Show Notes

In this episode, we discuss what to do with weeds.  Why are weeds there?  What can you do about weeds in your yard? Are there healthy ways to remove weeds?


  • What is a weed?
    • Wrong plant, wrong place
    • Repairing the soil
    • Taking advantage of unused resources
      • Space, nutrients, sunlight, etc
  • General approach
    • Pull
    • Spray
      • Instant kill, short term
      • Long lasting preventers
        • Residual
  • Why are weeds there?
    • Gather data – indicates corrective action
    • Weeds may be telling you something
    • Some are just a pain
    • Details
      • Location
      • Growth pattern
      • Dispersion pattern
      • Annual/perennial
      • Root structure
      • Moisture
      • Sun
      • Soil
      • Height
    • Start with the roots
      • Pattern indicates soil conditions
      • Fibrous
        • Loose soil
        • Trying to hold nutrients in place
      • Taproot
        • Dense, compacted soil
        • Low organic matter
        • Trying to mine nutrients and break through hard soil
      • Plant type
        • May indicate resource availability
          • Low nitrogen – nitrogen fixers
            • g. clover, medic, birds foot trefoil
          • Space – creeping habits
      • Identifying weeds
        • Google
        • Most local universities have local weed pages
  • Solutions
    • Major problems
      • Remove, cover, refill
      • Episode 10 – how to start a new garden bed
      • Removal
        • Mow
        • Till
        • Cover
        • Spraying
        • Remove seed material/root material
      • Coverage
        • Reduce bare soil spots that allow germination
        • Mulching
        • Planting
        • both
      • Refilling
        • Replace with desired plants
        • Recall growth habits
        • Select plant that thrives in space
        • Consider similar
          • root habit
          • nutrient needs
        • Last resort
          • Amend conditions
          • Increase fertility
    • Non-widespread problems
      • Physical removal or spot spray
      • Amend to change local conditions if needed
        • Prevent erosion
        • Add fertility
        • Cover with mulch
        • Avoid long term work
      • Replace with desired plants
      • Fill space fully to prevent future weeds

Links for today’s episode:

