Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weeding the easy way

So today I have no pretty pictures – just weeds. And overgrown plants. And siding that still has holes in it from the hail damage a year ago. I bet you’re really excited! :)

I’ve been working outside over the past couple of weeks to get the beds ready for mulch. I saved this side of the house for last because…well, I hate this side. It’s ugly. I planted these bushes shortly after we moved in and I don’t like them. Not even sure what any of them are but they don’t fill in well and they don’t grow very big and I can’t wait to pull them out. 

That’s how I feel about that. ;)

There’s also a big open spot where there used to be another bush that died years back – the weeds have taken over that area:

getting rid of prickly weeds

Do you have these weeds? I can’t remember what they're called. I have a special name for them. I call them prickly *#@*$*%:

getting rid of prickly weeds

UGH. They will take over if you don’t stay on top of them. I hear they are really nasty too – you are supposed to get the entire root in order to get rid of them. Something about just pulling them will make them spread? I’m not sure, but over the years I’ve learned the best way to remove them.

I found this weeding tool years ago at Lowe’s I think – you can find it online here or at Amazon:

best weeding tool It’s called the rocket weeder and I LOVE IT. It’s my favorite gardening tool, hands down.

The bottom has a claw and a foot lever, and the top has a puncher:

rocket weeder weeding tool

So you push the claw into the base of the weeds and then either rock it back towards you so the lever pushes down, or you can use your foot to push it:

getting rid of prickly weeds

This makes the claw clamp down on the root and then you pull it up and push the button at the top to get it to pop out. It’s fabulous!

No getting down in the dirt to dig them out with your hands! I used to have a process of spraying weed killer at the base of the plant, then pulling them with my hands (with really thick gloves on). This tool gets deep enough to pull the entire root up (if not most of it) and I don’t have a problem with them growing back. Other areas, sure. But not the same exact spot. :)

The weeder even gets the really tall ones that are, ahem, a couple feet tall:

pulling prickly weeds

Have you ever tried pulling one of these out of the ground? The buggers hurt!! Hence the cussing. (When you toss them makes sure to grab them at the root to avoid getting stuck.)

So here’s my gorgeous after! Prepare yourselves for the beauty!:

getting rid of weeds the easy way

Ugly bushes and holes in the siding are still there, yes. But the weeds are gone! :)

I’m waiting to address this area till we hear back on quotes for the possible dream project in the back – this area will get a lot of wear from trucks if we go ahead with it.

But at least the prickly weeds are gone, and I barely had to do any work:

getting rid of prickly weeds I seriously love this thing! I use it in the yard for dandelions too. I mean, if you have a ton it’s not your best option, but it makes quick and easy work of a few here and there. It’s quite satisfying to use too. :)

Do you have a garden tool you can’t live without? Any advice on the weeds?

36 comments:

  1. That weed is called Thistle. It a poky bugger!!! The only way I can seem to get rid of it is by using round up on it. You can pull it out but like you've noticed a root will just grow another one. If you worried about the round up spray hitting other plants you could paint it on with a foam paintbrush.

    Liz VanKirk

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  2. We have those weeds and I call them the same thing (#*$%&%(# !!
    We have found that if we spray them with Round up right way when they start coming up and keep on top of spraying every one we see, they don't come up as often.

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  3. Fiskars makes a very similar weed popper and I LOVE it! Went around and did our whole yard in no time. We still have to use fertilizer with the weed prevent mixed in because we live in a newer neighborhood with vacant lots and they will take over. It's nice to not use it in our backyard where our small boys play and I can just stay on top of them there since it's a much smaller area to manage.

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  4. Thistles. Just hand pulled about 50 of them on Saturday. They're a curse. Make sure the ground is really wet to pull out the root. Preen weed and feed does not seem to keep them under control like it does with other weeds. Had baby trees growing in my basement window well so I poured a whole box of good old Morton's salt and a gallon of white vinegar on them. They are dying nicely.

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  5. THISTLES! The curse of my side yard. I have poured straight total vegetation killer on those buggers and they don't die! Thanks for the tip on the weed puller!

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  6. I had no idea they were thistles. We always just called them the picky weeds. At our last house, we had them everywhere! I think someone "imported" them and then they started to take over the street. I'm so thankful our current house doesn't have them but I'm pinning that weeding tool just in case! :)

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  7. It is thistle! I have them in my backyard. Yuk!

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  8. My husband is my favorite garden tool. Weed pulling kills my back and hands and I just totally don't do it anymore... but he does it GREAT! And he's free! LOL

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  9. I always thought thistle flowers (I'm not familiar with it at all). Those look like stinging nettles to me. I pull them out with my rubber coated garden gloves. I've found there are less prickles if you grasp them by the base of the root though you still need to watch the top of your hand then. Thankfully I haven't noticed any in our new yard.

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  10. I really must get one of those tools. I saw one just a week or so ago and did not buy it. Now I wish I had. Sounds like it works great!

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  11. Oh boy... the joys of the thistle :( I know.. we had them near the patio. And I guess some sweet little birds ate some seeds, and perched on a wire near the front lawn and deposited them all there... so we had a nice line of them about 4 feet long to contend with. The nerve of the birds...

