7 Helpful Tips for Tackling Weeds in Your Garden

It’s Tuesdays in The Garden, and this week we are discussing planning for summer. I don’t know about you, but weeds are a major issue for me in the summer. I do my best to block with mulch in the spring, but come mid-summer watch out. Maybe you have the same problem. This is why today I’m sharing a few tips I use for tackling weeds.

7 Tips for Tackling Weeds in Your Garden

7 tips for tackling weeds in your garden.

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Identifying weeds in the garden.

1. Name That Weed

It’s very helpful to know what you are dealing with, by identifying the weeds that are growing in your garden. How many times have you mistaken a plant for a weed, or worse, torn out a plant that you thought was a weed. Yikes! There are many resources on the web for weed identification, a few good ones are mentioned in this article from A Way to Garden. There are also free apps, such as ID Weeds, and several concerning different areas of the country.  This lovely bright green weed shown in the photo above is petty spurge. It took me a while to figure it out. It’s everywhere this  year. I found out that it is an annual, with shallow root system, making it very easy to pull out or smother, depending on where it is located.

Garden Kneeling Pad


Tap Root Weed Tool


Hori Hori Knife

2. Tools of the Trade

Using the right garden tool is certainly a big help. I’ve listed three favorites above. A kneeling pad adds comfort and keeps your knees or pants somewhat clean. A tap root tool is perfect for dandelions and thistle weeds. This tool allows you to dig deep and pull out the whole root, so the plant does not grow back. Finally, somewhat new to gardening in my experience, is the Hori Hori knife. I love this one for it serrated edge which allows me to really scrape at all the little weeds that are emerging from the soil. I especially like to use this when planting smaller plants. It’s great for digging a the hole, and then at the same time you can dig around, and clean up the weeds in the area. Carry around a nice Garden Bucket Toolbelt with you for all your tools, and a place to put the weeds.

Mulching helps smother weeds and keep soil cool.

3. Mulch, Mulch and More Mulch

There is mixed information on this subject, but my personal experience says to mulch every year. I always have premium tree mulch delivered by the yard, to my home and mulch around (not on top or too close) every plant. I do not mulch heavily, just about 2 inches. This smothers the weed growth, cools the soil, and the mulch eventually breaks down into nutritious material for the plants. If you don’t like the idea of shredded tree mulch, try shredded leaves, pine straw or cocoa bean hulls.

Weeds growing in hostas4. Tackle One Area at  Time

For some reason every one of my hosta in this one bed is covered in petty spurge and bidens. Both are easy to pull out, so hand weeding it the way to go. It can seem daunting, so I just tackle one area at a time. Once a day or once a week for even 30 minutes, if that is all you have time for, will get the job down. 

Weeds growing in the middle of plants

5. Bring Out the Big Guns

Ok, don’t hate me. I confess that I have used Roundup®. Using a paintbrush I often paint it on any unwanted weeds growing in the middle of a plant with a strong root system, like this wild rose growing in the middle of my geranium plant shown above. Not a fan of using non-organic? You can try vinegar or other insecticidal soap products that are said to be just as effective.  Read more about organic weed control.

Dandelion flower going to seed.

6. Nip Them in the Bud

When you walk by a plant and see a weed in bloom, or worse ready to set seed like this dandelion shown above, stop what you are doing, and take a second to remove that seed head. You may not have time to dig out the root, but you will have stopped it from spreading everywhere. By the way, the same is true for your herbs but for a different reason. You want to cut of blooms of herbs, so that the plant will continue to grow and produced more foliage.

Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' in bloom.

7. Give Yourself A Break

Finally, give yourself a break. Weeds will come, and weeds will go, and sometimes you need to live with a little imperfection. Instead of focusing on tackling weeds all the time, focus on the beautiful flowers, like this pretty elderberry shrub in flower shown above.


Tuesdays in the garden group photo.Now let’s see what my fellow Tuesdays in the Garden friends are sharing this week. 


 5 Tips for a Thriving Summer Garden

5 Tips For a Thriving Summer Garden  @ Frugal Family Home


Tips for beautiful vegetable gardens from P Allen Smith's Farm.

Tips for Beautiful Vegetable Gardens @ Simplify Live Love 


 Guide to summer gardening

Guide to Summer Gardening @ An Oregon Cottage


How to grow healthy leeks. Growing Healthy Leeks @ Homemade Food Junkie


A tour through the garden in June.June Garden Tour  @ The Freckled Rose 

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

Affiliate Account Hearth and Vine/Patti Estep is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


  1. These are awesome tips and I tell you those weeds are something else. I have an ongoing battle with nut grass. Last year I used Deep mulch with hay and went ahead and did the same thing this year because we had it after the fields were cut. You just have to make sure it’s chemical and seed free. It works great and I like it for our lifestyle but not sure how well it would be received in the suburbs. This year I went thick because who knows what will happen to this place after we leave. It helps and I only have to weed once or twice a week while I water so it’s a breeze. I like number 7 – I’ve been applying that approach to a lot of things lately.

