How do I control weeds using mechanical means, such as cultivation or hand pulling?

Question: 

How do I control weeds using mechanical means, such as cultivation or hand pulling?

Answer: 

Cultivation and hand pulling effectively control most annual weeds. It is very important to destroy these weeds while they are small, before they produce thousands of seeds, guaranteeing a weed problem for many years in the future. Like annual weeds, perennial weeds are easy to control when in the seedling stage. Once they become established they are very difficult to control because of their perennial root system and rhizomes. Repeated cultivation of perennial weeds is necessary, being careful to not chop up or leave behind plant pieces that can root to become a new plant, multiplying the problem. 

When cultivating the garden, avoid deep tillage. The roots of many desirable plants grow near the soil surface. Deep cultivation will cut off some of these roots. Also, deep cultivation will bring deeply buried weed seeds to the soil surface where they can germinate. When hand pulling, work in the garden a day or two after a soaking rain or water the garden 24-48 hours before weeding to make pulling and digging easier. 

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on . The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.