Agricultural activity cannot be separated from the sprouts of weeds. Be it planting crops or gardening, these wild plants can be invasive and affect the nutrient level of the soil. Weeds are plants that grow around cultivated plants whose growth is planned or desired. It is generally detrimental and can stunt growth because the weed is absorbing the nutrient in the soil that is supposed to be used by the cultivated plants.
Weeds can also compete with cultivated plants for water. This competition of nutrients can lead to a lack of sufficient nutrients for plants to produce. The results are a decrease in quantity and quality of production. There are four types of commonly found weeds: grasses, sedges, and broadleaves. Here is a little explanation and how to identify them.
This weed has narrow leaves with stolons. In the soil, the stolons form a complex network that is hard to manage when trying to pull the weeds out. Its stems are round or slightly flattened, mostly hollow. While its leaves are usually line-shaped with flat edges.
This weed has stem tubers spread out in the soil that can last for months and makes it hard to control them by pulling them out or mechanically. They run on the C4 photosynthesis pathway which makes them very efficient and quick in occupying the area. It has a stem that is generally triangular, sometimes round, and usually not hollow. The leaves are arranged in three rows and do not have a leaf tongue. Its flowers are often in spikes and are usually protected by a leaf.
This weed usually grows at the end of the cultivation period. With its broad leaves and mesh-shaped leaf bones, this weed competes for light with the cultivated plant.
Weed killing methods
Weed killing comes in many ways. The most natural and safest way to get rid of weeds is by pulling them by the roots. Of course, pulling a large area of weeds can be taxing, but before deciding on spraying chemical herbicide, consider using a natural alternative that does not harm the cultivated plant around it or the soil.
Salt can be used as an effective natural herbicide to pesky growing weeds. But not just any kind of salt, for it to work, it requires sodium chloride that is usually labeled as table salt. Other salts such as Epsom salt, rock salt, or sea salt cannot work to control weeds.
To apply, the salt needs to be dissolved in water for it to be better absorbed by the weeds. A ratio of 1:2 salt and water is enough to use directly in the soil, especially ones that are used for planting. For weeds on the terrace stone, driveway, or any place where it won’t disrupt the soil, a stronger solution of 2:1 or 3:1 can be used. How it works is that the salt will dry and disrupt the internal water balance of plant cells and therefore kill it.
As with adding any solution to the soil, keep in mind to not add it too much or close to the cultivated plants for sodium chloride can also kill plants around the intended area. Using salt can also make the soil sterile for weeds over time.
Other natural remedies are using hot water to kill the intended weeds. Using hot water means that it won’t leave residue on the soil. But keep in mind to use it sparingly and away from cultivated plants for it can also kill them. This method works by drenching the weeds including leaves and branches with hot water. Be careful when choosing this method because hot water can burn the skin.
Chemical spray can be used when natural remedies do not work and the weeds keep growing. There are many types of chemical herbicides depending on the needs. Herbicides such as glyphosate can be applied to the leaves. It can be used for killing grass and broadleaf weeds 2-4 weeks after application. Oxyfluorfen, a selective pre-emergent herbicide, can be used for controlling broadleaf weeds and grass groups. This herbicide can kill weed seeds that will germinate so that they cannot grow and develop. Other herbicides can be used and found in the market depending on the needs and how persistent the weeds are.
As with using any chemical base solution, keep in mind to follow the instructions so that the product can be used as intended and does not harm the soil or plants around it.
Things to know before spraying
Weeds can be persistent in their growth. But before deciding on a spray with chemical herbicides, here are a few things that might help in dealing with persistent weeds.
As the saying goes for health, prevent before treating. The same thing could be said when dealing with weeds. Create a land that prevents the weeds from taking roots by covering open soil with mulch, that way the weed can’t get enough sunlight to thrive. Pulling out small weeds can also be a start to preventing them from spreading.
Knowing the surroundings when planting can also help to deal with weeds. Different weeds can react differently to herbicides. Common herbicides also have specifications on what weed they can kill and what might not. It’s best to identify what kind of weeds are growing before deciding on a course of action.
The impact of spraying chemical herbicides can go beyond controlling the intended weed. The chemical in the herbicide works by preventing the plant from functioning properly. While it can be a benefit when controlling the unwanted weeds, some herbicides can leave a residue that can disrupt the health of the soil. It is also worth noting that herbicide should not be used near plants that are meant to be eaten for it could be toxic if ingested. Proximity can also be a problem because some herbicides may drift in the wind during spraying and kill nearby plants that are germinating.