Keeping a lush landscape means having healthy soil for growth. But that soil can also encourage weed formation.
So, what kills weeds permanently? To kill large patches of weeds permanently, you can do manual labor, utilize common household and gardening tools, or even use chemicals.
Battling a weed crisis could be done on a regular basis. So, the first week or two could be tolerable.
But constant weeding—that’s annoying. And honestly, that could be tiresome.
Who wants to spend more time removing weeds than planting beautiful flowers instead?
Fortunately, there are short-term and long-term solutions that homeowners and landscapers alike can do to solve this problem.
The use of chemical products is a fast, yet guaranteed solution. However, some gardeners would prefer a more environmentally friendly way such as manual labor or the use of gardening tools.
Either way, the choice is yours. We’ve compiled the most effective ways to remove weeds from large areas.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why do weeds keep coming back?
- 2 14 Ways to Kill Weeds Permanently
- 2.1 1: Pull Weeds by Hand
- 2.2 2: Apply Heat to Compost Weeds
- 2.3 3: Off with their Heads!
- 2.4 4: Use Salt To Kill Weeds
- 2.5 5: Using Irrigation to Manage Weeds
- 2.6 6: Maximize Gardening Tools
- 2.7 7: Let Sleeping Weeds Lie
- 2.8 8: Homemade Vinegar Weed Killer
- 2.9 9: Buy a Weed Barrier
- 2.10 10: Weed Control With Mulching
- 2.11 11: Mind the Gaps Between Plants
- 2.12 12: Get a Weeding Product
- 2.13 13: Use Sodium chlorate as a weed killer
- 2.14 14: Don’t Forget to Fertilize
- 3 When is the Best Time to Remove Weeds?
- 4 How to Prevent Weeds from Appearing Again?
- 5 Important Reminders When Weeding a Large Yard
- 6 Enjoy A Massive Weed-Free Garden
- 7 FAQ
- 8 References
Why do weeds keep coming back?
Weeds grow in places that provide the best conditions for them to germinate:
- hard, compacted soil
- bright, sunny yards
- wet, loose soil
- big, shady lawns
When weeds overtake your massive garden, they will compete with plants for air, water, and nutrients.
Furthermore, most weeds are invasive and aggressive. If left abandoned, they’ll crowd out your living plants.
Did you know that you must toss weeds in a compost pile because seeds can still sprout?
Some people think that weeds left on top of the soil will wither. In fact, hose runoff or unexpected rain can wash dirt over the weeds, which is a way for weeds to return.
The most common reason why weeds return is that they were not totally removed. This means part of the roots remained in the soil. Thus, leftover roots will allow the weeds to grow again.
When you have a big area, it’s possible that some parts are non-landscaped or surrounded by woods. Those parts may have weed seeds.
Lastly, weeds might reappear because your lawn is not dense enough. As a result, there are spaces for weeds to grow and spread.
These situations make you think—what can we do to kill weeds, especially if you have a large lawn? Can we prevent weeds in my lawn from returning once removed?
Don’t worry, we have different methods of killing weeds and preventing them from appearing again.
14 Ways to Kill Weeds Permanently
Now that you’ve understood how weeds survive, it’s time to develop a strategy on how you can end them. Weeds are warriors and survivors, so don’t get discouraged in trying to remove them.
You can pick one of our recommended methods or even combine some of them for killing large patches of weeds. In the end, you’ll get your desired results – no weeds in your large lawn.
1: Pull Weeds by Hand
The most traditional and effective way to get rid of large patches of weeds without chemicals is to pull the weeds out by hand.
However, this is one of the toughest ways because you have to remove the whole plant with its roots.
If weeds have shallow roots, hold the weed by its stem and pull gently.
Meanwhile, if there are deeper roots, it’s advisable to use a small hoe to dig in the soil around the stem to loosen the soil. Afterward, you can firmly grasp the stem and pull.
2: Apply Heat to Compost Weeds
You can use a weed flamer to kill weeds in various stages of growth. Hold the weed flamer above or alongside the weeds. Use the heat to burn the stem and leaves.
If you don’t have a weed flamer, you can pour boiling water directly onto the weeds.
Afterward, scatter cornmeal in the large area where weeds are evident.
Anecdotally, cornmeal has natural gluten, which acts as a pre-emergent that can help prevent weeds from germinating. I know my neighbors use it.