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  12. I have not thistle. But, I do have a favorite garden tool. It's an itty bitty shovel. I don't know if it has a name but it's just like a big shovel with a spade type shovel scooper but the whole thing is like 3' long from end to end. I use it for everything-even weeding!

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  13. My favorite tool is a korean hoe - basically a short hoe that chops through a lot of weeds.

    Since the roof has a wide overhang, the area under the overhang doesn't support having plants. I put weed block cloth and rocks in this area that is about a foot wide. My plants are further out from the house with no branches touching the house. It is easy to put weedkill and insect kill on the rocks and anything that comes up is easy to pull. Since I live in the south, it is not good to have wood mulch next to the house unless you like termites and spiders and other nasty creatures.

    Liz

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  14. HOLD. THE. PHONE. Never heard of such a thing!!! It really works good?? I spend so much time with thick gloves on pulling weeds & cussing because I can't get roots!!

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  15. For the last two years, I have practiced the cardboard and cover method of weed control for my border beds. I have rubber mulch so it doesn't get replaced every year. I rake it aside, sprinkle a pre-emergent, lay down non-coated cardboard (that I've collected as it comes through the house), spread out the rubber "bark" and hose it off to clean the bark. The cardboard chokes off the weed babies, the pre-emergent deters new weeds from showing their faces in the fall and the cardboard decomposes slowly back into the soil. The second year not every area needed cardboard again. I'm still learning with this method but so far its awesome!!

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  16. I was pulling those stinking thistles out of my mother's flower beds this past weekend. She will be getting one of these tools or she will be doing her own weeding from now on!

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  17. I literally just came inside from weeding in my yard!!!! Thank you, for sharing.

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  18. Going to get one of these tomorrow as I have many weeds waiting to be pulled.

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  19. UGH, we have a forest of these in the unseen side of our house (I swear it was bare when we looked a couple of weeks ago!). I may have to check this tool out!

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  20. Thistle. Really common when people set out bird food as it is very common in the feed mix. Skip the thistle feed and use sunflower seeds :) They are evil to get out though

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  21. My go to garden tool is a hula hoe! It has a rectangle end and if I run it through my beds once a week it not only breaks up the weed roots but also makes your soil look fresh! RIP weeds!!

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  22. They are Thistle, don;t feed the birds with thistle seeds, cause this us what happens.

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  23. Oh, my word, I read more reviews at Amazon and ordered this so quickly, the keys on my laptop are burning! Here on Cape Cod, there are nasty, thorny vines of all sorts, and I often ponder those poor Pilgrim forefathers who must have had a dickens of a time dealing with them when they first cleared the land for planting. I'm highly allergic to their scratches, so I'm looking forward to pulling out those nasty plants more safely. Why is it that the plants we don't want have such diabolical strength and tenancy?

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  24. More specifically, it's Canada thistle (don't blame the Canadians, it's actually from Europe) and the reason it's so hard to get rid of is that the plant can regenerate from any part of the rootstock. I dig and spray with weedkiller.

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  25. My biggest problem this year is dandelions. We have sprayed and pulled and sprayed and pulled. Some days I just go out there and pick the flowers, and by afternoon, there are 50 more. Literally. ugh! I'll have to keep this handy little tool in mind for the next house, because I don't want one more thing to pack up! :)

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  26. not just thistle, but as Anonymous said Canada thistle and you may be dealing with it for years. It forms underground runners and spreads that way also, so keep an eye on your lawn also. I'm dealing with in in my garden for 10 years (former pasture). My dad has been battling a patch in a pasture for 40 years. No that's is not a typo - forty years. :-(

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  27. PS - don't blame it on bird seed - it's a totally different plant. I won't say the bird seed won't germinate, but it's not thistle, even though it's often called that.

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  28. We had thistle too, I used the same tool. I have a lot of dandelions and violets, and that's my best advice for them: see them as wildflowers and enjoy them... they make a garden so much more interesting...

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  29. I have a 20 year old version if the same tool made with what looks like a cage of nails that will grab the weed. Still works great!!

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  30. I need one of those!! please do share your post at this weeks garden party at Fishtail Cottage! oxox, tracie

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  32. THANK YOU. I get so much satisfaction from your blog because you share tips that are so relevant and useful! I am weeing the flower beds this weekend and looking forward to using this tool!

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  33. That one purplish shrub looks like a Barberry. I have them along my driveway, like them because the dog will NOT mess with shrubs with thorns. Also the birds love the tiny berries on them in the spring. If you take it out and give it a place where it can go, it can grow up to 5'. I never prune mine and the branches go every which way, much like an enormous fern shape. Good luck.

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  34. I have the same tool, but I call it a weed plunger. I love it! Something about pulling up the weeds is really cathartic!

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  36. Oh, goodnight! Who needs a weed tool other than 2-4D or Round-up? Round-up will kill grass too. The herbicide 2-4D will not kill grass. Yes, both herbicides will kill any flower but just spray down into the plant on a sunny, warm day and there will be no more pulling weeds.

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