Image of a lawn weed. So Is It Better to Pull Weeds or Mow Them?

Is It Better to Pull Weeds or Mow Them?

Weeds pose a threat to your garden or yard as they suck away all the nutrients needed by your crops to grow. Hence, it is prudent to get rid of them before your plants starts becoming unhealthy . Also, weeds have a tendency to spring back even after removal which can be a nuisance even as you try to get a permanent solution to such problems. So, is it better to pull weeds or mow them? Getting the right answers for this question will be a step further in curbing weed related problems that affects your lawn.

Pulling weeds is more effective than mowing them using a lawn mower, string trimmer, or hoe. Moreover, the strategy removes the weed entirely, including the roots. Thus, you will kill the weed, and it will not grow back. On the other hand, mowing weeds leaves the possibility of having new shoots. So, eventually, they will grow again.

Nevertheless, mowing weeds has one advantage. It enables you to chop off immature seed heads and keep them from flowering and spreading seeds. Hence, you will slow the spread of some weeds. But still, you will not eradicate them.

That said, check out this article for more insight on weeds removal. We will also discuss the best measures to ensure that weeds are not a risk to your lawn.

Do Weeds Grow Back After Pulling?

Weeds will grow back if you only yank the leaves. So, grab the weed close to the soil and pull it up. Also, ensure that you do not leave some pieces of its root in the ground. Otherwise, you may come back later and find more weeds.

Fortunately, weed pulling is a popular activity that removes unwanted plants, including their roots. It involves identifying the weeds, loosening the ground, and pulling them out by their roots.

The strategy is pretty safe, and you will not worry about damaging your crops in the process. Even better, it does not require any harmful chemicals as all you need are your hands and time.

Most annual weeds like crabgrass and other grassy types have shallow roots and are easy to pull out from the soil. Hence, you are sure they will not grow back. On the other hand, perennial weeds such as dandelions have deeper roots. Thus, you may even need to use a tool for a perfect job.

Sometimes stubborn weeds keep popping back even after pooling. Here, it is time to consider a systematic herbicide that kills weeds. The chemical infiltrates the plant’s system and attacks it down to the root. Even better, it does not harm the grass or other crops.

How Do I Clear My Yard Full of Weeds?

The most common strategies for weed removal are pulling by hand or mowing and cutting with a hoe. We also have chemical products that help kill the woods. But these techniques have their pros and cons. 

So, it is wise to weigh them carefully before picking one.

  • Pulling Weeds by Hand

This strategy is the best, though the hardest. Remember that you can only succeed by removing the whole plant with its roots. Otherwise, the weed will soon sprout and give you some work again.

Luckily, weeds with shallow roots are very easy to handle as the job is complete once you hold the plant by the stem and pull gently. However, it is better to use a small hoe for those with deeper roots. Dig up the soil around the weed to loosen it. Then, grasp the stem firmly and pull.

You might have to dig deeper and try pulling the weed multiple times before removing the whole root. So, please use a sharp tool and schedule the project when you have time to do a good job.

  • Pulling Weeds With a Gardening Tool

Unfortunately, pulling weeds by hand is a back-breaking and time-consuming project. Hence, you will appreciate the help of gardening tools. Also, it is okay to use a regular gardening hoe for shallow-rooted weeds. But you are better of using a winged weeder for deep-rooted ones.

In addition, a winged weeder is easy to use. Place its blade next to the weed’s stem and press down vertically. Then, tilt the tool downwards towards the ground and remove the whole root.

Please note that using a weeder is more time-consuming than a regular hoe. It requires you to remove each weed alone. However, it works better for deeper roots and thus is worth the time investment.

  • Cutting Weeds With a Mower or Electric Weed Eater

It is simpler to cut weeds using a mower or electric weed eater, especially when covering a large area. However, the weeds may sprout again in the future because the roots remain underground.

Fortunately, you can avoid this scenario by using a weed suppressant like an inch of mulch. Once you cut the weeds and spread some mulch on the ground, you’ll prevent them from growing again.

Even so, there is a downside to mowing weeds. The process makes the plants hard to identify once you cut their signifying stalks and flowers. Thus, you can consider pulling the weeds before you mow.

  • Using a Chemical Weeding Product

You can use a weed killer with chemicals to eliminate the weeds if they are too many to remove manually. In addition, it is possible to spray the chemical directly on each weed for a better result. 