this is the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

I’m Ben Hale your virtual design guide

to help you and your family have a

healthy beautiful landscape with less

work what’s up and welcome to episode 12

of the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

thanks for being here guys today I’m

super psyched for another great show and

today we’re gonna be talking about weed

problems and what to do about them

everybody’s got weeds right we uh we all

have these frustrations with our plants

in our yard and today I want to just

address more about these weeds and what

we can do about them before that I just

want to say you know I’m super excited

to be here with you guys and I hope

you’re enjoying this show so far if you

haven’t already check out iTunes or

stitcher or wherever you’re listening to

the show make sure you subscribe so you

can get the future shows and also if you

haven’t left to review yet I would love

it if you went to your favorite player

and left to review an honest review

about how you feel about the show and

give it a rating a review these really

help out and I really appreciate you

taking the time to do so man it’s a

beautiful day today it’s it’s cold I’m

not usually a fan of the cold but hey

it’s warmer than a typical day and you

know late winter early spring and hey

man it’s windy I’m just watching right

now as I’m recording I’m looking out the

window and and watching the wind just

kind of buff it everything right now

it’s pretty windy day today we’re going

through a cold front so it’s kind of

just interesting to watch how you know

everything reacts with the wind so

anyway let’s get into the show today and

start talking about the weeds and the

weed problems we have you know right now

if you’re listening to this right after

this show comes out you’re going to be

listening to this before we really get

into the big growing season and that’s

when you know these weeds really start

to become problem maybe when we get to

you know at least in the northern

climates here you know maybe April May

is when really things start to pop up in


start growing like crazy and that’s when

we start to have some issues if you’re

down south you know you might be already

right in the middle of stuff dealing

with a lot of these problems so if

that’s the case I really hope this show

is helpful for you today you know

starting today and if not I hope you

guys you know keep this stuff in mind as

we move forward with our growing season

so before we get into really dealing

with weeds I want to just touch on a few

things the first is that this show I’m

not gonna sit here and rattle off you

know a 250 different types of weeds and

how to identify them you know that for

one would be probably a pretty boring

show even for me and secondly you know

there’s it’s just so hard to to not

somewhat generalize a like this I try

not to get too deep into specific plants

with this show for a reason I’m not

trying to just deliberately always be a

generalist but I want this show to to

reach as many of you as possible you

know across multiple regions and it’s

just so hard to talk about plants what

plants to plant you will have some of

those shows you know I might do some for

specific regions or specific climate

types are specific soils I have a few

shows like that in mind but early you

know we’re only on episode 12 here and

and really early I want to give stuff

that’s valuable to to anybody that comes

by the show and wants to save time on

their landscapes so these are the the

fundamentals and so today the same thing

goes where we’re not going to be talking

about specific weeds I’ll list a few

examples and and most of these are

pretty broadly applicable to most

climates not not some of the extreme

climates but for the most part they’re

there just to give an example of what

we’re talking about here so today what

we’re going to be talking about more so

is is what what do we why do they grow

where they’re growing and how can you

kind of turn this on its head to be an

advantage for you and so instead of

having it weeds be a problem they

actually indicate how you can solve the

problem and and and have a healthier

landscape and so that’s really what I

want to teach you today and

before we get into that I want to just

talk about what is a weed right when we

talk about weeds usually we’re talking

about something like a dandelion right

that’s a that’s a weed that’s found

pretty much all the way across North

America and even from the native versus

non-native standpoint it’s a it’s an

exotic so some people consider weeds

exotic plants right other people

consider weeds just something they don’t

want growing in their lawn other people

they consider weeds plants that are just

difficult to remove whatever it is today

what we’re talking about is a weed is a

plant that is simply the wrong plant in

the wrong place so maybe there’s a place

for a plant this plant somewhere else

but when it comes to your landscape you

don’t want it there and so how do you

take care of that and so that’s what

we’re going to be talking about today is

the wrong plant in the wrong place and

maybe for a different habitat maybe in a

wild setting it’s the right plant for

the right place but for your landscape

you don’t want it there I understand

that you know it’s a design landscape

you want it to look a certain way and

maybe having this plant there looks

unkempt or is just undesirable

culturally so dandelion is actually a

great example of that is is where

personally I actually find dandelions

pretty pleasant and I actually don’t

mind them they if you don’t take care of

a lawn or whatever let it kind of go

dandelions will start popping up around

our area pretty quickly and and what you

know love them or not people hate the

the plant and it’s seen as kind of a

almost like a cultural stigma if you

have dandelions in your landscape you’re

not taking care of your yard that’s kind

of the societal pressure we have and so

regardless of whether or not I

personally like the plant you know we

don’t have them in our lawn too much

they’re there here and there but not

pervasive and and part of that’s because

I’m married and secondly you know it’s

it’s something that our it actually

helps our neighbor relationships believe

it or not bye bye

having so many weeds in our landscape so

today we’re gonna be talking about just

whether or not you like these plants you

don’t want them in a specific space and

so how do we deal with that right how do

we take care of that and some of these

solutions that I’m talking about today

they’re more of like a long-term process

but they’ll get you to where you need to

be eventually at least and some of them

are you know a more extreme more

short-term process and generally

speaking there’s more work involved with

that too in it it might be a ongoing

work thing if that’s the route you

choose where is the long-term process

