TRUTH - Chemical weed killers are decimating our valuable pollinators, and giving us cancer. ALSO TRUTH - With the drought being over, this rainy season has been a boon for weeds.
Those of us who have let our yard languish in the last few years in an effort to be good water-savers are especially feeling the pain of weed infestation; it turns out bare dirt is a terrible weed barrier. Hand-pulling weeds is time prohibitive, and weed-whacking just puts off the pain of dealing with the problem. The truth is, unless you stubbornly continue using chemical weed killers, you're going to have to be a tiny bit more thoughtful and hands-on about weed control in your yard. Sorry, I know that one hurt.
BEST STRATEGY FOR LAWN WEEDS: Hand-pulling lawn weeds and getting the roots, as they show-up, is the best defense. If you have a gardener, ask this to be part of your weekly service. If your entire lawn is weeds, first, get a new gardener. Next, have your lawn de-thatched, aerated, re-seeded and top-dressed. This will re-set your lawn and allow you to get ahead of the weeds so you can resume hand-pulling. Adding a light mixture of compost and topsoil to your lawn in the early summer and late winter can also help keep weeds down, and green-up your lawn.
Pro-tip: Healthy lawns originally became popular because they are better weed barriers than just dirt, they are more beneficial to life on earth than concrete or fake lawn, they actually take less time to maintain than native garden-beds, they process CO2 and give off oxygen, AND they cool the immediate climate around your home.
BEST STRATEGY FOR SMALLER GARDEN-BED WEEDS: Also hand-pulling, and/or 30% vinegar is an effective, temporary, weed killer. This can be purchased online or at your local nursery. Just pour some 30% vinegar into a spray bottle or portable industrial sprayer, and spray directly onto weeds every 2-3 days for about 2 weeks, then once per week afterwards. Vinegar doesn't remain in the soil, which is why you have to re-apply regularly. CAUTION - vinegar will kill any plant it touches, so be careful to just spray the weeds; also keep off of your skin, and away from concrete/natural stone/pavers.
BEST STRATEGY FOR GRAVEL PATHWAYS & LARGE, UNUSED, AREAS: Weed-whack tall weeds first, then mix 1 gallon of 30% vinegar, 1 cup of salt, and 1/4 cup of non-phosphate liquid dish soap in a portable industrial sprayer and go to town. CAUTION - this should ONLY be used on areas you don't intend to plant for a few years and definitely nowhere near plants you'd like to keep alive! Salt stays in the soil until it's leached out by enough water over time. Salt, like vinegar, will pock concrete/natural stone/pavers, so keep the spray away from those areas.
Pro Tip: If you convert that large, unused area into a drought-tolerant, lower-maintenance, weed-frustrating, bird and butterfly attracting garden bed/hangout area, the weeds have less space to play.
FINAL TRUTH: Don't let anyone ever tell you they can guarantee a weed-free yard. That is the unicorn of lawn and garden myths. The best way to win the weed wars is to be pro-active all year, but especially during late winter/early spring.