The limitation to this technique is that it is not eco-friendly, and the chemicals may affect the crops. Also, the chemicals may not kill the weeds entirely. They only kill the weed part they touch.

On top of that, you have to remove the weeds by hand after they die. But this process is much easier than pulling out live weeds. So, you do not need much time to remove them from the lawn.

That said, you may be wondering how to redeem a lawn overrun with weeds. Well, you may need to start from scratch. Also, please consider hiring a professional lawn care services provider to help you maintain it.

Here is a thorough guide on restoring a weed-infested lawn.

  • Identify the Weeds You in the Lawn. You will establish a better game plan when you know the type of weeds on the lawn. More so, weed treatment products work for specific weeds. Therefore, products that work on broadleaf weeds may not kill grass-like weeds.
  • Choose the Most Suitable Herbicide. Select the right product depending on weed classification and the stage in the weed’s life cycle. Pre-emergent chemicals handle weed problems before they spring up, whereas post-emergent ones focus on established weeds.

Also, remember that herbicides may kill whichever plant they touch, even if the product label says otherwise. Therefore, please handle them with care. You aim to re-establish the lawn, not kill other crops.

  • Apply the Treatment. Here, it is wise to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. In addition, apply the proper chemical at the right time. So, check out the weather forecast to avoid a storm washing away your herbicide.
  • Wait. The chosen weed treatment will determine how soon you can plant seeds. Remember that pre-emergent herbicides prevent grass seeds from growing. Thus, it is best to wait before planting the seeds.
  • Rake and Till. Rake as many weeds as you can once they turn brown. In addition, you use a tilling fork to pull out any extra weeds and prepare the soil for seeds or sods.
  • Dethatch and Aerate. This process helps break up thatch, the decomposing matter between the grass blades. Also, thatch is beneficial to your lawn as it provides more resilience and insulation from changes in soil moisture and extreme temperatures.

On top of that, aeration improves the grassroots’ access to nutrients, air, and water. You can get a core or spike aerator to break up the soil. However, ensure to have two or three passes in different directions.

  • Amend the Soil and Lay down the Seed. Now, you can proceed to soil amendment and ready the soil for the grass seed or sod. Also, seeds take a longer duration to grow and only blossom at certain times of the year. Conversely, sods grow quite fast, and you can plant them at any time of the year. Thus, it would be best to choose whatever option works for your lawn.
  • Water and Maintain the Lawn. Deep and infrequent watering establishes the lawn by helping plants get deep roots, which compete with weeds. Hence, water the lawn approximately twice a week. Also, fertilize the lawn and deal with weeds as soon as you notice them.

NB: The best time to remove weed is when the ground is moist, especially a day after a downpour. Damp soil is loose and helps you to remove the weeds with their roots. Also, you can hose the yard with water and let it soak overnight before weeding.

Do Landscapers Pull Weeds?

Absolutely yes! Landscapers pull weeds as a weed eradication strategy. This way, they remove the unwanted plants from the roots. And you will not have to call them to redo the job again days later.

On top of that, they lay mulch on the soil to cover the area to ensure the lawn appears evenly distributed. Even better, mulch helps to prevent further weed growth as it deprives the weed seeds of the light needed to germinate.

When Should You Pull Weeds?

It is prudent to pull weeds after rain as they tend to pop out as you pull miraculously. In addition, “pre-sprouting” is a common weeding style where you purposefully wait for spring rain before weeding the lawn.

You are safer pulling weeds like crabgrass, carpetweed, Japanese clover, lamb’s quarters, chickweed, knotweed, and annual sedge before they produce seed heads. Otherwise, the little seed heads will mature and scatter themselves in the lawn, leading to a greater weed battle.

Also, please consider pulling out weeds when you have enough time and the right equipment. Weeds such as dandelion, Queen Anne’s lace, Bermuda grass, purslane, and burdock will multiply in the yard if you just yank them willy-nilly.

How Can I Fix My Lawn Full of Weeds Without Chemicals?

It is possible to get rid of invasive weeds without resorting to chemical herbicides. Safer alternatives are available, but they need more persistence. Fortunately, the advantages of organic control measures far outweigh the negative health impact of chemical pesticides. 

Try some of these effective organic weed-control techniques.

  • Mulching. Mulching covers the soil with extra organic matter, which smothers and inhibits weeds. Even better, it prevents new weed seeds from germinating by denying them light. In addition, you can easily mulch with grass clippings, newspaper, bark, compost, cardboard, and straw. Therefore, there are so many options at your disposal.