maybe if you do both you know that gives

you what you want but the long-term

process is generally kind of setting up

a space or a system that doesn’t favor

the conditions that the weed prefers in

the first place okay

so when it comes to weeds generally what

they’re doing actually I just want to

give you kind of a little background

here is even though it’s a the wrong

plant in the wrong place what they’re

doing for the most most often is is one

of two things first

they’re either repairing the soil so if

you have a degraded landscape maybe

you’re not even aware of this but but

maybe your lawn is kind of you know

maybe your lawn looks kind of scraggly

or whatever and you don’t have tons of

nutrients there’s usually what that’s an

indication of and so these weeds pop up

– – actually from a biological

standpoint or a nature standpoint their

role in nature is to actually build soil

and they’re the very first kind of

colonizers of bare soils so when you

have erosion happening and though in

nature you know

let’s take people out of the picture for

a while so you have some where there

there’s erosion or you suddenly have

exposed soil say a landslide or

something right well these colonizer

weeds these colonizer plants they

actually come in and pull up nutrients

and trap nutrients and they and some of

them actually pull nutrients out of the

the mineral form so out of tiny little

grains of sand or whatever and and some

of these plants actually do really

amazing things

and and they perform different services

in the natural ecosystems unfortunately

for your landscape they’re not as always

the pretty plant or they don’t grow the

right height or they don’t have the

right color or maybe they’re

uncomfortable to walk on whatever it is

these plants in nature they don’t have

maybe the same spot in our yard and so

it’s just good to know though what

they’re about and that in nature they

actually have function as repairing the

soil so they might be telling you a

story and we’ll get into that later

secondly if if plants aren’t there if

the weeds aren’t there actually

repairing the soil often the second

reason they’re there is that they’re

taking advantage of unused resources so

maybe you do have somewhat healthy soil

but the the weed is there for a reason

and so if you think about it there are

tons and tons of seeds just sitting in

your soil your dirt and throughout your

yard and given the right opportunity

those seeds that could just lay dormant

first sometimes there’s some seeds that

actually lay dormant for centuries but

most seeds we’re talking about here may

be you know several years or so and

they’re waiting for the the right

opportunity to germinate so it waits for

the right conditions to start growing

and when those conditions occur that

plant will start growing and take over a

specific space and and utilize specific

resources so examples of this could be

light so once the seed kind of feels

light so when it when a surface becomes

exposed that previously wasn’t exposed

that can be a trigger for certain Cesar

it could be moisture or it could be

temperature a combination of multiple

things or it could be yeah so I guess

that’s a those are just some quick

examples so this again tells us a little

bit of a story about why the plant is

there which we’ll get into again in a

little bit so when it comes to a general

approach of how we do with weeds

conventionally usually what we’re

talking about is either pulling

the weeds I’ve done many many weed

pooling sessions as a kid and second

strategy which is more common is

spraying right so you have these instant

kill weed sprayers lot of them are

pretty convenient so you have you know

your bottle with your trigger spray and

you can just walk around and spray a dot

on each plant that you don’t want around

your landscape and that they’re highly

convenient and they have instant kill in

the short term and you also have your

long lasting weed preventers you know

you see these in garden centers the weed

preventer sprays or whatever you can

even spray your whole lawn with these

things right

and they have a residual long-term

effect so they actually stay in your

landscape on your soil for a long time

and so that’s nice and all

unfortunately these these have I’ve kind

of talked about in previous episodes

these do have long-term lasting effects

on your landscape and and also long-term

health effects for you and your family

so just one thing I’ll touch upon with

the landscape specifically is it damages

the soil health and so most times these

weed killers say they also have negative

effects on the soil microbiology which

is highly important to have for healthy

soil so just things to consider when

you’re using these types of chemicals

even some of your organic chemicals

chemicals I’ve mentioned horticultural

vinegar recently and and even that can

just is essentially its you know highly

acidic it can physically burn the soil

so much that it can kill some of the

life in your soil too so these things

can be effective I personally my family

and I we prefer to stay away from the

synthetic chemicals that’s our

preference and that’s of course my

recommendation for health reasons but if

you choose to use those I would just

caution – to try not to be dependent on

theirs especially the long-term

prevention ones because they can really

have some some wider spread effects and

cause essentially like a dependency like

a drug dependency on these chemicals and

so you’re continually having to do this

year after year and so what I prefer to

do and what I recommend

do is is to instead build your your

health of your landscape your soil

health which will increase your plant

health and and so actually reduce the

amount of workload you have to do in a

long term okay so those are kind of like

you know the conventional general

approaches to weeds I want to kind of

segue now into understanding why weeds

are there in the first place so I

mentioned at the beginning of the show

that weeds often you know they’re either

filling a resource niche that’s

available so like water sunlight space

things like that or nutrient

availability or they’re trying to repair

the landscape there are plants that are

adapted to repairing damaged spaces so

whatever it is it’s important to

understand these clues if we really want

to try and make our yard healthier to

where it may not have as many weed

problems so I want to tell a short

success story here before we really get

into these tools and and that’s our yard

so we haven’t I’ve kind of mentioned

this a little bit already that we

haven’t done a whole lot with our yard

so we’ve lived in this house that we

live in right now for a little over five

years I guess going on you have five and

a half years or so and during that time

we bought this you know it’s like a

project house right so there’s tons of

work that we needed to focus on just

inside the house to make it even

somewhere where we could walk inside and

