To inhibit weed growth on your lawn and garden, try covering areas with an extra layer of organic matter. You can mulch with compost, wood chips, newspaper, grass clippings, straw or most other organic matter. Avoid hay, since it may have unwanted seeds. Weed growth may also be reduced by mowing high to around 3 inches.

Other non-toxic strategies include:

Manual removal with a shovel, hoe or other tool – This is an effective spot-treatment, though many weeds will return and need to be dug up again. But consistent hand-weeding will greatly reduce their populations. When young weeds are promptly dug out, they won’t be able to seed and reproduce. And regularly digging up weeds with tap roots, such as dandelions or thistles, will weaken the root and eventually kill the plant.

Plant dense ground covers and perennial plants – The shade and heavy root systems of trees and shrubs can naturally prevent weeds from growing underneath. Use grass varieties appropriate for shade, drought or other difficult areas where a regular lawn might not grow well.

Regulate food and water – The nutrients and irrigation you give your garden will encourage weeds as much as the plants you want to grow. Only give your plants what they need. Well-established trees, shrubs and perennial plants can often do well without extra fertilizer and irrigation. Vegetables may need a bit more, but be selective.

Limit tilling and digging – Turning over the soil in your vegetable patch or other beds will bring new weed seeds to the surface. Experiment with the no-till method of gardening. For example, if you’re seeding vegetables, only dig down as far as you need to plant the seeds instead of deeply digging or tilling the entire bed. The no-till method has also been shown to improve soil structure and fertility, as well as increase beneficial soil organisms.

Please note that Glyphosate is the active herbicidal ingredient in the weed killer Roundup. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that glyphosate residue in our food may enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. This can lead to disruption of normal body functions and the development of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, infertility and cancers.