Why You Should Be Weeding Your Garden In The Morning

There are all sorts of ways to get rid of weeds in your garden. You can smother them with mulch or landscaping cloth. You can douse them with weed killer. Arguably, however, one of the ecologically kindest options is hand-pulling weeds. How to do it is in the name, but the time of the day to do it is more difficult to determine, especially for the novice gardener. Most home horticultural experts agree that dedicating a few mornings a week or month to weeding is the way to go. Note, we specifically suggest getting out into your green haven in the AM rather than the PM. Aside from relishing those do-good feelings you get from ticking off garden chores early in the day, weeds come out easier from dew-moistened soil, and you can solarize pulled weeds, ensuring their demise.

Perhaps most sensibly, the morning provides a more comfortable climate for the rather tedious task of pulling weeds. Us green-thumbed humans tend to wilt as much as our more verdant counterparts in the heat of the midday summer sun. Plus, walking through your garden daily, simply observing what's going on, is a really good habit to get into. It helps you keep on top of weeds — you notice them right as they appear, before their root systems get established. What better time to do that than the morning? There are also some more scientific reasons to weed in the wee hours.

Dew is what makes early hours weeding easier

The glistening dew that coats your backyard most mornings dampens the soil, making weeds far easier to pull out. Likewise, weeding after a few nights of rainfall is less of a strain. Moist dirt is loose and soft, and even the weeds with the deepest roots — looking at you, dandelions — have a tough time holding their ground. Conversely, soil that's had time to dry as the day progresses traps roots in place; you risk leaving pieces of root and stem behind to re-sprout when conditions are favorable. This act of waiting until after it's rained to weed your garden is called pre-sprouting. This idea is further reinforced by the fact that experts recommend watering your garden in the early morning, especially in summer; a recently watered garden is a damp garden.

Note, we're talking here about taking advantage of a dusting of morning dew, light rain, or gentle watering. It's not a good idea to weed your garden during periods of excessive rain, days and days of drizzle, or when you've given your yard a good soaking. You risk ruining the structure of your garden beds when rummaging around in them on the clammy mornings. Plus, you, the gardener, risk slipping and falling in the mud. To counter these concerns, stick to garden paths free of leaves and algae and use long-handled tools and kneeling boards as aids. Loosen stepped-on soil as you go using a hoe, and wear non-slip shoes.

Take advantage of the midday sun to kill weeds

What should you do with the weeds after pulling them? If the day is fair, you can use the sun to dry them out. Leave pulled weeds on the surface of the soil, where the harsh UV rays will shrivel their roots — and, incidentally, knock back diseases. You could also use a rake to collect the pulled weeds into a neat pile. This makes them easier to pick up and dispose of safely — in the trash can, for example, if you're dealing with invasive or hardy weed species. Other ways to repurpose pesky weeds around your garden include hot composting them (a high-heat pile kills the seeds); turning them into weed tea, a potent natural fertilizer; and using (seed-head free) weeds as mulch for your garden beds.

It's worth noting, however, that not every landscaping expert is of the opinion that either damp soil weeding or weeding in the morning is ideal. Some argue that pulling weeds in the morning and leaving them atop damp soil gives them an opportunity to re-grow rather than perish, especially if the temperatures stay low and the sun fails to peek out from behind the clouds later in the day. As with most things green-thumbed, trial and error play a part in deciding which practices are best for your garden. While the majority of experts say morning weeding is a good idea, don't be afraid to experiment with late afternoon activities or dry pulling, too.