not cringe right so most of our focus

over the past five years has been the

interior of the house and unfortunately

that means the landscape has been not

completely and utterly disregarded but

it’s had to take a backseat to a lot of

the work we’ve done on the physical

structure of our house and so and you

know on this along with that we’ve also

been raising our family so whatever the

excuse is our landscape hasn’t really

had as much attention as I would like to

give it and it doesn’t have the beauty I

would like it to have so fortunately for

you guys I’ll be taking you through that

journey as we convert our landscape in

the future to everything I’m talking

about here right a low maintenance

landscape that’s beautiful and healthy

and vibrant a welcoming space well

unfortunately that’s not the status quo

for us right now and so I’ll be taking

you through it as we start to shift our

focus onto our landscape more but one of

the success stories with our landscape

is as our lawn actually so I’ve had the

chance to experiment with our lawn – my

wife’s chagrin sometimes and what we

inherited was this you know it was a

pretty rough lawn to begin with so it’s

a mixed vegetation lawn of mostly tall

fescue and so it’s kind of you know it’s

a thicker grass it’s not super

comfortable it’s pretty common for your

contractor grade landscapes around

around Ohio area and it’s a really

durable grass it’s real hardy and it

doesn’t require a lot of nutrient input

so those are all advantages but if left

to go you know like any lawn you can

have some problems and so when we

inherited our house or when we purchased

our house inherited the landscape along

with it a you know the the grass was

probably almost a foot tall and so was

in a lot of disrepair and and in tandem

with that it was it was full of a lot of

these you know weeds so I would say

probably not quite 50% weeds but it was

a lot you know very noticeable and

particularly dandelions which I

mentioned earlier and and so it took a

lot of attention to try and take care of

this lawn

well we didn’t want to be sitting there

treating our lawn we didn’t want to put

down a bunch of weed preventer stuff and

so I’ve I’ve basically taken a few

measures to simply change the growth

habit of our lawn to something where it

had advantages the grass or gives grass

the advantage and it disadvantages the

other plants and so specifically what I

did was I raised the height of my mower

and I consistently moated it a higher

height so instead of the typical lawn

where you see maybe a two-inch mowing

and if you let your grass grow and then

cut it that short you’re actually

severely damaging your grass plants in

there and the roots below it

and so instead I’m owed this one higher

and it took and you know it’s been the

over the course of five years now but

mowing the lawn higher at about a four

inch plus height and I actually I get a

rigged our mower to make it even cut

higher just to experiment with some

different heights and see what happened

but but say let’s say four inches right

so it’s still a comfortable height to be

able to walk on and what it did is it

was almost you know kind of magical

right basically the higher height of the

grass cutting allowed me to cut less off

between cuttings it slows the growth of

the grass because it’s not struggling to

grow full enough foliage to

photosynthesize it allows the roots to

develop more strongly and and therefore

the plants healthier and at the same

time you’re also shading out the soil

surface so you have fewer weeds

germinating and growing so so even

within year one I saw a big difference

in annual weed production throughout the

lawn and the longer-term piece has been

the perennial weeds so like your this is

your for for my area it’s like things

like plantain and dandelion those are

two major ones so for the plantains and

dandelions they’re perennials and it’s

taking them a little bit longer to

disappear but but it’s it is much harder

for them to struggle against that that

four-inch grass height and so we still

get a beautiful lawn very green and very

healthy but does much better with

resilience against weeds so kind of a

long story here there but but this is an

example of how understanding the weeds

and understanding the other plants in

the specific space you’re considering

can really go a long way to preventing

the problems in the first place okay so

why are weeds there right why are they

present so this piece what we need to do

is gather data about the specific weed

in the specific location it’s growing in

the environmental conditions of the

location and that helps us it can really

indicate a corrective action for this

space so we need to prevent the weeds

from being able to grow there in the

first place in the future so what we’re

talking about here is taking care of the

specific problem at hand the weed but

also preventing

future problems similar problems from

happening so like I mentioned earlier

weeds may be telling you something they

may be indicating a problem or telling

you a story are giving you some clues

and so we kind of just have to open our

minds to what they might be telling us

and I’ll be honest here sometimes

there’s weeds that are just an absolute

pain right no matter what you seem to do

you have problems with these weeds and

those are you know you kind of have to

take that on a case-by-case basis and it

can be really difficult so actually a

great example in our own landscape is

wild garlic and I don’t know if you’ve

ever dealt with wild garlic or if it

grows in your climate but wild garlic

has these bulbs right it’s it’s

essentially garlic but it’s the wild

form right it’s related to your it’s in

the alliums so it’s your like your

onions your shallots your garlic and so

wild garlic has these bulbs and they can

they can stay in the soil for upwards of

five years between germination between

growing their upper foliage right so

these bulbs have incredible resilience

to last a long time

and even after you know they’ve been

removed or whatever so it’s really

difficult to get rid of these things and

when they grow it as soon as they start

growing they’re also generating new

little bulblets and if you leave any of

those bulblets in the soil they can grow

into their own individual plants so we

have this problem I understand it and

the other great or not great

the other interesting thing too is some

of these plants are so hard to remove

even conventionally so even with Roundup

and things like that it’s it’s difficult

to remove something like a garlic so how

do you deal with them and and again

these have to be taken on a case-by-case

basis but a lot of times you’re talking

about physical pooling or you never

their option you know kind of the

bombshell options are physically

smothering the location and starting

over fresh and that’s something you can

do to fortunately it sometimes these are

