Our Water Our World: Controlling Weeds Around Your Home

Learn how to control weeds with these tips from the City of Goleta Environmental Services Division.

Weeds are unwanted plants that are usually fast growing and spreading and found outdoors in your backyard. Non-native plants can be considered weeds and can cause serious damage to your garden or backyard. This is because non-native plants can be invasive and degrade the environment for native plants and wildlife.

Did You Know?
  • Weeds are mainly considered to be a disturbance but can provide some benefits because they provide nectar and pollen to insects and when decomposed can replenish the soil with nutrients
  • Noxious weeds are a type of invasive plant that the government spends millions of dollars on each year to remove
What Can You Do?

Different methods can be used to remove weeds in your garden or backyard such as using tools, oils, or soaps. Remember, it is difficult to completely keep out weeds in your backyard at all times as they can enter your backyard from wind dispersal of seeds. Therefore, the most effective method to control weeds is to keep them from flowering and producing seeds.

  • Pick out the weeds. Using a tool or your hands, pick out any weeds in your background. It is best to not compost them, but you can compost any weeds that have not flowered or do not reproduce easily.
  • Cut down the weeds. If you cannot dig up the roots of weeds, you can cut them down and cover the area with mulch.
  • Use drought tolerant ground cover plants. Certain ground cover plants can deter weeds from growing because they maintain unsuitable conditions for weeds, such as providing shade for the ground.
  • Cover bare soil with mulch. Weeds thrive in bare soil that get a lot of light, so use mulch to cover bare soil areas.
  • Use a drip irrigation system. Use a drip irrigation system to only deliver water to wanted plants.
  • Use less-toxic oil or soap. Apply less-toxic oil or soap to weeds. This will remove weeds above ground and may have to be repeated to reach weed roots. 
  • Mow your lawn to a high cut. If you have a lawn, mow the lawn to a high cut to help shade the ground and prevent weeds to grow.
  • Patch up your pavement. Weeds can grow in open spaces of paved ground, so use mulch or caulking designed for asphalt or concrete to fill in the open spaces.
  • Cultivate soil. Use a shovel, hoe, or rototiller to turn soil because it can bring weed seeds to the surface. This process can disrupt the food web of soil organisms, which makes the soil less suitable, so do not use this as your main method.

Find more information on controlling slugs and snails with eco-friendly products in our OWOW brochures in English and Spanish