Related post: Killing Weed in a More Natural Way
Researchers, on the other hand, found that cornmeal did not stop weed seeds from growing.
So, you’ll just have to try cornmeal on your lawn yourself.
3: Off with their Heads!
Chopping off the tops of perennial weeds diminishes reseeding. Consequently, cutting their heads off forces weeds to exhaust their supply of root buds.
Likewise, you can use pruning loppers or a string trimmer to cut brambles or prickly thistles.
4: Use Salt To Kill Weeds
Put salt in the large area where weeds are actively spreading. Apply a small amount of salt around the base of growing weeds. Remember not to scatter salt on your vegetation as well.
5: Using Irrigation to Manage Weeds
Here’s another effective trick – deprive weeds of water. Put soaker or drip hoses beneath mulch, so you could irrigate plants while leaving weeds thirsty. In this way, you reduce seed germination by up to 70%.
However, deeply rooted perennial weeds, including nutsedge and bindweed, are like moist areas. Thus, they might benefit from drip irrigation.
6: Maximize Gardening Tools
If pulling weeds by hand is back-breaking and time-consuming for you, then using gardening tools is a great option.
Place the bottom tip of a winged weeder next to the stem and press down vertically to push the blade into the soil. Tilt the tool downwards toward the ground to pull the whole root out.
7: Let Sleeping Weeds Lie
It’s possible that every square inch of your lawn provides housing for seeds of weeds. Yet, only those in the top inch or two of the soil get ample light to cause germination.
Plowing and cultivating bring hidden weed seeds to the surface. It’s recommended to reduce soil disturbance by using a sharp knife to slice through the roots. This severs the weeds’ feed source rather than digging them out.
8: Homemade Vinegar Weed Killer
You think vinegar is only valuable when making salad dressing, cleaning glass, or deodorizing drains.
Surprise, surprise! Vinegar is a powerful household item to combat freshly-sprouted weeds.
First, spray regular white vinegar directly on the weeds.
Secondly, add two tablespoons of vegetables and a tablespoon of dish detergent to help the vinegar stick.
If you’re facing established weeds, then it’s better to use a stronger vinegar solution.
I suggest spraying 20% acetic acid vinegar solutions directly on weeds. Similarly, you can inject the solution into the taproot to obliterate weeds.
Subsequently, you may need to reapply the solution to achieve the best results. Be careful because this method can also kill your garden plants.
9: Buy a Weed Barrier
Weeds will break the surface again if you don’t reapply vinegar. So, if you feel like frequent application of vinegar is time-consuming for you, then you should consider using a weed barrier.
You could place a landscape fabric such as woven cloth or plastic in the soil to prevent the weeds from getting sunlight for growth.
This is highly preferable if you need a long-term solution for your large space.
The weed barrier blocks the sun, but will still allow moisture, air, and nutrients to penetrate the soil.
Moreover, you could put several layers of newspaper to cover bare ground. You can then position mulch on top to hold the barrier in place.
10: Weed Control With Mulching
In relation to the previous method, mulching keeps the soil moist and cool, while also depriving weeds of light.
Compost, wood chips, grass clippings, and tree barks such as cedar wood are examples of natural mulches. Aside from blocking sunlight, organic mulches feed the soil due to decomposition.
Meanwhile, inorganic mulching, such as the use of a weed barrier, is also advisable.
Minimal light can pass through mulches at times, which is why it’s important to replenish the mulch from time to time.
Commonly, gardeners put 2 to 4 inches thick of mulch. In this way, you deprive the soil of oxygen.
In any case, it’s all about covering the surface of the soil with light-blocking materials.
11: Mind the Gaps Between Plants
Block weed-friendly gaps by designing mass plantings. By putting closely spaced plants, you get to close holes where weeds can emerge.
Note that spacing recommendations should still depend on your plants’ maturity size.
If you consider growing your plants closer, be mindful that they shouldn’t suffocate one another when they reach the full stage of growth.
12: Get a Weeding Product
If the vinegar trick doesn’t work for you, then you could always try spraying chemicals directly on each weed. Do this only if you don’t mind a bit of chemical herbicide in your large lawn.
Typically, the weeds should die after a day or two. After they die, you still have to pull them out by hand. In reality, it’s easier to remove live weeds than dead ones.