a lot of work especially if you have a

widespread problem but again

case-by-case basis Internet’s our friend

right so back on topic

so yeah sometimes weeds are just a pain

but here are some of the details I’m

talking about when we’re talking about a

specific weed first we understand we

want to understand what type of wheat it

is what is it so we want to look up

online if you look up just google search

whatever your state is and in weeds and

our common weeds and you’ll most likely

find a local university that provides a

list of common weeds in your area or

your state as well just the state

government sometimes does it or even

sometimes the local governments so a lot

of times there’s these local resources

put together to help you understand

weeds because they’re also often an

issue in agricultural settings too so

there’s a lot of overlap and a lot of

places that provide information ok so

understand what plant you have and

what’s its what location do you have it

and what are the conditions of your

location what’s the growth pattern of

your plant is it a you know is it a

shrub is it a herbaceous plant is it

more like a low growing ground cover

plant so what’s the growth pattern of it

what’s its dispersal pattern so does it

spread by root shoots whether there are

stolens or rhizomes does it spread by

the roots or does it spread by something

else maybe it’s a seeds that blow

through the wind or maybe it seizes that

drop down right next to it so

understanding that pattern is helpful in

understanding the weed what’s the what’s

the growth lifecycle of it is an annual

does it basically have a one-year

lifecycle and then the next year any

similar plants you’re having is a new

seed coming from the previous parent of

the previous year or is their perennial

something that once it’s growing it’s

going to survive the dormant season and

come back next year maybe a year after a

year maybe it’s a short-lived perennial

or a long-lived perennial so

understanding this can be helpful too

what’s the root structure this is one of

the most important pieces actually for

understanding what the plant is trying

to tell you so the root structure is it

is it like a fibrous root structure is

it you know is it have a lot of little

hairs on it that are basically pulling

from a lot of different little spaces or

is it a deep taproot that’s kind of

chiseling down in the soil these are

both helpful things to understand what’s

the moisture level of your space with

the Sun the soil those types of things

what’s the final mulch or height of the

plant okay so now that we’ve thought

about those details I want to touch on

the roots again so the roots are now

we’re at trying to understand about the

plant a little bit more and the main

thing I’m going to talk about here is

the roots okay

the roots the roots pattern what is a

primary indicator of is your soil

conditions so there’s definitely some

overlap here but if you have a

predominant type of one type of weed so

like everything is a tapper right or

everything is a fibrous root there’s

really that you know that gives you a

really big indicator of your soil

conditions so for for fibrous roots

these are usually an indicator of loose

soil so the plant is actually trying to

hold and trap the soil in place and the

nutrients that come along with it it’s

because all these little fibrous roots

if you have plenty of them you know

they’ll hold the soil intact and keep it

from eroding away even raindrops can

erode soil believe it or not if a

raindrop directly hit the soil it has

massive erosive capacity over the course

of year with how many raindrops hit the

soil so these fibrous roots are trying

to hold the soil together to prevent

erosion and prevent the plant from

becoming uprooted and it’s basically

it’s our own little survival tactic so

that’s usually the indicator of if you

have a lot of fibrous root plants

they’re trying to hold the nutrients to

place if you have a lot of tap rooted

plants these indicate dense compacted

soil so generally speaking to this could

also indicate low organic matter so

these plants are essentially with this

deep taproot that can really chisel down

into the soil this tough soil it’s

trying to essentially mine nutrients and

break through hard so

so it’s actually secreting stuff that

can dissolve minerals into a biological

available biologically available form

and it’s at the same time it’s also

trying to penetrate the soil to access

more nutrients more water and and

provide basically colonize a disturbed

space okay when we are talking about

plant type it may indicate a resource

availability or lack of availability and

specifically here I guess two quick

examples so for low nitrogen for example

you’re going to have a prevalence of

nitrogen-fixing plants and so this is

let’s go back to the lawn and the lawn

example so once used to be lawn seed

mixes you that you bought say like about

part of the lawn mix because the lawn

care specialists that provided the seed

mix they knew that clover provided an

important resource to help the grass

plants grow now with the advent of

herbicides specifically broadleaf

herbicides that you can spray on your

lawn it unfortunately killed clovers so

with the advent of these chemicals that

made things easier to treat they also

killed the clover that was part of the

grass mixes so they were taken out but

with a lawn if you if you’re not

treating your lawn most like you you

will start to see clover pop up in your

lawn and this is specifically the case

with our yard as well we have little

patches of clover here in there and

they’re actually welcome into our

landscape but but they’re an example of

where it’s basically telling me that

that my soil in my lawn that needs help

does not have enough nitrogen to grow

the grass healthily enough to occupy

that space and so clover comes in and

says well I can still grow here and I

can provide my own nitrogen through my

roots with bacterial Association I’m

getting too nerdy here right but I think

I talked about that in the last episode

actually didn’t I so so clover has this

ability to mine nitrogen from the air

and provide it to its to itself as a

to be absorbed in the plant to build

proteins and such so things like clover

and medic and birdsfoot trefoil these

are all three examples of

nitrogen-fixing plants that can grow in

space like a lawn and provide its own

nitrogen supplements so it indicates a

lack of nitrogen in your soil another

example is a if we’re talking about

space right so plants if there’s too

much space in a particular area and the

soil is exposed you’ll you’ll start to

see plants particularly with creeping

habits so your ground cover type plants

your your grasses like your like your

crabgrass that sends out little

offshoots and that keep rooting up and

taking or taking root and spreading

throughout so you have these or

quackgrass right a lot of these

different weed grasses that’s how they