Also, it is okay to put some old shower curtains, ground cloth, or other thick materials underneath gravel or wood chips pathways. This way, you’ll prevent invasive weeds from growing.

  • Hand-Digging. A shovel or hoe is a perfect spot treatment strategy for all weeds. Most weeds may come back and require you to dig again. However, consistent hand-weeding reduces their populations significantly.

Young weeds will not seed and reproduce when you dig them out promptly. In addition, it is best to regularly dig up thistles and dandelions as you weaken the root and eventually kill the weed.

  • Competition. Weeds cannot thrive when there is no growing space for them. Hence, you may keep them away by planting perennial plants and dense ground covers in ornament beds. Also, ensure that you get the appropriate grass varieties for drought or shade to avoid leaving an opening for unwanted visitors.
  • Regulate Food and Water. Nutrients and frequent irrigation will encourage both crops and weeds to grow. Thus, please consider giving your plants only what they need. Fortunately, well-established shrubs and perennial plants do well without extra moisture and fertilizer.
  • Solarize. This strategy covers weeds with a plastic sheet, which collects heat and bakes the weeds. Leave the sheet for four to six weeks and wait until the weeds underneath are desiccated and brown.
  • Limit Tilling and Digging. A no-till method helps to keep the soil intact and prevent new seed weeds from reaching the surface. Better still, the technique improves soil structure and fertility. Hence, only dig down as far as you need vegetable seeds to go.
  • Corn Gluten Meal. This alternative is a byproduct of the corn milling process and prevents weed seeds from growing. It is non-toxic to animals and works perfectly on lawns and other garden areas.
  • Vodka. Spray a mix of two water cups, one ounce of vodka, and a few drops of dish soap on weeds. Also, ensure that there is enough sun exposure to help dry out and kill the weeds. But avoid over-spraying the mixture on other regular plants.
  • Vinegar and Salt. Vinegar is an excellent remedy for dock and dandelion weeds. In addition, you can mix it with one tablespoon of liquid wash detergent and one cup of table salt for a better result.
  • Soap. Believe it or not, the oil in soap breaks down the surface of hairy or waxy weed leaves. Thus, add a few drops to vodka or vinegar sprays to help them stay on the leaves for a longer duration.
  • Boiling Water. Boil water and pour it directly on top of undesirable weeds. The scalding water will make the plants wither. Also, the strategy works for weeds growing in cement and pavement cracks.
  • Flame Weeding. This technique involves passing a flame over the weeds briefly to heat their tissues. Fortunately, you can easily get a flame weeder in your local hardware store. But remember that flaming only kills the weed parts above the soil. Therefore, it would be best to flame the plants a few times until they disappear.
  • Newspaper or cardboard. Smothering the weeds is suitable for side yards and pathways. So, lay down thick cardboard panels or newspaper sheets over them and add some mulch. The lack of air and light will eliminate low-growing weeds. 

NB: Glyphosate is the main herbicidal compound in most weed-killing chemicals. But although genetically modified food crops like soybeans and corn are resistant to glyphosate, there is no guarantee that the chemicals will not seep into food.

Worse still, glyphosate residue in food increases the damaging effects of environmental toxins and food-borne chemical residues. It can also disrupt normal body functions, leading to infertility, cancers, and Parkinson’s disease.

Thus, it is prudent to explore the above weed removal strategies before purchasing any herbicides.

How Much Does It Cost to Have Someone Pull Weeds?

You can easily get someone to help you with weed removal projects. Luckily, the average cost of pulling weeds ranges from $60 to $120 or $30 to $50 per hour, something you can easily afford. 

Also, a professional company charges about $300 to $1,000 for mid-sized yards. But you can budget on the low end if you have fewer flowerbeds. Also, you may pay less if the lawn only needs mulching.

Weed pulling rates may vary depending on the service provider, amount of work, and location. Thus, it is wise to ask upfront for a general price estimate. You do not want to panic when the bill arrives.

What Tool Is Used to Remove Weeds?

Hoes are the best tools to use when removing weeds. They come in handy when hand weeding seems impractical and can pull a large clump of deep-rooted or tiny weeds. Also, the tools come in various types, and you can choose whichever works best for the project.

The most common types of weed pulling hoes include:

  • Draw Hoe. It is a flat-bladed tool that works best when you pull it with the soil. Also, ensure that you get a sharp blade to facilitate better weeding.
  • Warren Hoe. This tool has a heart-shaped and pointed blade that creates furrows. In addition, it handles small weeds and in between rows.
  • Stirrup, Scuffle, or Dutch Hoe. The accessory cuts weeds at the surface in a pull/push motion. It is efficient and easy to use for weeding large areas.

