Do You Need to Pull Weeds Before Mulching?

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When you are clearing your soil for garden or aesthetic purposes, you may come across weed problems. When you are laying mulch, the problem of weed is troublesome. And that’s where many experts recommend to pull them away.

Because even if you lay 4 to 5 inches of mulch in your garden, weeds continue to grow on their way. Once you lay mulch over weeds, mulch may help in suppressing the small weeds but not strong and large ones. So the productive method to save your land from weeds you should pluck all weeds or dig out them using a rake.

Why Should Remove Weeds Before Mulching?

If we do not remove weeds before mulching they continue to grow under mulch and as a result, there may grow a lot of weeds. The weeds are harmful to plants and spread many diseases in plants. Removing mulch not only helps in the prevention of plants disease but also helps in the healthier growth of plants. Thats why it is necessary to pull out weeds before mulching.

More to add weeds once get their foothold into the soil and you don’t pull them out, they can grow breaking through even a 4 inch thick mulch.

This way, a mostly large quantity of weeds consumes up all the nutrients of your soil leaving the soil nutrients free. So, plants cannot grow healthier.  So, removing weed becomes necessary for healthier plant growth.

5 Different Ways to Kill Weeds

1. Using Mulch As A Weed Killer

Mulch can is an excellent weed killer when applied in thick loads of layer over soil. Many times people ask:

Does Mulch Really Kills Weed?

The short answer is yes, mulching either organic or inogranic is a great way to stop weeds. All you have to do is to just do it right. There are plenty of best mulches to kill weeds available in the market that you can try out.

Organic mulches that can stop weeds growth are bark mulch, wood chips, straw, manure, hulls, and plant debris. But keep in mind that you got to make a layer of 8 inches over on the soil after removing the weeds. This is the only way weeds won’t grow back or sprout.

Inorganic mulches that can stop weeds growth are fabric mulch, plastic mulch, black sheets, newspaper, cardboard etc. Inorganic mulches are excellent source of pushing down weeds as they stop their photosynthesis process.

Best Mulch To Kill Weeds
Happybuy 6.5FT300FT Weed Barrier Fabric

Happybuy 6.5FT300FT Weed Barrier Fabric Heavy Duty 3OZ, Woven Weed Control

Best Features:

  • Durable PP Fabric
  • High Permeability
  • Weed Control & Soil Improve
  • Easy Installation
  • Wide Application

Here is a detailed guide below to remove weeds before mulching and putting on a inorganic mulch (newspaper) on the soil to prevent weed sprouting.

How to Use Mulch to Kill Weeds?

pull weeds before mulching

Pull weeds before mulching helps in better plant growth, it kills weeds themselves and saves plants from different pets and plant diseases. Removing weeds before mulching consists of the following steps.

1. Remove Old Mulch

First of all to remove weeds before mulching, remove all the mulch you have laid before. Removing mulch will easily lead you to approach weeds and their roots. And you can easily see stems. Remove mulch aside using a rake and hand.

Do not through this mulch thinking it is old as this mulch may already be in a stage of broken down and will add its essential nutrients to your lawn soil. Just move mulch aside.

2. Pull Weeds Out (Pull Weeds Before Mulching)

Pull large weeds

After moving mulch aside use a rake to pull all weeds or you can pluck them out by hand. Make sure to wear gloves as mulch can leave a small cut on your hand. Pull all weeds properly from roots as roots can help in growing weeds again.

Pull Out Small Weeds

The hoe is the best tool to pull out small weeds. So in order to remove all weeds make sure to use a hoe for small weeds. Be careful while using a hoe because some plants have small roots which are not much strong and you can damage them easily. Pulling weeds around these plants using a hand is a good option.

3. Lay Newspaper

Do not just lay mulch in the yard to avoid weeds. A layer of newspaper helps in stopping the growth of weeds. Now spread black and white newspaper over the yard.

here you can lay fabric mulch, or any mulch you got instead of newspaper. I have used newspaper for best results that’s why I am writing here newspaper.

