Regardless of how well you clean and maintain your garden, there’s always a chance that you’ll find weeds growing inside it. These weeds can be a hassle to remove, but they can also affect your plants’ health and the garden’s aesthetics. However, you can eliminate them, and timing is the key to effortlessly pulling weeds.
You can pull weeds immediately after it rains because rain—or water from any other source—softens the soil and makes plant roots come out quickly. In fact, this practice is common among many farmers and gardeners worldwide.
And while timing is a crucial part of this weeding method, you must learn how to do it correctly. After all, the softened soil could affect other plants in the area. In this article, I’ll discuss how to remove weeds after it rains, examine how weeds affect your garden, and go over the best time to weed your garden.
Can You Spray Weeds After It Rains?
Herbicides are an easy and effective way to deal with weeds—regardless of what plant you’re dealing with or how much overgrowth you have. However, the gardening community has always had different opinions about the best time to spray weeds for excellent results.
So, is it okay to spray weeds after it rains?
Weed killers might seem like complex, toxic poisons, but they need ideal conditions to work effectively. In fact, most herbicides need to enter the plant through the leaves or roots to work.
You can spray weeds after it rains, but wait until the soil and plants are somewhat dry before using herbicides. Rainwater on the plant or soil can dilute the herbicides or form crude barriers that prevent absorption, resulting in inefficiency.
I’ve written quite a lot about weeding and using weed killers. You can check out my guide on weed killers to learn more about how they and how long they can linger in the soil: How Long After Spraying Weeds Can You Till The Soil?
Now, what about spraying before it rains?
You can spray weeds before it rains, but ensure enough time for the weeds to absorb the herbicides. It typically takes about 30 minutes for weeds to absorb herbicides, but I recommend you put off spraying if you’re convinced it won’t rain for at least 2 hours.
Of course, I don’t recommend using herbicides when it’s raining—no matter how bored you are. The rainwater will wash away most of the product, and you won’t notice any results.
How To Remove Weeds After It Rains
Weeding after it rains isn’t just an excellent way to reduce the effort you’ll put into weeding—it’s a great way to eliminate the new sprouts that tend to pop up afterward. And since plants tend to thrive during the rainy season, you must understand how to control weed growth in your garden. Fortunately, you can remove these weeds by following a few simple steps.
Here’s how to remove weeds after it rains:
- Inspect your garden and identify all the weeds.
- Use tools to remove the weeds.
- Spray the area with some weed killer.
- Spread some mulch to prevent new growth.
1. Inspect Your Garden and Identify All the Weeds
The rainy season is a fantastic time for plants since soil moisture and other environmental factors will be at ideal levels. Therefore, you’ll probably notice lots of common and rare weeds in your garden.
However, the first step to eliminating them is to find and identify all of them. Weeds are plants, and all plants have peculiar characteristics.
For example, while many plants have short roots, some have deep tap roots that are difficult to pull out. Dandelions have one of the deepest tap roots I’ve ever seen, and their roots can grow to reach between 6 and 18 inches (15.24 and 45.72 centimeters) long.
On the other hand, crabgrass roots form a crab-like structure that is only a few inches long. These plants are relatively easier to remove, especially after it rains.
Therefore, you can create a weeding plan for your entire garden depending on what plants you notice and how many of them are present. As you’d expect, you might not always be able to pull out all the weeds in your garden, but you can still eliminate them using herbicides.
2. Use Tools To Remove the Weeds
The next step to removing weeds after it rains is gathering, cleaning, and using garden tools. These tools are more effective since the soil is wet, and you should have no problems weeding most plants. However, you might need more effort to pull hardier plants like dandelions.
Here are a few garden tools you can use to remove weeds:
- Hand hoes
- Weeding fork
- Cape cod weeder
- Dandelion weeder
- Paving weeder
- Spading fork
Some of these tools are used for specific weeds, such as the dandelion weeder. Others can be used more liberally, like the spading fork. Regardless, gloves are paramount for safety. Still, high-quality hand gloves can help prevent friction and stains if you’re hand weeding.
You can use spading forks to uproot weeds with deep roots, but ensure you use them correctly for the best results.
Some of these tools, like the cape cod weeder and the paving weeder, even allow you to pull weeds from tight spaces like cracks and corners.
Still, I recommend you buy and use tools you’re comfortable with and stick with more straightforward options for the best results.
3. Spray the Area With Some Weed Killer
As I mentioned, weed killers are essential for weed control—especially during the rainy season or when dealing with hardier plants. They come in different forms and can be specific or non-specific.
Specific herbicides target a particular species and will not affect any other plant they come in contact with, but non-specific weed killers eradicate all plants in the area. You’ll need to decide which works best for your garden, but ensure you wait until the area is dry.
One of the best weed killers I’ve used is the Ortho Ground Clear Weed and Grass Killer (available on Amazon.com). This potent product works in about 15 minutes, so you should quickly see results. It’s also effective if you apply it at least 2 hours before it rains.
However, while herbicides are crucial for weed control, they can quickly become dangerous when sprayed incorrectly. I recommend you read the manufacturer’s instructions before using any herbicide and use all the necessary safety equipment when spraying weeds.
4. Spread Some Mulch To Prevent New Growth
After pulling out the weeds and spraying the garden, it’s time to apply a layer of mulch. This step isn’t compulsory, but it can help prevent new weed growth—especially if you’re in an area with lots of rain.
Mulching prevents weeds from sprouting during wet seasons because it prevents moisture and sunlight from reaching weed seeds and seedlings. After all, water and light are necessary for all forms of plant life to grow and thrive.
You can use organic or inorganic mulch, but ensure you choose one that suits your needs.
Organic mulches include grass clippings, wood chips, straws, shredded bark, and kitchen waste. They’re long-lasting and should help minimize waste in your garden or farm.
While mulching works for most annual weeds, some perennial weeds may stubbornly push through the material. However, spraying the soil or mulch layer can quickly kill these plants.
Ensure you check your mulch for weed seeds before applying it to your garden. Some organic materials might include seeds that could become a problem later in the growing season.
If you’d like a more in-depth guide about the best options to make a garden weed free, you can read my other article here: How To Make a Garden Weed Free (10 Methods)
When Is the Best Time To Weed Your Garden?
I’ve pulled out more than my fair share of unwanted plants to know that weeding is no easy feat. However, weeding a garden at the wrong time or inappropriately might seriously affect you or your plants. But now that we know how to weed a garden correctly, when’s the best time to do it?
The best time to weed a garden is after heavy rainfall or watering your whole garden. It’s a great time because water softens the soil and makes weeding easier.
I don’t recommend weeding when the sun is out. It’s usually impossible to completely uproot most plants during this period because of the dry soil.
And while you might get rid of visible plant shoots, their roots might stay in the soil. These roots can grow back to entire plants in less than a few days.
Therefore, I recommend you follow the steps for weeding I highlighted earlier for the best results. You can start by watering the garden to get the soil wet if there’s no rain.
Remember to care for your body when weeding just as much as you care for your plants. The awkward positions you put your body in might strain your muscles, but you can prevent back pain and other problems by taking regular breaks and stretching when necessary.
You can pull and spray weeds after it rains. In fact, weeding immediately after heavy rain can make the process easier and more effective. However, ensure you let the soil dry before applying herbicides to a garden.
Remember to be careful when weeding to ensure you don’t damage the plants you want to keep. I recommend using gloves when weeding, even if you only pull out flowers.