The act of hand-weeding is often considered a dreaded chore, but gardeners take heart! With just a few modifications and – perhaps – a slightly different mindset, you can make this chore less daunting and even enjoyable.
- Don’t let your weeds get out of hand. In Florida, weeds appear during each season. The best practice is to weed a little, but regularly. In this way, you will control your weeds, and avoid the opposite!
- When weeding, try to disturb your garden soil as little as possible; the more the soil is disturbed, the more attractive the surface will be to incoming weed seeds.
- Is your garden a pollinator garden? Look before you pull! New seedlings of native pollinating plants appear especially in the spring and early summer. Learn to identify your desired pollinator seedlings to save for your garden or share with others.
- When weeding, keep moving! Leaning forward in the same position for a period of time can cause muscle strain. Every 15 minutes or as needed, stand up and attend to another garden chore, or just walk around to relax your muscles or perhaps take a water break!
- Be an “early bird”! In our hot summer months, you’ll be glad you did!
- Consider using a garden weeding tool (pictured) if you are prone to injury or have trouble getting low to the ground.
- Remove the entire weed root, not just the top of the plant. Many weeds will grow back from roots that remain below the surface.
3 ways to remove roots
1. Grasp the center part of the weed as close to the ground as possible and pull straight up; not at an angle.
2. For small weeds, try this: use a simple dinner fork instead of a claw-type hand weeder. This may be a bit different, but the closely spaced tines of the fork seem to work well in our local sandy soils. (Place the fork through the weed, put your thumb on top of the fork and pull straight up.)
3. For larger weeds, you can use a regular claw-type hand weeder. You can also use a stout steak knife, inserting it straight down next to the root. Often, the plant then can be pulled straight up. If needed, a small shovel can come to the rescue.
Rather than consider hand-weeding a chore, think of it as an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with your garden setting. In tending your garden, you can be truly present in the moment, observing how your plants are growing, listening to relaxing garden sounds, and watching for busy bees and butterflies. Happy Gardening and Happy Weeding!
Weed ID by Color Website (functions like an app)
For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk. The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Give us a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic.
The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida. The program extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.
This article was written by Master Gardener Volunteer Molly Griner under supervision of the Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator and Residential Horticulture Extension Agent Anne Yasalonis.
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