How to Clear Overgrown Weeds

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Be careful when using chemicals around areas where children or animals are.

Begin by removing weed seed pods or heads.

Land that is overrun with weeds can decrease the value of a property. It is also a wasted opportunity, since it could be turned into useful outdoor living space and used to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers. Clearing overgrown weeds requires some manual labor, but the sooner you can attend to it, the easier it will be. The time it takes to clear the weeds will depend upon how aggressive you are in your methodology.

Step 1

Examine the site carefully to ensure that the overgrown weeds are not hiding any plants that you want to save or objects that can damage equipment.

Step 2

Remove any evident seed pods or heads on the weeds. You do not want them dropping to the ground and germinating.

Step 3

Cut as much of the overgrowth down as possible, using a weed whacker, scythe, machete, or pruning shears.

Step 4

Rake up and remove the weeds you have cut down. You will now be able to tackle the removal of the weed root systems.

Step 5

Dig out weeds, making sure you dig deeply enough to remove their full root systems. This can be difficult, given the strong and spreading nature of many weed varieties. If you have a large area or a dense soil composition to deal with, renting a rotavator to break up the ground surface will save time.

Step 6

Apply a glycophosphate-based weed killer to any remaining weeds on a dry day, when rain is not forecast. The weed killer will kill stubborn weeds and root systems in, approximately, two weeks to one month. If you are reluctant to use a chemical preparation on the weeds, you can use an organic method of weed killing such as smothering.

Step 7

Cover the weeds with an old rug or carpet, or a thick, black plastic sheet. This will prevent light and water getting to the weeds. This method may take more than a year to thoroughly kill the most stubborn of weeds, but it will work.


Helen Harvey

Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.