9 Methods to Control Weeds Organically

methods to organic weed control

There are many different ways to control weeds organically, but not all of them are smart. Considering the consequences of using a particular technique may be in your best favor.

For example, using salt can help kill weeds by dehydrating the plants. However, you would only want to use this technique in areas such as sidewalk cracks or between pavers.

Do not use it in areas like your garden or lawn because sodium chloride is a toxic metal ion and can do more harm than good.

Using salt could potentially make the ground infertile for years. Keep reading to see the top ten ways to control weeds organically.

Grow a Thick, Lush Lawn

growing thick lush lawn

Prevent weeds from moving into your garden in the first place by growing a thick, lush lawn. If the weeds do not have room, they will not grow. 

Proper lawn care really is the best medicine for a thick, healthy lawn because weeds have a higher chance of taking over your lawn when it is stressed.

With Gecko Green’s comprehensive lawn care program, you can rest assured knowing that your lawn is in the best hands!

Additionally, if you schedule two aeration services a year, your lawn’s roots will have that much more room to grow, keeping the weeds out.


Topping is one of the simplest yet most important organic weed control tips we recommend to gardeners who, despite their best efforts, can’t seem to keep up with the weeds.

It’s a simple rule: never allow a weed to seed. Even if you don’t have the time or energy to dig out the entire weed, topping entails cutting off weed flowers and seeds before they are shed.

This is especially important for reducing the number of weed seeds in the soil (referred to as the weed seed bank).

Topping is essential when dealing with annual weeds like crabgrass, trefoil, lamb’s quarters, and purslane, as well as perennial weeds like Canada thistle and dandelions.

Cut the developing seed heads with a hand scythe or mow the plants before they develop seeds.



Covering your garden soil with organic matter can suffocate and inhibit weeds while also preventing new seeds from germinating.

There are many different types of mulch, including wood chips, compost, grass clippings, and straw. Just make sure to avoid hay, as it contains a lot of unwanted seeds.

Additionally, make sure to use this technique early in the season (late March, Early April) before annual weed seeds can germinate. Also, make sure that you remove all the existing weeds first.

Newspaper or Cardboard

Like the previous technique, covering your weeds with newspaper or cardboard can choke them out!

To use this technique, you will want to water the bed deeply and then lay either newspaper (10 sheets thick) or cardboard on top of the weeds. Just make sure you lay the material around any ornamental plants.

Then, top the paper or cardboard with about 3 inches of mulch and water it in. Leave it in place for 6-8 weeks for the weeds to die back.


Similar to the previous two techniques, this technique starves the weed roots. First, cut any existing weeds all the way down to the ground.

Then, add a dark-colored tarp over the entire area and completely pin the edges down with soil. Allow the tarp to remain in place for several months to choke the weeds.

However, keep in mind that this technique can harm soil life and should only be used on the toughest weeds and as a last resort.

Flame Weeding

flame weeding

This technique is probably the most fun, but it is also the most dangerous. This technique includes using intense heat to kill weeds, typically produced by a propane torch or other fuel-burning device.

This organic weeding method causes the water and sap inside the plant cell to boil and expand, which causes the cell walls to rupture, resulting in plant death.

This method is best used on small, young plants and is more effective on broadleaf weeds than grasses. It is most effective in areas such as cracks in driveways, patios, and sidewalks.

Just ensure you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, avoid flame weeding when it’s windy outside, never use it near dry grass or other combustible materials, and wear appropriate clothing.

Hand Pulling

Hand-pulling weeds can be a lot of work, but it’s less harsh on your body if you use a stand-up weeder like this one.

They are simple to use; all you need to do is place the claws over the weed, step on the foot pad, and then bend the handle back to extract the weed.

Since the claws grab the weed, similar to a claw machine game, you’ll have more fun doing it this way than being on your hands and knees.

Limit Tilling and Digging

hand pulling weeds

Tilling or turning over garden soil will bring new weed seeds to the surface. Instead, try no-till gardening, where you disturb the soil as little as possible.

For example, when planting seeds, only dig down as far as you need to plant them and leave the surrounding soil alone.

This also improves soil structure and fertility and increases the population of beneficial organisms in the soil.

Organic Pre-emergent Herbicides

Lastly, if the weeds you’re fighting are mostly annuals, using an organic pre-emergent weed killer usually solves the problem.

These granular products, made from corn gluten meal, are sprinkled over the soil surface to form a layer that prevents all seeds from germinating (including desired seeds, so be careful not to use them where you want things to grow from seed).

Organic pre-emergent herbicides significantly reduce weed seed germination when used according to label directions.

Contact a Weed Control Tech

If you’ve tried some of these and they did not work for you, or you’d rather delegate the job to someone else, call Gecko Green! Our comprehensive lawn care program contains pre- and post-emergent weed control to keep your lawn looking its best year-round!

Call for a free quote today!