they’ll spread through spreading root

patterns or spreading foliage across

that that anchor down and so these are

examples where you have too much space

that’s not occupied and so the weeds

going to take advantage of that right

there’s resources there that it could

use and it has the space so it’s going

to start growing so it’s important to

understand what type of what type of

plant you’re talking about because it

could indicate something like that so

when you’re just again to touch upon

when you’re identifying your weeds just

check out google and usually you can

find some resources there some are nicer

than others so find a good pictorial

reference where you can kind of scroll

through the plants in your area and see

what looks similar to what you’ve got

growing if you’re talking about like

super young weeds like you know things

less than an inch tall that are just

starting out it’s unfortunately it’s

really hard to identify a lot of those

things so you might have to wait for it

to get bigger if you really want to

understand what you’re dealing with

okay so let’s get into the solution

phase right so what’s the deal what to

do with these plants um so hopefully you

understand now what you need to do with

the clues that you’ve been given maybe

you have too much opens open soil maybe

you’re low on nitrogen maybe you’re low

on a different nutrient

maybe you have compacted soils so you

kind of you need to do practices 2d

compact it if there’s one broad answer

here this is a recurring theme

throughout the show because it’s such a

almost like a magical solution is its

increasing the organic matter of your

soil and decreasing compaction is going

to go such a long way to fixing most of

the problems you have and so here again

if I were to paint one broad stroke this

would be the solution so if you if you

working to increase the health and

nutrient availability in your topsoil

especially with organic matter you’ll go

a long way to increasing the health for

your soil and when I say organic matter

I mean things like like mulch dup leaf

material mulching you’re making sure

you’re mulching your grass when you’re

mowing it providing physical wood mulch

in certain areas and as much basically

organic matter so your natural materials

your your your dead plant materials

right and and compost as well can be a

great way to do this because basically

the process of composting which I think

we’ll be talking about next episode the

poor maybe it’s a couple episodes away

at least but the process of composting

actually makes all these nutrients in

organic matter it breaks up down all

those tough materials and makes it

bioavailable to be picked up by by

plants and healthy organisms so great

stuff as well so okay so when it comes

to solutions if you have major problems

we’ll talk about those first okay so

when you’re talking about major problems

the steps are basically remove cover and

refill right okay so before I get into

the details of those I want to also

mention this is very similar to if you

go back to episode 10 and listen to that

episode which was how to start a new

garden bed I basically talked this

process in much more detail and so this

is if you have you know widespread

issues and you need to just kind of kind

of almost completely replace the the

landscape area with something

so if you have a garden bed that’s just

totally ever overrun with weeds or part

of your lawn that’s just totally gone

crazy with weeds or whatever this may be

the tactic you need to do so to not

spend too much time on this you know

check out episode 10 for sure if you

want to go too into more detail here and

I’ll have a link in the show notes for

that as well

but first the removal steps so here

we’re talking about mowing and so if

anything’s gone to seed I highly

recommend bagging you know mowing and

bagging so getting as much seed material

out of there to prevent especially the

annual weeds from germinating in the

future that would go a long way to kind

of breaking the life cycle of a lot of

these weeds now your perennial weeds

might be a bit more difficult to deal

with but the annual weed issue bagging

at the right time when the seeds you

know if you’ve if they’ve already gone

to seed getting those seed heads out of

there as quickly as possible and and

making sure you get rid of them is a

good thing and now if you have like kind

of like an abandoned space you can use

it as a mulch there if you’re going to

be covering up something with a heavy

cover like a like a cardboard or

something wait if you’re putting down

like a cardboard covering and mulching

over the top of it you can you can use

this this stuff you bagged and mowed up

just to make sure that the seeds aren’t

going to have the opportunity to

germinate so they don’t get enough air

they don’t get enough light exposure to

start germinating they don’t get their

normal indicators to germinate so if you

don’t have that maybe you have like a

waste pile or whatever and that you can

put it into but just make sure you get

it out of that space ok so then some

some people if you prefer like kind of

you know the chemical free process you

can do tilling over multiple times to

kind of break up the roots and this

usually requires over a couple weeks

where you have to repeat again and what

this does is it kind of runs the plants

out of energy so any seeds that are

there that will germinate and then util

it up again that kills them any roots

are there they’re kind of struggling to

grow back

and it kind of kills them again so you

have to do this over a course of a

couple weeks and so there is a certain

amount of work here but it does work

you could also cover the area right so

just completely smother it I prefer not

to use something like weed control

fabric unless I know for sure that that

I don’t want anything growing there in

the future and yeah but basically if you

know you don’t want anything growing in

there in most of the space you can use

something like a weed control fabric

know that it doesn’t last forever and

you want to make sure it always stays

covered because a lot of times these

things will degrade with UV light and

you have to get a good high-quality one

or it’s just not worth it

or you can do like a temporary barrier

that’ll s maybe a year or so like this

is where I kind of mentioned cardboard

or whatever it’s a in the organic

agriculture area it’s pretty popular to

use something like cardboard to kind of

establish a new space so you put down

any vegetative material under it like

stuff containing weed seeds potentially

and you put cardboard then you put

several layers of say compost and things

that don’t have weeds on top of them and

then followed by mulch so you really

covering up the space and and then you

can plant into you have to dig you know

down through the cardboard to plant then

but after about a year so that that

stuff will start to degrade and then

