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One of the quickest and easiest ways to manage many types of weeds is to simply pull them out by hand. When you find undesirables growing in your lawn, removing them like this is usually pretty straightforward. But did you know there are some weeds you shouldn’t pull out by hand?
Some weeds actually become more likely to spread when you pull them out by hand. Pulling weeds that grow from bulbs or nuts in the soil can continue to spread and multiply out of sight, so that by the time they emerge again, they’ve covered a lot more ground. What you see above ground is always only part of the story, so make sure you consider this before going straight in for the pull!
Here’s what you need to know about weeds that don’t respond well to pulling.
One of the most difficult weeds to eliminate, onion weed is a menace in lawns and garden beds around Australia. It is relatively simple to identify onion weed. This is because onion weeds have thin green strappy leaves and small white flowers growing from a white bulb with an onion smell when crushed. The onion weed plant produces small bulblets that tend to pull away from the mother plant when pulled, which means simply pulling them out will leave behind rapidly growing bulblets.
Eradicating onion weed starts with removing as many plants as possible. Do not try to pull the plant out of the ground or shake excess dirt back off into the hole or compost, as you will likely leave bulblets behind. Instead, dig the weed clump out of the ground with a spade or a trowel and throw the entire clump away. To kill onion weed and completely eradicate it, the next step is to treat the area with a non-selective herbicide or, as a natural option, you could apply boiling water.
If you have an extensive problem, a selective herbicide is available that treats onion weed and onion grass. However, this herbicide is relatively expensive and can only be applied by a licensed, professional lawn contractor. Selective herbicides can be used on Buffalo, Kikuyu, Couch and Zoysia, but not on Ryegrass or Queensland Blue Couch.
Nutgrass is part of the highly invasive sedge weed family, which also includes Mullumbimby couch. This weed is usually lighter green and taller than the rest of your lawn, with three blades shooting up from a triangular stem. Nutgrass gets its name from the nut-like tubers found on the roots (rhizomes) of the plant. Simply pulling the nutgrass out by hand will leave these nut-like tubers in the garden soil, allowing them to continue to spread.
If you find nutgrass in your lawn, act quickly! If you give it time to spread, it can become almost impossible to remove. If there is only a small amount, you can dig it out with a small spade, but be careful to ensure roots or bulbs are left in the soil. Nutgrass will reliably reappear if you leave behind even a trace. If there is a large amount of nutgrass in your lawn, you will need to treat it with a selective herbicide.
Winter Grass or Poa, which has gone to seed
Wintergrass or Poa can be a tricky weed to eradicate. Usually, it can be sprayed with a post-emergent weed control such as Wintergrass Killer or hand-weeded out of your lawn.
However, if your winter grass has gone to seed, it is important not to hand weed out the plant, as this will spread the seeds. Only spray this weed out with Wintergrass killer and allow the plant to die back without removal.
How can I keep a weed-free garden?
To keep a weed-free garden, it's crucial to implement proactive measures and consistent maintenance. Follow these steps to endure grassy weeds or dormant weed seeds don’t become a menace in your garden.
- Begin by ensuring your soil is free of weeds before planting, removing any existing ones manually or with a garden tiller.
- Apply a layer of mulch between rows and around plants to suppress weed growth. Plant densely to create a canopy that shades the soil and hinders weed germination.
- Regularly inspect your garden and promptly hand-pull any emerging weeds, ensuring you remove the entire root system.
- Employ targeted watering techniques to water plants while limiting moisture availability for weed seeds.
- Practice good garden hygiene by removing dead plants and debris. Stay proactive by frequently weeding, mainly when weeds are small and easier to remove.
- Consider using weed barriers or landscape fabric in persistent weed-prone areas.
- Do not pull weeds. To keep a healthy lawn, use proper weeding tools to help new plants flourish.
- Use herbicides sparingly and cautiously as a last resort. By combining these strategies and maintaining a diligent approach, you can enjoy a beautiful garden.