2 The Secret to Removing the Entire Weed

We have all been there. Spending countless hours on a beautiful Saturday hunched over our gardens pulling weeds as quickly as possible so we can just be done with it already and sit down with a cold beverage. But they always come back and they normally bring a few new friends with them.  A few weekends ago I had the day to myself and decided to tend to the gardens. I put my headphones on, cranked up the tunes and started pulling those suckers out of their warm little homes. I don't know when I came out of the zombie dandelion pulling trance and started to pay attention to exactly what I was pulling out of the ground when when I did I was surprised at what I saw. 

Dandelions have really really long roots. Like twice as long as I thought.  I had one in my right hand that had a pretty long root and in my left hand was this super bulked up dandelion with roots the length of my forearm. I quickly noted one major difference between the two weeds. The one in my right hand had a wet end to the root while the one in my left hand had dry ends to the roots.

The reason?  I had unknowningly broken off the root of the dandelion in my right hand, leaving some of the root in the ground where it will eventually come back to haunt me. The dandelion in my left hand was dry because I had gotten all of the root out of the ground.

See, this guy must be on the roids

I have tried the fancy weed tools and not once have I pulled out roots as long as I did when I was doing it by hand and really paying attention to what I was doing. The key is to show the dandelion who is boss without going all hulk on it.
  1. Stand directly over top of it, grabbing it by the stem where it meets the soil
  2. Start to pull it directly up slowly and firmly. The key is to doing it slow and with enough force that it won't break off.
  3. Don't twist or else it will break off and leave some in the ground. 
  4. Make sure you fill in the hole with dirty so there isn't an easy place for a new weed to grow.
  5. If in a garden, cover with mulch, if on the lawn, make sure you seed as a lawn full of grass or ground cover will prevent weeds from having a place to grown. 

Most often when I pull a weed out it looks like the one in the middle of the picture up there. A long root that looks like you got it all. But in reality they can be much longer. The key to know if you got it all is looking at the ends and ensuring you don't see any milky white liquid.

What about those other methods using hot water or vinegar or salt?

Those work too but you should watch the use of them in your gardens or on your lawn because they can cause other plants around them to also die and they can prevent new plants from re-growing in its place. 

I have used hot water to kill weeds that were growing between the stones on our patio. I took only 1 application and within a day the weed was dead and I could pull it out. Remember to fill any root holes in with more polymeric sand (or whatever filler you used between your stones). 

I have used vinegar to get rid of a vine that just would not go away. 8 years I have been in an epic battle with this vine and each year I think I kill it and then the following spring it comes back. There are no other plants in the area so I am not worried about killing anything else when I attempt vine-murder. It continues to come back not because the vinegar didn't work, but because this paricular vine has very very long runners that the vinegar can not reach. 

What is your favourite weed removal method?

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Organic, Not a Wussy Produce

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  1. The best way to pull out weeds is to do so just after a good soaking rain. The ground is soft, the roots of the weed are growing and expanding, and not in a "protective" mode. Even the toughest deep rooted weeds will come out with a fraction of the effort normally required, and far less likely to break off at the root.

    1. Completely agree that if the ground around the weed is wet it will be way easier to remove the entire thing.