    • Hi Carole,

      Thanks for your input. You never know what people will want to do in the suburbs and I’m sure there are others who will read this who are not in the suburbs like me. Regarding number 7, grace is a good thing. 🙂

  2. I never thought of applying round up with a paint brush on a weed in the middle of a plant. Great idea! And I don’t hate you for using roundup, sometimes you have to pull out the big guns! 🙂

    • Hi Mary,

      Thanks for your support. I know a lot of people do not like any chemicals on their gardens, even if it is just on the flower beds. I totally respect that, however, I also don’t want others to know that I personally am ok with using Roundup in my yard.

      Have a great week!

  3. I love your tip of painting on RoundUp with a brush. We selectively use RoundUp in our garden in the flower beds but skip it in the backyard where we grow our plants for food and our dogs hang out.

    I have a tap root weeder and it works so well, I’d be lost without it. I only wish our neighbors would be as good about weed control and then we all could enjoy fewer weeds in our gardens. 🙂

    • Hi Shelly,

      Glad to hear that I’m not the only one using Roundup. I totally get not using it in edible spaces, and respect all of those who oppose it. To each his own. That being said, what are you going to do about neighbors? Dandelions, as I’m sure for many, are abundant here. It only takes one bad apple to let their lawn go to crap, and a little wind flow, for them to make their way to our gardens. Oh well, that’s life.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  4. I hate weeds and weeding and that’s a large reason for why I transitioned part of my garden over to raised beds this year. My best tip for weeding is to get the weeds when they’re little because they’re so much easier to pull out! Thanks for sharing your tips, Patti!

    • Hi Michelle,

      That is a great tip and I hope people read this because I should have impressed this issue too. I have a huge grass problem on my one hillside bed. Letting it go causes so many problems because the mature grass is so much harder to pull out.

      Have a great week!

  5. I will never judge another person about using Roundup. When we had a little 50×100 lot in the city surrounded by fences it was easy to be all organic and look my nose down on any who strayed. Then I encountered bindweed. It killed by smothering a number of plants including a rose bush. The only thing that worked was roundup.
    Then we moved to the country surrounded by fields and with huge swaths of gravel drives that grows nothing but weeds in our moist climate. Sigh. We tried every type of weed killer on that gravel: torching, vinegar, salt, organic weed killers, pulling and scraping regularly. Annnd we had a nice crop of weeds and grass taking over the driveway. Again, roundup.

    I can’t believe we use it sometimes, but maybe being a little thoughtful with it, using only when all other options fail – and doing like you and painting it on (genius!) – is better than letting weeds run rampant, reseeding and taking over everything. 🙂

  6. O boy. WEEDS! We have spent that last five years developing strategies for keeping the weeds under control in our garden and (way too many) flower beds. Finally resorted to plastic and beauty bark or straw mulch. Somewhat effective but as you say not perfect.
    I Love your tips. Those tools look great. I have never tried any of them so I’ll look them up.

    • Hi Diane,

      While anyone who has every lived with an outdoors area has come in contact with weeds, you never know when you may be able to pick up a new tip or area on ways to combat them.

      Thanks for your input and have a great week!

  7. Weeds are the absolute worst, especially in July for me. I feel like I come home from a vacation, and they’ve taken over! It’s always a nightmare, so these tips are much appreciated. I don’t know what I’d do without my Hori Hori knife. I’m also making a big push to add more mulch this year. I skipped last year, and boy did I pay for that! I’ve learned the earlier I pull weeds in the season, the easier it is on myself in the later months. Plus, being outside and weeding in the mid-summer heat is a no go for me. Great guide Patti 🙂

  8. I appreciate that someone else is working on the weeds in the garden. It seems I cannot keep up, but gravel paths have worked for me. And I am still battling those wild violets from spring that are so cute then, but 20x bigger now…and multiplying.

    I like to hurry and weed after a soaking rain. There is just something about the satisfaction of getting the whole weed out – with the entire root!

    • Hi Kim,

      Yes, pulling weeds after it rains is a great tip. It can get pretty dry here in late summer and that’s when the weeds try to take over and are so hard to pull out.
      Thanks for sharing and stopping by,

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