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A good layer of mulch keeps down weeds in the garden. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/92277165@N00/5968592587/">MyNrChimki</a>, Craetive Commons, some rights reserved
A good layer of mulch keeps down weeds in the garden. Photo: MyNrChimki, Craetive Commons, some rights reserved

Getting the better of weeds

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As the growing season kicks into gear, flowers and vegetables are in a race against weeds. And the weeds will win, unless the playing field is knocked askew by some timely intervention from the gardener. Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy shares some tips.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

Keeping up with weeds can become a full-time job for gardeners, especially given recent rain and sun. Fortunately, two key practices can help you to win the battle.

The first key to weed management is early intervention. Although they may not look very threatening as tiny weedlings, you should cull young weeds from your garden as soon as possible. Amy recommends a specialized tool called a stirrup hoe, which you use to disturb the growth and root systems of these little weeds. Even tiny weeds that you might have ignored at first glance can turn into formidable weed colonies in only a few days.

The second key is mulch. Use it to stifle any aspiring weeds in flowerbeds and around the garden. Natural mulch, which includes grass clippings, chopped up leaves, shredded wood or bark, straw, hay and other organic matter, should be spread in flowerbeds and vegetable patches to discourage the growth of weeds that would rob your plantings of nutrients.

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