Note that when it rains or your sprinklers turn on, the water can wash away the chemical. Yet, the residue might still reach other parts of your property.
Chemicals are not environmentally friendly, so use inorganic herbicides only if things are getting out of hand.
13: Use Sodium chlorate as a weed killer
If using chemicals is a no-no for you, there’s always the ever-trusty common table salt.
Like vinegar, sodium chloride is an effective organic herbicide. Generally, salting an area can prevent plants from growing.
For this kind of effect, you must only sprinkle it directly on the leaves of the weeds. Be careful not to soak the soil, especially around your plants and garden beds.
I normally dissolve 1-part salt to 3-part hot water. I then add a small amount of liquid dish soap. You can then transfer the solution into a spray bottle.
Before application, make sure to cover nearby plants for protection. Then, spray the leaves of the weeds with the solution. It may take you multiple applications before the weeds die.
14: Don’t Forget to Fertilize
A fertilized lawn has fewer weeds. A healthy lawn is dense, which leaves little to no space for weeds to grow.
Additionally, it’s advisable to fertilize a big space twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
When is the Best Time to Remove Weeds?
The best time to get rid of pesky weeds is when the soil is damp. A moist, loose soil makes it easier to remove the weeds up to their roots.
If you think the soil is too dry, don’t risk pulling out the weeds because you may leave the roots behind.
In addition, you can hose down your lawn and let it soak overnight. Then, start removing the weeds the following day.
If you have mulched beds, you can use a steak knife to separate weeds from their roots. Don’t forget to fix any open spaces in the mulch.
How to Prevent Weeds from Appearing Again?
The tips I’ve shared are effective ways to make sure weeds won’t grow again. But for added assurance, there’s no harm in using a weed preventer.
I usually use mixed mulch and a weed preventer. One ounce of weed preventer per 10 square feet of your large space should suffice.
If you do not want to mix them, you can sprinkle the granules directly onto the soil. Only do this when the soil is dry.
Some products are able to prevent weeds from germinating for up to six months.
Important Reminders When Weeding a Large Yard
Don’t yank out weeds
Firmly, but gently pull out the weed, so you don’t leave the roots behind. Remember to always grab the weed close to the ground. If you leave the roots, it’s the perfect chance for weeds to return.
General Lawn Care
Don’t forget to mow, water, and fertilize your lawn or yard. Also, don’t forget your lawn needs to be aerated and overseeded so that your lawn can get enough nutrients and oxygen levels to make it a good environment for your lawn to thrive.
Weed when the soil is damp or moist
Weed after watering your lawn or a rainfall. It’d be easier to pull out the weed completely when the soil is loose.
Always keep household or gardening tools
Remove baby weeds the minute you see them. Eliminating them at an early stage will save you time and effort. Based on our tips, you can use a hoe with a triangular blade, sharp knife, trowel, salt, vinegar, or chemical herbicide.
Be conscious of spaces
If there’s a hole or an opening, you can expect weeds to take advantage of those bare spots. Therefore, put spaces between plants accordingly.
Enjoy A Massive Weed-Free Garden
Ah, the sight of a big well-groomed lawn. Weeds could mean trouble, but you can always battle them.
With the tips and information you’ve discovered, you will certainly be able to remove weeds in a large area. Using one or a combination can even prevent weeds from coming back.
What kills weeds permanently?
You can use vinegar to kill weeds permanently. Vinegar is a great natural alternative to killing weeds permanently. On the other hand, man-made herbicides do kill weeds permanently as well.
How do you kill weeds fast naturally?
A great way to kill weed fast and naturally is to mix vinegar, salt, and some dishwashing soap together. This mixture is a very effective and inexpensive weed killer.
Is Pulling weeds a waste of time?
Hand-pulling weeds is not a waste of time, but rather it is just less effective versus using a herbicide or other spray mixture like vinegar and salt. In fact, perennial weeds may be encouraged to grow larger and stronger when they are pulled by hand. They store nutrients in their roots and re-grow from the roots or seed each year.
Will vinegar kill weeds permanently?
Vinegar will kill weeds permanently and is so acidic that it kills most broadleaf weeds. However, the acid will only penetrate and destroy the leaves before it reaches the root system, which allows the weeds to regrow. A more effective solution is to mix salt and vinegar, as the salt will dry out the root systems of the weeds.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.