How to Kill Weeds Without Killing Plants

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Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves

  • Pre-emergent herbicide

  • Selective herbicide or post-emergent herbicide

  • Mulch

  • Newspaper

Remove weeds safely without harming your plants.

Weeds invade lawns and gardens, robbing the good plants from valuable nutrients they need to grow. Weeds are never completely eradicated because their seeds fall into the soil and remain viable. By taking the time to remove the weeds, you will keep the other vegetation safe. Some steps will help you keep many of the weeds from coming back into the garden.


Step 1

Pull the weeds by hand. Put on some gardening gloves and grasp the weed as close to the soil line as possible. Give a quick pull and the weed should come out of the ground--roots and all. It the weeds do not pull easily, or if they break off at the stem, water the area first.

Step 2

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the soil. It will kill weeds--but not your flowers or other grasses--before the weeds begin to grow. This type of herbicide prevents the weed seeds from germinating and is safe to use around plants. Apply according to label directions.


Step 3

Spray the area with a selective herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide designed to kill weeds but not grass and flowers. Read and follow label directions for application and amounts, as they can vary. Ask the clerk at the garden center for the correct herbicide.

Step 4

Lay down a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch, if possible. If you have a lot of space between plants, place 12 sheets of newspaper over the soil between plants. Cover the newspaper with mulch and the water it down to keep the newspaper on the ground when wind blows.