4. Lay Mulch Over Yard

 Now comes up the 2nd last step. Spread out all mulch you have moved in the first step over the yard. Make sure you have laid 3 to 4 inches of mulch over the yard and maintain a proper thickness of mulch.

5. Watering the Yard

In the final step water the yard where you laid mulch. This step will stop flaying away your mulch.

Do and Don’ts of Mulching When Dealing With Weeds

As you now know how to mulch in your yard, here is some points that you should adopt and avoid while mulching to kill weeds.

Do (Practices to adopt for best mulching results)

  • Always prepare a good bed with fine edges: it means you should use good ending tool to make a trench like structure near your plants, tree or shrubs in the garden or lawn. You can use an edging tool for this.
  • Always keep 1-2 foot space around the main stem or trunk of plants. It means you do need to remove anything touching plant stem except soil. If mulch is there remove it. Because if you don’t remove it, mulch will trap humidity and water around the trunk and kill the whole plant via pest attacked or fungal attack. Also, there is chances of mulch volcano .
Mulch volcano occur when you pile up mulch around the stem of tree and its root flare and it seems just like a volcano
  • Water after mulching: when you lay down mulch it is necessary to water it this way it pushed mulch evenly down on ground and fill up the holes in between mulch which efffiecntly stops weed growth. Also, watering after mulch reduce soil temperature which is good for your lawn.
  • Always remove weeds before spreading mulch on soil.
  • Always add fresh mulch. If their is old mulch, remove the first layer then lay new mulch over old mulch.

Don’t (Practices to avoid for best mulching results)

  • Don’t use thin layer organic mulches to kill weeds. As organic mulches are not good at stopping weeds. Though a thick layer of 8 inches when laid down on soil, can kill weeds
  • Don’t lay mulch too thin or deep. Laying thin mulch can help weed seed to sprout and grow and where laying thick much deep mulch can kill all the desired plants in your lawn.
  • Never mix soil with mulch and then spread it on the soil.
  • Never use dyed mulch as the dye on mulch leaches down over time into the soil and kill beneficial microorganisms which eventually kills your plants.
  • Keep in mind that the using mulch combination with your house color so it does not disturb the overall look of your house color.
  • Don’t let mulch touch your house walls as it can push moisture into walls which can be destructive.

2. Using Weed Killer Spray

1. Round Up

The best weed killer recommended by experts and many real-time user is round up. It just kill the weeds to dust.

Unlike other weeds killer you can use it on vegetable gardens, flower beds, and mulched beds. Additionally, use around the cracks of driveways and more.

Get Results in 3 hrs
round up

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III with Pump

Best Features of Roundup

  • Kills the toughest weeds and grasses to the root. Guaranteed! *Consumer Guarantee: If for any reason you are not satisfied after using this product, simply send us original proof of purchase and we will replace the product or refund the purchase price.
  • Convenient, no-mix formula
  • Use in and around vegetable gardens, flower beds, tree rings and mulched beds, as well as on cracks in driveways, walkways and patios
  • Rainproof in 10 minutes
  • Visible results in 3 hours

2. Preen – The Weed Killer

Weeds killer spray is the most effective method to eradicate weeds from your soil. Among the best weeds killer preen is on the top. Preen is a 6 month guarantee that your weeds won’t grow back.

Best Killer To Use With Mulch
preen - the best weed killer

Preen – The Best Weed Killer

Top Features:

  • 1 Application blocks weeds up to 6 months guaranteed
  • When used as directed Preen Extended Control Weed Preventer can be used around more than 600 perennials, groundcovers, shrubs and trees as listed on the product label
  • Flip-top applicator cap makes it easy to apply

3. Ortho WeedClear

Ortho weedclear is another best multifunctional herbicide which means it not only kills weed but also keep grass or any other plant on the soil. It will make you soil clear and won’t hurt its fertility as it is an organic herbicide.

Organic herbicide means the weed spray is of natural origin and it does not make your soil infertile or harm your grass in the lawn. Also, it is good for bees and pollinators.

