There are many reasons people may choose to not use chemical weed killers in their yard, including concern for children, animals or the environment. But choosing not to use herbicides doesn't condemn home owners to a yard riddled with weeds. There are plenty of residential weed control methods that are safe and effective.


Barriers are an effective way to keep weeds from sprouting up in flower beds. Weed barrier cloth can be found at garden centers and hardware stores, and it's both effective and easy to use. The weed cloth is simply placed in the flower bed and covered with mulch. For planting, it's simple to cut holes in the cloth to plant flowers or shrubs; however, keep in mind that barrier cloth will keep a plant from spreading. For a low-cost alternative, newspapers can be spread under a layer of mulch. Both the newspaper and the mulch will reduce weed growth, but it isn't a permanent solution because the newspaper will break down and disintegrate over the season.

Crowd Them Out

Weeds are opportunistic. If there's free space and a little soil, water and light, they'll grow. The good news is that healthy, desirable plants can keep them out of flower beds and lawns. If a vigorous ground cover takes over a flower bed or lawn, there will be no room for weeds to grow.

Organic Methods

Many kitchens contain products that will kill weeds. Drenching weeds in vinegar or pouring boiling water over them will kill them, but may not entirely eliminate extensive root systems. Vinegar and boiling water also will kill anything in their path, so people who use this method should apply the vinegar or boiling water with care.

Care for the Soil

Healthy soil that is well tilled, drained and properly fertilized will keep out weeds, mainly by promoting growth of desirable plants. Many universities or garden centers will test soil for gardeners trying to create perfectly balanced and healthy soil.

Pull Them Out

Some weed growth is inevitable, but those weeds shouldn't be allowed to spread. Gardeners who remove weeds before they go to seed have less of a problem with weeds than gardeners who don't. For example, dandelions should be pulled before they turn into those puffballs of seeds that spread the weeds all over the yard. Vigilance is important, and weeds should always be pulled before flowers appear. One or two seasons of consistent weed-pulling will dramatically reduce the number of weed seeds lying in the soil waiting to sprout.   

If you still can't keep the weeds out of your yard, consider contacting a company like Snyder's Weed Control for assistance.