Will this weed plan work?

I would appreciate any comments on this plan to
control weeds around my raised beds.
I live in So. California and have raised beds in my
garden. I have waged a constant and losing battle
with crab grass growing in the areas between the
beds. I don't want to use chemicals and get sick
and tired of pulling the damn stuff, it is very
tough and hard to pull.
At one point I covered the entire area with
plywood. That worked well, and looked nice, for a
couple of years until the plywood started to
deteriorate and compost into the ground. The grass
grew right through it.
So here's my plan. I am going to cut the grass down as short as I can get it, then cover it with heavy duty plastic, like painters' tarpaulin, and then cover that with about three inches of bark chips.
I am sure this will work in the short run. But,
will it work in the long run? One thinkg I am
concerned about is water collecting on top of the
plastic. So I intend to puncture the plastic in
many places using a pitch fork to allow drainage.
What do you think? Is there something I am not taking into consideration here? Will this last? Thanks for your attention.
Minus
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done that. same results.

done that, too. eventually the chips become soil and grass will grow in it.

what you want to do is heavy plastic, punctured with something much smaller than pitchfork (I suggest an ice pick), and covered with 2 inches gravel or slag. Make sure that the plastic goes under the beds edges. Next best is to go to the city dump and take home some used carpet. it may be poisonous, but not as poisonous as your back feels after a weeding session. This is not totally foolproof, some stuff will push through, but very little.
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I'm glad I'm not the only one!

I don't want to use gravel because it is so hard to clean up if you change your mind later.
What do you mean by slag?
Thanks for the ideas.
Minus
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well, carpet is easy to clean up then, and just as good as plastic. Put it down upside-down and will both look less ragged and (surprisingly) less easy for weeds to penetrate. I suppose they get tangled in the hair if they try to push through. In fact, I can not remember a single weed in the pieces I put down upside down. Should have done that will all of them.
carpet is a bitch to cut properly, so I ended up using only the small pieces and throwing away the big ones and I only covered less than one path out of four. it was a mistake in retrospect but I also had concerns about putting too much toxic stuff in the garden. but look, I have one aisle which is wood chips on plastic, and there the weeds were three feet high this summer even after I hoed in May. I whacked them in July, but that's no way to have a garden path. from there, grass sends runners into the beds, which I have to weed, and plantains and other weeds lean over the beds with their seedheads, so weedy paths are a major nuisance. do the job right, say I, no organics of any sort, and a permanent solution. slag is crushed concrete, cheap gravel substitute. it is as close to organic as possible, because it will lime the beds while preventing growth.
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That's interesting about the carpet, because I tried carpet once and it turned into a mess because the crab grass grew right through it and then the carpet was stuck to the ground by the grass! Yikes. But I put it smooth side down. I'm going to try the fuzzzy side down just to see if you're right.
but I ain't going with the gravel/slag solultion. Just too messy. I'm going to try some weed block fabric and see.
Thanks and good gardening
Minus
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Buy some weed mat, it is a plastic that is woven so water flows through. I used a double layer and it lasted well over 10 years with NO weeds. I too live in SoCal, Chino, and have used it successfully for your same problem.
Of course a little boiling water has a positive effect on weeds.
--

Charles
The significant problems we face cannot be solved
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Thanks for the input. Where did you buy this weed mat? Sounds interesting.
Minus

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Home Depot.
--

Charles
The significant problems we face cannot be solved
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cm_maildeterent snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com (Charles Quinn) wrote in wrote:

