We have River Rock Beds exactly as you describe at our house. We have
Hostas, Iris, and other stuff in it. Unfortunately, that damn cloth ain't
worth a sh*t. Weeds root right through it, and to make matters worse, grass
seed got in the beds and grass grew right through the cloth. It sure was a
big job scarfing off the rock to clean out the vegetation in the beds. Now
that they have been cleaned out, we will use Roundup (carefully and
sparingly) to control whatever comes back.
My favorite garden store (Agway) has 3 levels of fabric quality available.
They're clearly marked as to life expectancy. One suggests permanence you
won't be around to see. Find a real garden store that stocks various types.
We have small areas around our condo where nothing grows, and some of
those areas, against the building, are also where downspouts empty.
With the deluges we get, anything else would wash away. When hubby and
I were janitors, I used leaf blower to keep them clean. It's been about
6 years since the rock was put down and we have nothing growing through
the landscape cloth. In a couple of spots, I put pots in the ground,
then the rock, so I can take in delicate plants if we have a freeze.
Just stick them back in the hole when it warms up. Plastic edging
around keeps the rock out of the lawn.
Fabric works well if, and nly if, you se good stuff, and use a pre
emergent weed killer [Casaron (sp?) or similar]
under the fabric / before the fabric is installed, with a second Casaron
applicatio on op of the fabric before the rock or mulch is spread.
You still need to hand weed, but there's a lot less hand weeding involved.
Landscape fabric. Install it under the gravel and it will let water
through, but help keep weeds from coming up.
Roundup will kill any plant it contacts given sufficient quantity. Most
other weed killers are comparable, even the ones that claim to no harm
grass. They mostly depend on staying on the right threshold where they
kill the weed and don't quite kill the grass.
Application rate is not the way herbicides are differentiated as to
effectiveness against broadleaf vis a vis grassy plants. They are
different chemically and affect the specific types of plants in a
totally different manner.
That said, none also will say NO harm to grass and, most specifically,
bermuda and similar grasses are more susceptible than most other lawn
There are weed killers that specifically (atrazine?) are taken up by
roots, and should not be used in the root zone of most beneficial
plants. RoundUp can drift, but it is taken up by foliage. Labels for
this stuff are important. Folks in Florida think a lot of houseplants
are cute outdoors, but really are nasty - wandering jew and asparagus
fern are two that are very invasive.
I read recently that someone - in the Carolina's? - caught a piranha in
some body of water!! Talk about trashing the environment.
Go to your local supplier who has anyone knowledgeable working there and
investigate pre-emergent herbicides. As with the weed and feed varieties,
they will kill selective plants because at times growing and emerging plants
will take in the poison, whereas later in life their root system and leaves
don't act the same. I still don't understand how the weed and feed knows
the difference between grass and dandelion, but it's better than kneeling
all day and weeding.
Just my opinion from what I understand, and that is darn little. If you
live in an area of this country where there is a "feed store", or have a
county agent, or a university co-op department, those guys are a lot of
help. One size really doesn't fit all, so seek LOCAL information.
I don't have grass in back or front yard. Just a huge flower garden in
both So I don't know how this would work on your lawn. But I don't use
any chemicals in my yard.
Take a 1 gallon sprayer add 1 cup of table salt, 2 cups of white vinegar
and fill the rest with hot water. Shake real well to melt salt. Spray on
your weeds on a dry day. Soak the weeds very well.
It works for me , cheap and non toxic.
It won't last forever . you might have to do it again in a couple of
No chemical product you use is is "totally" safe. Whatever you use,
its an herbiCIDE. Its intended to kill.
If you want to try something involving the least chemcals, use boiling
the weeds. It take s a while, lots of energy o boil if you have a
lot of weeds,
but a pint of rapidly boiling water will kill most non woody weeds.
Its not "totally" safe, you could get a bad blister / burn fro boiling
I like Roundup and Weed B Gone in a good hand spray bottle, mixed to
mfg recommendations, for close in work.
In real tight situations near good plants, I'll use a 50 - 50 mixture of the
product applied directly to the leaves of the weed with a foam paint brush.
IMHO, YMMV, my $ 0.02 only, no warranties, express or implied.
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