Multi-purpose hoes such as the angled Japanese hoes are perfect for digging, weeding, and cultivating. But they are not suitable for large areas. On the other hand, the scuffle hoe is a good choice for widely dispersed weeds.

When Should You Rototill Your Lawn?

The best time to rototill your lawn is during the fall and spring periods. At this time, the soil is at the recommended temperature (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Therefore, the plants will be easy to till.

Too cold temperatures will make the soil too stiff, and it will be harder to till the plants. On the other hand, very hot temperatures will dry out the soil, making it difficult for plants to blossom naturally.

On top of that, it would be best to determine the size of your garden before rototilling. A small garden of about three to six feet long is easy to till manually, while a bigger space needs some equipment.

Also, it is prudent to wear protective gear regardless of the garden’s size. This way, you’ll protect your eyes from debris and dirt. Better still, your feet will be safe from the rototiller’s blades.

Lastly, consider taking the longest route when making paths through your lawn with a rototiller. This move will help you cover more garden areas without spending too much time in one place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Every home owners has one or two questions to ask about their lawns and here are some of the most frequently asked questions about lawns, weed and lawn weed management.

  • Why Is My Lawn Full of Weeds?

Poor grass growth is one reason your lawn is full of weeds. These invasive plants thrive in thin and unhealthy grass. Hence, you can keep them away by investing in tall, thick, and dense grass all over the lawn.

In addition, the lawn is vulnerable to weed infestation when you cut the grass too short. Fortunately, you can avoid this scenario by setting the lawnmower to the highest setting.

Insufficient water is another reason for weeds in a yard. These plants have robust root systems and compete with the grass for moisture easily. So, the weeds absorb the available water, even from the grassroots.

Finally, it would be best to avoid compact soil, whether from poor soil composition or excessive foot traffic. Otherwise, the grassroots will not access the water, nutrients, and air needed to grow. Worse still, this stressed turf delivers an excellent weed breeding ground.

  • Is Pulling Weeds a Waste of Time?

No. Pulling weeds is among the best weed removal strategies. Moreover, it is the most effective technique of removing weeds in small yards and gardens. But it can be a waste of time if the weeds are already out of your control.

It is better to wait until the soil is damp for the project to be successful. In addition, you may snap the weeds above the root during pulling if the soil is dry. Thus, they may grow back again.

Some weeds have deep roots. So, dig around the stem to loosen the ground before pulling the weed. Then, collect the weeds and get rid of them. Luckily, you can gather them in a compost pile for future use. Hence, you do not have to wonder where to throw them.

Even so, remember that pulling weeds is a slower weed elimination method. Thus, you need to invest some more time to complete the project. But it is never a waste of time. You remove the weed with its seeds. So, they will not grow back again!

  • Does Pulling Weeds Make More Weeds?

Pulling weeds does not make more weeds sprout. Instead, you may not have to stress about weeds in your lawn. However, you can get more weeds on the lawn after uprooting a weed that is about to drop seeds. These seeds remain in the garden and eventually grow back.

Besides, an uprooted, mature weed can leave weed seeds. Hence, please remove uprooted weeds from the lawn. Also, ensure that you dig around the weed’s stem to remove it with its root. Otherwise, it may shoot back.

A weed-chocked vegetable garden or lawn struggles because weeds are notorious water and nutrient hogs. Therefore, pulling them boosts the growth of other plants and allows them to be strong enough to prevent new weeds from growing. 

Conclusion

Weeds grow lawns, gardens, and yards, whether we like it or not. They compete with lawn grass and plants for nutrients and water. Even worse, the weeds grow everywhere and make the lawn less attractive. However, there are efficient weed removal methods that can solve this dilemma. Let’s look at two of them:

Is It Better to Pull Weeds or Mow Them?

Yes. You are better off pulling weeds than mowing them. Pulling weeds will help you ensure that the plant cannot grow back. On the other hand, the roots remain in the soil even after mowing. Therefore, the weed can spring up again and continue robbing nutrients of the soil. Also, you need to cut it multiple times to kill it.

Mowing over weeds does not harm the garden, but it does not solve the weed problem either. The invasive plants will recover from mowing the same way grass does, and you’ll soon have to deal with them.

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