your plants can begin spreading

throughout okay so after covering you

can also do spray so there are of course

your typical synthetic chemical routes

as well as your your more friendly

organic routes but again spraying can

you know it has its drawbacks if you go

the synthetic chemicals usually they’re

very effective if you’re using the right

one for the right space but you’re also

you have potential health effects for

you and your landscape as well and the

organic ones generally speaking you’re

you’re losing effectiveness and so you

may have to do multiple treatments okay

the last thing I just want to say again

make sure you remove that seed material

or you’re covering up both the seed

material and the root

so that’s very important okay when it

talks about so the next piece I

mentioned so first was remove then cover

then refill so for covering what I’m

talking about here is reducing bare soil

spots that allow weeds to germinate and

grow so if you’re thinking about a

typical garden bed usually you have your

plants there there’s some space between

them and usually there’s some mulch

maybe but even with that mulch there

it’s usually not thick enough and not

enough of a barrier to prevent your

weeds from growing so you got to make

sure you have a good thick mulch mulch

that you’re putting down and know that

you’re gonna have to replace mulch on

kind of annually or semi-annually as the

lower layers start to degrade now the

nice thing about mulch if you’re buying

a good non-treated mulch and non dyed

mulch that it will continue to feed your

landscape and continue to build

fertility over the long term which is

really great but you also need to keep

adding your mulch to prevent weeds from

germinating there and it’s starting to

grow through it

okay so mulching is one option next is

planting so you could plant cover plants

or just plant more densely to where you

don’t have as many open spaces and this

can be very effective and usually a

combination of both is the most

effective thing to do so thinking about

okay where do I need to put mulch in

where do I need to put plants in and

where do I need how closely and how

thick and densely do I need to do both

okay so the last piece here is refill so

after you’ve removed everything you need

to replace with desired plants and these

desired plants think back to the weed

that you took care of and hopefully got

rid of right what was this growth habit

recall those growth habits and select a

plant that will thrive in that space and

maybe has a similar root pattern or has

similar nutrient needs or provides its

own nutrients in the same way that the

weed did so basically you’re you’re

considering the niche

this is getting into the biology space

right but consider the niche that the

plant filled right what was its service

to that space and and then pick a plant

that maybe has a similar service or

occupies a similar niche okay now as a

last resort with these big you know

these this large-scale problem stuff you

can consider amending your conditions

and or and or increasing your fertility

so an example here is so you have a lawn

that’s just full of dandelions right

well if you amend the pH to something

that’s a little better for grass and a

little worse for dandelions odds are

those dandelions start to struggle

struggle and similarly increasing

fertility usually is disadvantageous to

most of your typical weeds and

advantageous to the generally speaking

the desired plants so of course this is

a broad generalization but a lot of

times it goes a long way to helping

because again a lot of times your

undesirable weeds are the ones that are

growing in compacted disturbed areas or

your if you’re in a sandy location in

your your disturbed areas that are full

of erosion and don’t have much soil so

that’s why adding or fertility

especially through organic matter can

really go a long way to helping okay so

for more specific problems it’s very

similar but just on a more space

so here we can talk about physical

removal as being an option so you know

just pulling a few weeds here and there

if you’re talking about say less than a

hundred weeds right it might be easier

just to pull them all and then to fix

the problem as opposed to taking a more

extreme means measure you can also spot

spray right if you’re into the spraying

and then you amend to change the local

conditions if needed and that you notice

I mentioned this piece earlier than the

last resort piece of amending conditions

with larger scale problems that’s

because on the small scale it’s it’s

pretty easy to amend conditions as long

as of course you’re not doing something

here that you’re gonna need to do on a

recurring basis and providing extra work

for you if this is something you can

kind of

to help out now so like some topsoil or

whatever that might help the conditions

overall it might not be something you

have to do long term as Ewing and sure

as long as you ensure that you can

maintain that condition so like with the

top soil or compost as long as you can

continue to provide organic matter that

I’ll break down there and and kind of

self fertilize itself okay

so with the amending local conditions

also think about preventing erosion

adding fertility like I mentioned

covering with mulch and and those things

can all be ways that you can change

these local conditions now of course

like earlier you want to replace with

desired plants with the same kind of

considerations of what did the weed do

and can I put in a desired plant in that

space that maybe replaces that function

or does a better job at what the we did

and of course the last thing here I want

to mention with with any weed issues is

you want to spill fill the space fully

to prevent future weeds most often weeds

are there they’re there because there’s

an opportunity or a space right and

they’re taking advantage of an

opportunity that you left there for it

so take away the opportunity and you’ll

take away the weed problem okay so that

pretty much wraps up what I wanted to

talk about today with the weeds and I

hope you come away now with a a better

understanding of why the weeds there in

the first place right it’s not just this

you know they don’t have like a a

sentient mind right to sit there and be

like oh I’m gonna annoy this guy so bad

I’m gonna start growing right it on

right in his front yard where it’s gonna

drive them crazy you know or I’m gonna

be this this spike and you know what

okay I was gonna say I want to be this I

can’t even remember what they’re called

now the the bird the spikey bur wanted

that I’m just gonna grow right where

this this girl’s gonna step on them

without her flip-flops on and and you

know sticking her foot you know what I’m

talking about the are they like the

stance and birds or whatever that I was

just so glad at our area we don’t really

have these but man someplace is you know

you guys have some tough weeds to deal

with I get it and so weeds can be really