Found it. Bought it. It's trade name is Weed Block. Reasonable price. If it works like you say, it will solve my problem. Thanks for the tip.
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Since you live in Southern California, the clear plastic method will work very well for you with all that direct sunshine. Here's how to do it.
Mow the grass/weeds as closely as you can (and rake off all you can). Lay heavy-weight clear plastic, as heavy as you can get (I use 6-mil). If it is possible to do so, tuck it under the edges of your bed; otherwise, get it as tightly against them as you can. Since this is a walkway, you probably don't need to secure the middle, only the edges. Note, *clear* plastic, not black, black doesn't work. I always water before laying down the plastic to make certain the ground is moist for the process.
How it works: Because they have light, all of the seeds sprout. The plastic holds in the moisture which, under the summer sun, superheats the soil at the top and kills the seedlings. How far down into the soil the plants are killed will depend on the heat, light, moisture and soil conditions. Two inches down is an estimate. You, of course, do not want to till after this as you turn up a new supply of weed seed to sprout. Or you can take advantage of this feature and, after 8 weeks or so of very hot weather, remove the plastic, turn the soil, and re-apply.
It is very important to have the edges secure so there is no air flow under the plastic. It is the lack of air movement and resultant heating that makes this effective. Knowing the sprouting time of the potential seeds in the soil will be helpful as you will want to leave the plastic securely in place for at least two weeks longer than you think there will be new seedlings.
This works very well, is more effective than any weed killer you can apply (except ones the produce toxic gases in the soil that remain effective for nearly a year), and is completely safe for all except those young seedlings. Any critters in the soil have an opportunity to move down into cooler soil which they do anyway on a really hot day.
After you have done this (all seeds sprouted and plants killed), plant a good cover such as creeping thyme (or Irish moss) to cover the area with new plant life and you will have a beautiful walkway between your beds. A bit of research will reveal many things you can plant there. Unfortunately, in our area, Pennyroyal dies back during the winter so leaves a good opportunity for weeds seeds to drift in and get a foothold. Thyme should, for the most part, keep the weed seeds on the top so the winter birds can get them. At any rate, the occasional weed that manages to take root can be easily pulled leaving your walkway weed and grass-free.
You cannot use black plastic for this. Regardless of what you are told, black plastic does nothing for killing weeds. It blocks the light and retards growth. When the black plastic is removed, the weeds take over again. (Weeds in any area are extremely good at their seeds laying in wait, that is why they are prolific.) This method will work only with clear plastic . . . the seeds have light and moisture, the clear plastic holds in that moisture which helps with the super heating process which kills the seedlings. It also kills anything else that has already been growing which is why you must cut everything as short as you can; you don't want any growth shading the ground. Leaving six inches of grass and then covering it with the plastic will have only minimal or no effect as it keeps the plastic too far from the soil to allow the super-heating which is what does the work.
Though this takes several weeks, with the time dependent on the weather (and types of seeds), it is well worth it. It does a thorough job and is completely safe to the soil and surrounding plant life. Do remember that any place where light does not get to the soil will not be affected so don't weight down the plastic with blocks of wood or rocks; those patches will grow weeds; a clear plastic bottle with water in it might work if it's needed (I use fabric staples when something is needed, though the holes let a bit of heat and moisture out). If you use something to weight down the plastic, you will have "spots" of growth where it was laying during the processing time.
Do be aware that any crabgrass that is growing from *under* the sides of your raised beds will not be affected by this, it will continue to creep out. This will only kill what is starting from the area covered with the clear plastic.
Remember, the key is *no* air circulation and no chance for moisture to escape; it is the hot moisture held in that does the trick. I've even removed the plastic long enough to sprinkle if there is no condensation on the plastic; just be sure it is again secure to the ground to prevent air circulation. Moisture, no air circulation and a lot of hot sunny days all are your friends.
Good luck; I wish you crab-grass/weed free paths.
Glenna
P.S. You can always use 20 percent vinegar. snipped-for-privacy@myway.com writes:

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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote in

[stuff snipped]

Wow, Glenna, thank you for your detailed suggestions. I have a question though. I don't think seeds and new seedlings are the source of my weed problem. The crab grass I am fighting seems to propogate mostly by means of rhyzomes about two inches below the surfact which are incredibly tenacious and tough. I have followed them for as far as six feet. I don't think you cooking recipe will phase them.
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I did the weed barrier and hated it. The weeds did not grow from under it, but after a while a tremendous number sprouted in the decomposing mulch above it and sent really tenacious roots right through it. You have the same problem with weeds growing in mulch above plastic, especially as the plastic degrades and becomes brittle and cracked with time. I personally prefer a very heavy layer of newspaper with a couple inches of mulch or bark on top of it. This works quite well at suppressing weeds and grass for the summer and when it turns into compost all you need to do is rake it all up and put it in your garden. Then redo the newspaper and mulch. I live in SW Ohio so it lasted the summer and I did not have to worry about it till the next spring. In So. California you might have to do it a couple of times a year. Then again if you want to spend some money, you could do what I finally did and put in pavers. They work wonderfully well and if you figure in how long they last versus what it costs, it is not that expensive per year. I still have to deal with the occassional weed sprouting between the pavers, but it is a very minor problem.
Linda Charles Minus wrote:

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