How to Use Preen in a Vegetable Garden (Useful Tips)

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Growing vegetables is fun and therapeutic, and you get nutritious produce out of it. Trusting outside markets and shops to give us organic and fresh produce is becoming increasingly difficult. The available produce from these retailers is not contaminated with harmful insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides.

Gardening has numerous benefits for our physical health and emotional wellbeing. People take great pride in their vegetable gardens since your manual labor and patience bring out the best results. The fruitful outcome of meticulous and diligent gardening or farming is worth the wait and money.

Weed prevention using Preen herbicide
Learn some useful tips on the application of Preen in a vegetable garden

Whether a novice or experienced, every gardener knows about the threat posed by weeds and insects that can rob a plant of its nutrition and hijack all the essential resources and crucial components important for the crop’s survival. 

Moreover, weeds can lead to an extensive growth of insect pests and disease, which can damage your entire garden within days.

Weeds – The Enemy

Weeds are every gardener’s worst enemy. They are like the uninvited guests that interrupt your dinner and eat all your food, except weeds do this to the plants you are growing.

Weeds are a threat because they compete with your seedlings; they fight for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Once the weeds have starved your crops of essential resources, they will create conditions that will make them vulnerable to different types of pests and insects.

Moreover, weeds have an exponential growth rate. They grow quickly and in abundance. It’s easier for them to outgrow other useful plants and take charge of other soil nutrients, such as Potassium, Phosphorous, and Nitrogen.

With time, their fast growth overtakes the crops, leaving the soil in a battered state. This takeover by weeds ultimately leads to the death or stagnancy of your essential vegetable seedlings.

Furthermore, some variations of weed can merge with essential plants, making it even more difficult to point them out and control their growth.

Some extreme types of weed are invasive and are not friendly at all. They have a predatory habit of slyly entering your garden without getting detected and eventually destroying your garden. Gradually, they take over the entire space, leaving no room for your treasured vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplants, and carrots.

As a gardener, one must always be aware of threatening plants emerging across the divide – parasitic plants that are inherently predatory in nature. They make use of existing plants to act as hosts and feed on their nutrients. One example of this is a plant called mistletoe that can become villainous to your garden by starving and killing the vegetables growing in it.

There are many ways through which you can stay alert and prepared, take precautionary measures, and defend your precious vegetable garden from these external threats. One of the methods of safeguarding your crops is through the use of Preen.

What Is Preen?

Preen is a kind of non-selective herbicide that stops weeds from emerging in your garden. It’s called ‘non-selective’ because it does not have control over what plants it kills, whether they are insignificant or essential.

Preen will destroy whatever plant life it touches or come in to contact with. It is widely used in vegetable gardens and lawns that have disappearing or dying bushes and produce. Preen works to completely halt the growth of plant roots, particularly those of weeds.

Preen weed preventer’s active ingredient is corn gluten, which is a by-product of corn mills that prevents weed seeds from sprouting. One application of this can keep your vegetable garden weed-free for approximately four weeks.

Remember that Preen does not kill existing weeds. It prevents new weeds from emerging; hence it must be used as a precautionary measure and not as a last resort.

When Does Preen Come Into the Picture?

If you already have weeds in the garden, you should quickly take some action. Otherwise, the weeds will annihilate your crops and waste the time and energy you invested. You can use different weed removal methods, whichever is convenient and quick for you.

You can pour boiling water or highly concentrated vinegar on weeds to get rid of them effectively. Some professional gardeners and farmers prefer using salt as an efficient preventative killer. However, you need to pick your method after careful consideration.

For example, the concentrated vinegar for killing weeds is not the kind found in kitchens but a concentrated acetic acid; handling it needs utmost care and vigilance. Moreover, such products can impact the soil’s pH level and fertility, which can cause a more significant long-term problem.

If you decide to use salt instead of vinegar, you need to know that it can also penetrate into the groundwater and stunt the growth of your precious plants. Remember, salt can kill any plant and not just weeds.

At this point, you must be wondering, “what is the best way to kill existing weeds?” We recommend pulling out the weeds manually from their roots. Some can be pulled by hand, while the other can be extracted through a tool. No matter what technique you use, you should remember that weed roots are the source of the problem and should be dealt with accordingly. 

Indeed, digging out weeds and working around the soil can also bring dormant weed seeds back to life and onto the soil’s surface, where they will have access to sunlight and water. Preen should be used to avoid such a disastrous situation. Once your garden is free of existing weeds, you need to take precautionary measures to avoid such future growth.

