Weeds can be a problem on even the most well-maintained Palm Beach property, popping up in lawns, flower beds, shrub borders, hedges, patios, and even plant pots. It often feels like no matter how often and how thoroughly you remove weeds, new ones appear almost immediately. But there are ways to successfully combat weeds, including environmentally friendly weed control approaches that don’t involve toxic chemicals.
Why the Palm Beach Area Has Prolific Weeds
South Florida has a large variety of weeds that are quite prolific. The weather in our region provides plenty of moisture (sometimes too much!), which helps keep gardens green. Add abundant sunshine and a year-round warm climate, and Mother Nature has created an incubator for weed growth.
Dandelions are just the beginning of the wide variety of weeds in Palm Beach. Broadleaf weeds like dollarweed, spurge, matchweed, broadleaf plantain, and cheekweed can all drop seed and spread invasively throughout planting beds and lawns.
Keeping your lawn perfectly weed-free can be challenging. Not only do broadleaf weeds like to grow in turfgrass, but so do weedy grasses, such as dallisgrass, crabgrass, and goosegrass. Each of these weedy grasses lays flat and can grow thickly. Because they’re a different color than the typical lawn grass, weedy grasses are clearly visible against beautiful bright green turfgrass.
Properties in Palm Beach typically have an automated irrigation system. When weed seeds drop or are blown in from neighboring properties, the irrigation system ensures that they’ll be adequately watered. This encourages fast growth and can mean an almost immediate invasion of new weeds after existing weeds have been removed. Turning off irrigation isn’t an option; your lawn and garden beds would burn up. The answer then, is to find effective ways to:
- prevent weeds from sprouting, and
- control the weeds that do develop.
Weed Control Options for Palm Beach Properties
Weed control treatments generally fall into three categories:
- chemical herbicides, including organic weed killer treatments,
- manual weed removal (hand weeding), and
- weed prevention
Each has pros and cons, as well as different uses.
Chemical Weed Control in Palm Beach
Herbicides, chemical substances that kill unwanted plants, are generally the most direct and effective means of eradicating weeds. Selective herbicides are formulated to control particular weed types or species, such as broadleaf weeds, without damaging nearby plants.
Many common weed killer treatments use toxic chemicals that are highly effective but raise concerns about negative effects on the surrounding environment, children, and pets.
In contrast, organic herbicides have a much lower risk of injury and can be just as effective when applied correctly.
Both types of herbicide can be applied broadly (such as with “weed and feed” lawn products) or used to spot-treat specific areas or plants. Depending on the formulation, these chemicals may be used as a:
- granular product that’s sprinkled or distributed by a spreader (granular formulations are usually used to cover a wide area), or a
- liquid weed killer that’s sprayed directly on weeds or weedy areas and is usually used for spot treatments.
Whenever chemical weed control treatments are used, particularly in areas where children or pets may be present, always follow your landscape professional’s safety recommendations. That may include staying off the lawn or away from the planting area for a specified length of time to avoid contact with the herbicide.
Fine properties in Palm Beach typically choose natural or organic weed control over spraying with toxic chemicals. Having a healthy garden, as well as an environmentally healthy island, means that your property will be giving back positively to the Palm Beach community.
Manual Weed Removal & Hand Weeding
Pulling weeds by hand can be highly effective, but only if it’s done correctly and at the right time. Other ways to successfully remove or kill weeds without using chemicals involve heat (flame, steam, or boiling water).
Digging out weeds by hand can be challenging, yet estate gardeners know that this is the best way to control weeds over the long haul.
The best time to hand weed is when weeds are still small and before they set seed. Hand-weeding must be repeated frequently to ensure that no weeds go to seed. Over time, this will reduce the number of weeds on your property.
The key with this method is to completely remove not just the visible part of the weed, but also the entire part underground. Any roots or rhizomes left behind can (and likely will) regrow, often producing multiple new weeds. When you get the roots out, the weed has a lower chance of returning to that same location.
A good old-fashioned dandelion weeder, hori hori knife, or trowel is your best friend when hand-weeding garden beds, turf lawn, and even container gardens. Use these tools to gently loosen and pry up a weed’s roots so you can remove the entire plant, root and all.
Flaming Weeds with a Weed Torch
Weed torches are a fantastic way to scorch weeds. Heat from the torch effectively explodes the plant at the cellular level. Use extreme caution when flaming weeds so you don’t burn the surrounding garden beds or grass.
A flaming tool is most effective on driveways, sidewalks, and other paved areas where the risk of burning nearby plants is minimal. Still, it’s always a good idea to have a pail of water or a garden hose nearby, just in case.
Destroying Weeds with Boiling Water or Steam
Like flaming weeds, pouring boiling water onto weeds or using a steam weeder kills the weed by destroying its cellular structure. This works very effectively on hardscaped areas such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios.
However, boiling water is difficult to control as the stream of water can splash and run off in unexpected directions. Always use it cautiously to avoid getting scalded.
Weed Prevention Treatments for Palm Beach
Creating an environment that prevents weeds from growing is the best way to minimize the amount of work required to keep your property weed-free.
This can involve simple techniques, such as:
- using pre-emergent products, including organic products such as corn gluten meal, to stop weed seeds from germinating,
- spreading a thick layer of mulch on planting beds to smother weed seedlings,
- keeping your lawn thick, healthy, and mowed high to crowd out weeds.
Corn Gluten for Weed Prevention
Corn gluten meal (NOT cornmeal) is a byproduct of corn milling that’s used as a pre-emergent herbicide. This organic product is spread on top of the soil in spring before weeds sprout and is often applied to organic lawns. Corn gluten functions as a preventative only; it will not affect existing weeds. It can take several years of regular applications, using enough material, for corn gluten to reach its full effectiveness level.
Top Beds with a Layer of Mulch
Mulching is a good way to smother weeds. There are dozens of different mulches which work well in Palm Beach, including shredded pine mulch, pine bark, pine straw, compost, and wood or cypress mulch. Avoid dyed mulch which can leach into a plant’s root system and is often not organic.
Apply a 3 to 4-inch layer of mulch to cover all bare soil. Make sure that it’s pulled away from all plants and shrub or tree trunks to avoid causing fungal or decay problems.
Finely textured mulches may look nice, but they tend to stay wet between irrigations or rain events. The same thing happens when mulch is applied to thickly or allowed to decompose. This consistent moisture allows annual weeds to germinate and grow directly within the mulch. For best weed control, use a coarse-textured mulch, with pieces of about 1/4 to 3/4 inch in size, with a low water-holding capacity. Weeds that are particular problems are those that have windborne seeds or those with a taproot.
Call Coastal Gardens for Palm Beach Weed Treatment
There is a science to controlling weeds to give you a picture-perfect landscape. Having an experienced estate gardening team that prefers not to use harmful chemicals can be extremely helpful.
We offer a wide range of options for eradicating noxious plants from your landscape, including planting beds and lawns. Depending on your needs and preference, we’ll suggest a combination of methods that will be most effective. For example, we may recommend using a selective herbicide treatment for spot treatments and supplement that with hand weeding in areas that are closer to other desired landscape plants. Likewise, if the outdoor space is frequently used (especially by children or pets), we’d prefer to use an organic herbicide in the interest of health and safety. Whatever your needs, we can help devise the right herbicide and weed treatment program for your property.
An impeccable landscape starts with the quality service and years of experience that Coastal Gardens can bring to your Palm Beach property.
CALL US TODAY At 561-308-7604
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For Fine Properties in Palm Beach
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