even not just to look at but sometimes

you know there are these prickly things

and stuff that are just a pain so I get

it and you know there’s ways we could

take care of these and again going

through this process will help take care

of a lot of your weed problems that

you’re going to have so if you guys are

interested in in saving time with your

landscape and you haven’t already done

so I strongly suggest you over to

aesthetic ecosystems comm slash 27 hours

and there you’ll find a free resource

I’ve put together on just some simple

habit changes you can do with your how

you treat your landscape and then we’ll

save you 27 hours of work over the

growing season so it’s definitely worth

checking out if you haven’t already done

so and again this you know they’re just

simple habit changes so it’s no

investment on your part and it really

gives you some time back and that’s

that’s what I want to teach you guys is

sometimes these things are just like a

little change in mindset or a little

change in your habits and it can go a

long way to making a difference in your

life and is also you know if you guys

have some specific help specifically

with the weeds right or with a design

questions or whatever

I offer consult consulting so you can go

over to aesthetic ecosystems comm slash

consulting and there you’ll see the

different options for my consultation

services so definitely check it out if

your something is something you want to

consider and you know before we wrap up

today too I just want to talk about a

few more things and that’s first of all

thank you guys so much for listening you

know this means it really really means a

whole lot for those of you that are

listening to be to be following me to be

subscribing and for that I’m very

thankful and with that too you know I

really want to provide a show that’s

valuable to you and to you all of my

listeners right and so I would love to

hear your feedback if you have any

feedback you can go over to ascetic

ecosystems comm slash pocked and they’re

right on that page there’s a feedback

form it you know it’s a Q&A question

form but it’ll give me feedback as well

so if you guys have any specific

feedback I’d love to hear it or you have

thoughts on show topics for the future

as well just let me know kind of drop me

a note there let me know your questions

let me know

your feedback what topics you want or or

you know been you really need to stop

doing this on the show or whatever just

I’d love to hear it you know and so head

on over aesthetic ecosystem stock comm

slash pod and drop me a note alright

with that guys you know I really enjoy

you come by today make sure you check

out the show notes I think the only

thing I mentioned today was episode 10

as well as links for the 27 hours guide

and any consultation services you might

need so check those out

also you know go back on to your your

listening device there and whether it’s

your iPhone or whatever and I click

subscribe guys make sure you get you

know the new shows dropped into your

writing your your player there okay now

it’s time to talk about the launch party

guys excuse me not party but partay the

launch party is for the first two months

of the show from March 11th through May

help spread a wart spread the word about

the show I really appreciate your

enthusiasm and interest in this show and

I want to get you guys involved and have

some fun while we’re doing it so this is

a chance to have some fun too for us to

get connected to win some prizes and

let’s talk about the prizes before we

talk about what we’re doing so what are

the prizes weekly I’m offering a free

consultation with me Ben Hale which is

normally a $99 value so one person each

week that gets involved in the launch

partay gets a free consultation I’m also

giving away a free offer for one of my

ebooks ten ways to get more beauty with

less work which is the $19 value next

the grand prize there is only one of

these were giving away through this

whole launch party so at the end of the

launch partay the organic lawn care

manual by Paul Tookie

so Paul Tookie himself has offered to

give away one free book to a lucky

winner that’s getting involved in this

launch party and this book is all about

how to manage a healthy lawn from

anything from a golf course style on to


low maintenance LAN which of course is

something I prefer here on this show

right I own this book I’ve read this

book multiple times I’ve give it away

it’s a kind of a tattered and worn

version that I have and I use some of

these practices in my own lines so I

love this book and I highly promoted as

well and you’ll hear me talk about it

throughout the show but Paul Tookie has

been kind enough to offer a copy of his

book as a grand prize and there’s also a

special surprise for everybody that’s

going to be getting involved in the

launch partay the rolling river nursery

out of California has offered a special

surprise for everybody that’s involved

the rolling river nursery is a USDA

certified organic nursery so I went

online and I looked around for nurseries

that have online availability ship

through the continental US and have some

great offerings and rolling river

nursery is being kind enough to become

involved with our launch party and

they’re not only are they online

availability but they also are certified

organic which means they don’t use any

harmful herbicides or pesticides that

you have to be concerned with your

family about and so what you’re getting

is a safe and healthy plant they also

offer a ton of edible plants and trees

and shrubs cacti and succulents so they

offer several trees and shrubs that are

adaptable throughout the most of the

United States so definitely worth

checking them out and in addition these

guys are also involved with a non-profit

in Southern California to help local

food movements called planting justice

org so if you want to learn more about

them you can go to rolling River nursery


and I also want to give a shout out to

Paul to Kies website for his organic

lawn care manual and his other works is

Paul to keep calm PA UL t uke Y and to

sum up guys okay you want to learn how

to get involved with this launch party

go over to aesthetic ecosystems calm

slash pod launch and that’s p OD lau nch

there’s a link in the show notes and

that’s that’s going to give you all the

instructions on how to get involved

there’s two ways specifically to get

involved one is through sharing with

your peeps on Facebook and

the other is through leaving a review on

iTunes both of these are gonna help

spread the word about the show and get

other people other friends listening to

it as well and I sure appreciate your

help here and likewise this is gonna be

a fun time so uh so gone over and to

ascetic ecosystems calm slash pod lunch

to get involved

alright guys with that you know thanks

for tuning in and make sure you live

with passion and make tomorrow better

than today