell it in garden centers and that it can be useful in controlled settings but in my back yard, it was a weed.
So I tried spraying the heck out of it with glyphosate (AKA Roundup) but couldn’t get rid of it. Then I read about weed suffocation in a magazine and decided to give it a shot. The next fall, I mowed the plants down as low as I could, removed the cuttings and covered the area with 6 layers of newspaper. Then I placed bricks all along the outer edges of the newspapered area to keep sunlight from sneaking in. (If you wanted, you could cover the edges with soil instead.) Finally, I covered the newspapers with a one-inch layer of topsoil and, over the winter, threw vegetable scraps and other compostable items on the topsoil. By spring, the earth worms and other elements had done their jobs so I had a nice fertile planting bed free of bishop’s weed.
If you want to control large areas of weeds this summer, you might consider solarization, which works well in hot weather. In a nutshell, solarizing means watering the weeds thoroughly, covering them with clear plastic and letting the sun steam them to death. Be sure to remove as many seed heads as possible before doing this. You can find more details about solarization in Colorado State University Extension’s Fact Sheet 0.505, Soil Solarization, at www.ext.colostate.edu.
Besides being effective in many situations, pulling, mulching, suffocation and solarization stand among the most environmentally responsible ways to control weeds.