Herbicides are certainly effective for weed control. However, there are some good reasons why you may want to limit your use of them. Perhaps you want to avoid killing off other plants in the process of treating weeds, or maybe you want to limit herbicide runoff into nearby streams. In any event, there are some ways to keep your weeds under closer control throughout the year so you don't need to rely so heavily on herbicide sprays and granules.
1. Don't bring untreated soil onto your property.
If you need to amend your soil, do so with bags of compost or soil that have already been treated for weeds. These are generally available through home improvement and gardening stores, as well as from landscaping centers. Do not just accept fill dirt from individuals offering to give it away or sell it to you. It is likely laden with weed seeds, so you'll spend the next few months battling back the weeds.
2. Remove weeds as soon as you see them.
If you do spot any weeds in your garden or lawn, remove them as soon as you see them. Keep a little trowel or spade handy, and just dig them out — roots and all. Removing the roots helps ensure the weed does not grow back. By removing these adult weeds ASAP, you are preventing them from spreading their seeds to create more weeds.
3. Fertilize your lawn and gardens.
Fertilizing may initially sound like it would encourage weed growth, but actually, a well-fertilized lawn or garden is less likely to sprout weeds. Weeds tend to spring up and take over when the plants you intend to grow in a space do not have enough nutrition to do so. If you fertilize your lawn and gardens, your plants will stay stronger and be better able to out-compete the weeds.
4. Put down mulch.
This piece of advice only applies to garden beds, not lawns, but it is a very helpful piece of advice. Mulch helps keep weeds from popping up. It physically blocks them from coming through the soil. It also helps keep weed seeds from making their way down into the soil. A basic wood mulch will do. Make sure you put down a substantial, 3–4 inch layer.
The weed control tactics above can go a long way towards reducing your reliance on herbicides. Reach out to a local landscaping company like Island Greenery if you need assistance.