I was planning a project to create a backyard kitchenette a while back. I presumed I had found the perfect location after inspecting the backyard. The only major issue was that the area was overrun by weeds. So, I needed a solution to the problem. I decided to do some research since the land I needed to clear was around 25-30 feet square, and I wanted to find the “Best way to remove weeds from a large area” using the most natural and organic method.
To remove a large area of weeds and naturally prevent them from returning, you’ll need to attack the weeds differently depending on their development stages. To kill off weeds that have already grown, a natural post-emergent solution would be to apply highly concentrated vinegar or herbicidal soap that contains long-chain fatty acids. To prevent weeds from growing again, you can use corn gluten meal (CGM), mulch, or plastic sheeting as a pre-emergent.
Weeds can be awful, but getting rid of them naturally will benefit the soil and the surrounding environment. In this article, we’ll dive further into detail about my weed removal success, how I approached the situation, and valuable “need to know” tips about removing weeds.
What are Pre and Post Emergent
Before we discuss removing weeds from a large area, I thought it would be beneficial to tell you the difference between pre-and post-emergent. In the world of weeds, they’re two conventional herbicides, and they’re both more effective depending on the overall growth of your weeds.
This type of herbicide is to prevent weeds from germinating and becoming an issue again. Although the pre-emergent solution can be highly beneficial, they rely heavily on rainfall as the herbicide will attack the seeds or weeds that are beginning to sprout.
To utilize a pre-emergent herbicide (AKA, prevent weeds from returning), you can apply corn gluten meal (CGM) or lay mulch or plastic sheeting to disable their growth patterns.
If you’re reading this blog, the likelihood is that you’re going to want to know more about post-emergent herbicides, as these generally kill weeds that have already fully developed. Using pre-emergent herbicides isn’t compatible with killing fully grown weeds because they’re not strong enough to penetrate through the weed’s outer “shield.”
Any old chemical post-emergent herbicide will undoubtedly do the job of killing weeds that have been fully established with a post-emergent. But to keep it natural, it’s recommended to use such things as highly concentrated vinegar.
In New Zealand, we have a range of organic weed killer sprays on the market, and most tend to have vinegar as the base ingredient.
NOTE – Normal household vinegar will not be suitable for killing weeds at this growth stage. Make sure you only apply highly concentrated vinegar for it to work as a post-emergent herbicide effectively.
Now you know the difference between the two, you should be able to identify what stages of growth your weeds are currently at and act accordingly. Being able to do this is highly important as the effectiveness of either technique is only valid when used in the correct phrases.
How to Remove Weeds from a Large Area
When removing weeds from a large area, you can break them down into three simple steps. These are preparation, removal, and monitoring.
Like with everything, preparation is the key to success. Through the preparation stages of your removal, you’ll need to designate an area of weeds you’d like to remove and proceed with the following.
First, you’ll need to apply some type of post-emergent (if your weeds are already fully developed), such as high concentrated vinegar. You should use a post-emergent herbicide while experiencing heavy rain for the best possible results. This will help the vinegar get into the soil and cause the herbicide to react more effectively.
This post-emergent herbicide needs at least 8 hours to take full effect. Once these 8 hours have passed, the weeds should become disabled and unable to grow, and you’re now ready to start with the next step.
The step everyone hates, but you have to do it. Unfortunately, a post-emergent herbicide won’t make weeds magically vanish into the abyss, and you’ll need to remove them. However, you can achieve this in multiple ways, depending on the tools you have lying around.
A typical way to remove weeds is to pull them out with your hands physically, but because this is a large area, I recommend you either use a hoe or a cultivator. Because the weeds are dead and you’ll be placing a pre-emergent herbicide down in the next step, you can hoe them out or mix them up in the soil with a cultivator.
I’ve also seen people run these over with a lawnmower or hedge trimmer, but this doesn’t entirely remove the roots from the ground and just trims them down into more manageable sizes; you could use this to get started.
You should now apply your pre-emergent herbicide. Whether this is using a plastic sheet, non-woven fabric, mulch, or even layering corn gluten meal (CGM) on the surface, they’ll all provide you with excellent results. While installing my outside kitchenette, I installed thick plastic sheeting before I poured my concrete subfloor.
However, now you’ve placed your pre-emergent herbicide over the large weeded area, you need to monitor the process. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to do this daily, but maybe once every 3-4 days. This will just reinsure you that your pre-emergent is working effectively.
If your weeds occur again in the area you’ve removed them from; I recommend re-doing the above and maybe opt-in for a heavier duty pre and post-emergent that is factory-made.
I’ve mentioned somewhat “natural” household items because I’m a DIY man myself, but I can assure you that they’re some potent and “not so natural” alternatives that’ll do the job. The only downside to using a herbicide like this is that it may significantly damage the soil and be harmful to pets.
TIP – If you use a pre-emergent herbicide like corn gluten meal (CGM) or a factory-made alternative. You’ll need to apply this once every 3-5 months. Failing to do so may result in weeds returning after you’ve defeated them. Avoid this at all costs to guarantee weeds don’t reappear.
From that brief how-to, you should fully understand what it takes to remove weeds from a large area successfully. It can seem like a troublesome task, but it is greatly rewarding if you can remove them effectively, giving you the benefits of backyard cleanup.
Remember, you can purchase factory-made organic pre and post-emergent that can be extremely effective. But I love DIY and homemade options, as they provide me with much greater satisfaction.
However, the herbicides mentioned above worked great for my little kitchenette project; you could be considering other ventures, such as installing an outdoor Fireplace, where you may need to eradicate weeds. I am certain these approaches are the cheapest and safest solution for the whole family and the environment.
To make your own organic weed killer, you’ll need 30% strength vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and standard table salt. I highly recommend that you click here to see how it’s done.
Now, what are you waiting for? Get prepared and start removing the weeds pestering you in your backyard!