Environmental Education

Read about our Environmental Education with K-12 youth.

View All Posts

May 18

Garden With Kids - Weeding

Posted on May 18, 2020 at 8:19 AM by Rebecca Crust

Weeding your Garden

Weeds are any plant in your garden that you did not intend to grow. They usually hinder the growth of garden plants by taking up nutrients, water, and space. Removing weeds on a regular basis keeps your garden happy and healthy, but there are ways of weeding that use less energy and prevent more weeds in the long term.

Things to consider before you start weeding:
  1. Identify the weeds in your garden before you pull them. Some plants are poisonous or irritating on bare skin. Others require special equipment to remove, like leather gloves or chemical herbicide. Some weeds may not be dangerous but can quickly come back if you do not remove them in a certain way. On occasion, some weeds are beneficial volunteers that you want to keep. Lastly, if you think a weed in your yard is noxious and cannot be removed with the tools your family has, contact your local noxious weed control agency for assistance.
  2. Pace yourself. Do not try to weed an entire yard in one day. It is okay to do small chunks of your garden over the course of several days or weeks. The most important thing to consider is your physical health. If you feel tired or sore- take a rest. Take regular water and snack breaks, especially on hot days. Listen to your body and how it feels, the last thing you want while gardening is a pulled or overworked muscle.
  3. Have a designated place for yard waste. You may have a yard waste service bin or a pile in a corner. If you choose to have a waste pile, try to turn it over occasionally to prevent weeds from growing out of it. You can add food waste to it and make a compost if you care to do so.

Different types of plants can require specific removal techniques, but the following is a general technique that works for almost anything.

  1. Prepare for weeding by putting on gloves and getting a hand trowel. To prevent irritation by soil or plant material, you may also want to wear a long sleeve shirt appropriate for the weather.
  2. Put the pointed end of the trowel next to the base of a weed (but not on it).
  3. Angle your trowel downwards so that it is parallel with the plant’s stem.
  4. Push your trowel into the soil as far as it will go.
  5. Push the end of your trowel handle down and away from the plant. This should dislodge the part of the plant called the taproot.
  6. Repeat dislodging the weed if needed.
  7. Pull the loose weed out of the soil and shake any soil attached to the roots back into your garden.
  8. If a weed is being difficult, it’s okay to ask an adult or bigger kid to help you remove it.
  • Never set a tool down where it could get stepped on. Lean your trowel against a vertical surface like a wall when you are not using it.
  • A trowel is a tool, not a toy. Swinging or throwing it around could result in someone getting hurt.