How to use Preen effectively in a vegetable garden
How to use Preen effectively in a vegetable garden

Preen Application – How to Use It in a Vegetable Garden?

Here is a step by step guide on how to use Preen effectively, efficiently, and accurately. 

1. Kill Perennial Weeds

First and foremost, you have to check for all the areas in your garden that are home to perennial weeds, scavenge your garden and hunt out existing weed plants. Pull them out from their roots and clear the area for the application of Preen. This step of initial clearing will stop the weed seeds from spreading and germinating again.

The best time to apply Preen in a vegetable garden is after the harvest season since Preen is a non-selective herbicide, and you don’t want it to destroy your productivity.

Cleaning out the garden and preparing it for the next batch is easier after the harvest. If you are a very meticulous gardener who requires a more specific timeline for using such preventative measures, then spread Preen after flower or vegetable seedlings have been planted for most effective results.

Once Preen has been spread evenly over the soil, it creates a chemical barrier that stops most weeds from emerging. If it is spread before their seeds, the entire planting process will break up the chemical boundary and cause weeds to start growing in patches all over your garden.

Since Preen is a pre-emergent herbicide, it will kill all flower and vegetable seeds.

2. Sprinkle the Preen

Once your garden has been cleared, you have made the relevant arrangements for harvest and pulled out the existing weeds. Start by sprinkling the preen herbicide gradually. When you are disseminating, make sure the distance between your hand and the soil should be minimal.

Take this step to avoid Preen molecules from being carried away into the wind and damaging someone else’s crops or your own vegetables and flowers. Sprinkle it evenly and carefully throughout the infested areas.

How much should you apply? The recommended amount you should apply could vary depending on your garden. However, the standard is one ounce per ten square meters. This is equal to twenty pecks of Preen product in every square inch of the lot.

3. Water Instantly but Gradually

What does this mean? You need to water the soil after the Preen application straight away, but you must do it gently, gradually, and with care. Do not rush the whole process. You may also rake the soil lightly to ensure the Preen is mixed well.

What is raking? It’s when you use a rake to break down the soil and prepare it for sowing and planting seeds. Once you have sowed the seeds, you can also use the rake to draw back the dirt to cover up bases. Make sure that if you are raking, your tool has sharp teeth to produce a finer tilth.

Try raking if there is no water source near your vegetable garden for immediate action; it is the best possible alternative. Watering the newly treated soil is an essential step for using Preen in a vegetable garden. Do not forget how vital water is to the entire process!

In addition to this, always remember that water must be used carefully and patiently. You must avoid pouring water in the vicinity of the area where Preen was applied. You should ensure that the Preen product is applied only in the space where you want to treat soil and eradicate weeds. Make sure it does not land into surrounding trees, bushes, or flowers.

How to use Preen effectively in a vegetable garden
How to use Preen effectively in a vegetable garden

4. Inspect

Once you have applied Preen and irrigated the soil, it is best to carefully inspect the areas surrounding or adjacent to your vegetable garden.

Check for Preen grains in your driveway, patio, backyard, etc. If you notice any granules lying around, sweep them aside, collect them, and place them on the soil. Make sure your kids and pets are away during this process.

Additional Tips

The entire process is simple and pretty straight-forward. However, there are a few general things you should know about Preen and its application.

The first thing is, you can re-apply Preen anytime up to the day of harvest. When planting your garden from seeds, you should wait until the seedlings are at least two to three inches high and showing leaves prominently before applying Preen. Re-application after the first treatment occurs around nine to twelve weeks later.

You can also make fair use of it after transplanting pre-started plants. Extract the plants if you see the weed problem emerging. Protect your plants at all costs! Sprinkle the Preen but make sure it is out of the plant holes where you removed your seedlings from.

How to ensure successful Preen application without killing the crops or vegetables?  You need to be aware of recently planted plants or vegetables or if they have large seeds. Preen is not known for affecting vegetable plants with large seeds, such as peas and beans. However, it may destroy the roots of recently planted crops, plants with small seeds, and vegetable crops that grow while being covered in soil, such as carrots and potatoes.

The roots of large-seeded crops are well-developed, safely growing deep within the soil. Hence, when Preen is applied or sprinkled on the surface, it won’t penetrate or infiltrate deep into the earth’s surface.

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Vegetable gardening is an excellent hobby, and it is equally uplifting and useful. Even though weeds will also present as a problem and act as a nuisance, you can easily take charge of the problem and solve it immediately. You must strategize a practical approach that will attack the problem of weed emergence. Using Preen as a real preventative measure can solve this issue appropriately.

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