Results in 1-few Hours
Ortho WeedClear Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate

Ortho WeedClear Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate

Top Features:

  • This lawn weed killer kills over 250 common weeds, including dandelions, clover, poison ivy, sumac, chickweed, and dollarweed
  • LAWN FRIENDLY: It contains three proven ingredients that target common lawn weeds, so it won’t harm your grass (when used as directed)
  • Absorbs on contact to deliver visible results in hours; rainproof in 1 hour upon drying; people and pets may enter the treated area after the spray has dried.
  • This concentrated formula can be easily applied with an Ortho Dial N Spray or tank sprayer; it treats up to 16,000 sq. ft.

3. Tilling Your Lawn or Garden

From experts and agricultural history tilling was and is the best method to control weeds. Many farmers, gardeners and lawn carers come accorss a condition where they cannot spray or do any pesticidic intervention on the soil to kill the weeds and save their plants.

This is where tilling comes into action. That saves you both money and plant damage loss.

What is tilling or tillage?

Tillage is the cultivation of soil by hand or by mechanical means, such as a plow. It is usually performed to break up the soil or change its physical condition. The purpose of tilling is to mix soil nutrients, incorporate organic matter, control weeds, and improve drainage so that the soil can support improved plant growth.

Tilling your lawn to 6-7 inch depth can kills the weeds to the roots and they would never grow back. Also tilling would increase fertility of your soil as you are chopping and mixing vegetation into the soil during tilling which eventually make soil fertile.

Here is the best tilling tool that you can use on your home garden or yard.

Best Garden Tiller To Kill Weeds
Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator,Black

Sun Joe TJ604E 16-Inch 13.5 AMP Electric Garden Tiller/Cultivator,Black

Best Features:

  • POWERFUL: 13. 5-Amp motor cultivates up to 16 in. Wide x 8 in. Deep
  • DURABLE: 6 Steel angled tines for maximum durability and performance
  • EASY STORAGE: handle folds for convenient storage and easy transport
  • ADJUSTABLE: 3-position wheel adjustment

4. Manually Removing Weeds

Manually removing weeds for very small area is always recommended as it is more of like a hobby you don’t want to waste on some sprays or machines.

For removing weeds manually you will need to do hoeing

Hoeing means you need to dig out plant by hand using some soil digging tool.

The best thing about hoeing is that you don’t need wait for weed plants to wilt after a spray. You get results in no time.

You can do the hoeing using a garden scratch tool as given below:

Best Garden Tiller To Kill Weeds
Fiskars Ergo Scratch Tool Garden Weeder

Fiskars Ergo Scratch Tool Garden Weeder

Best Features:

  • Ideal for removing dandelions, thistles and other invasive weeds
  • Ergonomically designed handle reduces hand and wrist fatigue while weeding
  • Cast-aluminum head resists rust for lasting value
  • Handle hang hole provides easy storage

Another thing to note here is that you need to do dig up at least 5 inches down using the garden scracht tool in order to make weed roots eradication 100%.

5. Using Flame

Using flame just kills the weeds to the dust. But you have to take precaustion like wearing protection gloves, face protection and body protection clothes.

The flame weeds you can use here is red dragon weed killer that is equipped with propane to flame up and kills your weeds.

To kill weeds and take precuations always read the product manual.

Here is the flame weed killer you can use:

Get Instant Results
Red Dragon Weed Killer

Red Dragon Propane Flame Weed Killer

Best Features

  • Includes 10-pound empty propane tank
  • Flame weeds and brush in your yard
  • Thaw frozen pipes
  • Melt snow and ice
  • Remove paint, grease, oil, and plastic from metal


It is best to remove weeds before mulching. You can use inorganic mulch, weed killer spray, tilling, manual handeling and flame weed killing methods to kill the weeds and clear out your soil before mulching

Photo of author


After doing my master’s in agriculture, I went on with this field for more than 15 years because I love working in green. I have experienced using modern machinery and techniques that can help farmers and landscapers to achieve something great. My goal will be to deliver you the best reviews and information to make the right decision.

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