I have an area in the shape of a strip with a few trees and shrubs and would
like to eliminate the grass that fills in the rest of the area and cover with
mulch. Do I have to remove all the grass or can I kill it off instead? Thanks
for any answers.
Mark, good news that we can do that. One respondent suggested the chemical
glyphosphate (possibly in Roundup). Do you agree? Also any disadvantage to
using two layers of weedblock fabric and would it help to curtail the tougher
plants? Thanks for your information.
Well, how about both for an answer? Here's what you do....
1) Save up a BUNCH of newspapers. Have your friends and family do the same.
You want only the printed section -- i.e., the black and white section where
they have the news.
2) Do a good and low cutting of the grass in the strip. Bag and/or rake
your clippings as normal.
3) Take the newspaper you've saved up and put it down over top of the grass.
The desired thickness is right about 8 sheets, give or take a few.
4) Spread your clippings over the newspaper (no particular thickness -- just
good for soil).
5) Cover with about 4 inches of mulch (don't crowd the tree trunks of
course -- you don't want to cause rot).
6) Fluff the mulch every few days or so (use a rake to sort of flip it).
7) Wait until next spring and plant as normal.
This technique WILL work and it works just fine. You may want to toss a
little nitrogen down on the mulch after a while (use corn gluten) to help
replenish what will be taken out of the soil as it decomposes but that's
about all there is to it. This will effectively kill just about anything
there, most grass and weeds will not be able to come up through the paper.
In the spring, when you're ready to re-plant, your bed will be ready for
you. You can till it a bit if you like, add some more nitrogen, give it a
good raking, etc.
I just finished doing this on a 10'x30' strip in the front yard. Worked
like a charm. I think I've had 4 or 5 dandelions poke through some spots
where I pulled the newspaper up while fluffing the mulch (oops) as well as a
few blades of grass under the same conditions, but other than that -- nada.
Best part about it -- I haven't had to use any non-organic or herbicidal
techniques to get the desired effect.
James, there are 3 adults here and to tell you the truth, we have few friends
(and no relatives) to help with the newspapers. Can we use less newspaper and
make up the difference with weedblocker? If not, would just weedblocker fabric
do just as well? We really won't be planting anything else in that strip.
Thanks for your information.
You *CAN* but I recommend against it for 2 reasons -- first, you may later
decide to put something there and that means getting it all up (a pain at
the very least); second, it's the use of an inorganic solution where an
organic solution is more than adequate. You may find that for this
particular case it would be easiest to just buy a couple of extra Sunday
papers. In my case, I used mostly a 1 month run of the Wall Street
Journal -- my family saved up maybe half as much additional newspaper for
me, if that -- and my project covered far more area than yours.
All in all, I have only used weedblocker fabric once in my landscape -- we
have a smal pad for the central air unit and I put down weed fabric around
it, covered by a few bags of landscape rocks (about 4 or 5 inches worth) to
extend about a foot or two outside it. Every year I *STILL* have to get in
there and pull a few weeds. Weed fabric also typically holds water and soil
from runoff and such, so it's seldom an ideal long term solution IMHO.
In cases like this, I'd suggest still planting something in the area simply
to enhance its interest. For example, a small strip such as the one you
describe (fairly shaded, right?) would look great if filled with a few
varieties of Hosta -- they're not expensive at all, require little to no
upkeep, and they add something of a flair with their foliage and unique
flower spike. There are also various grasses (miscanthus) that can add some
vertical interest in patches where there is more sun, and a number of
low-growing perennials that are suitable for bordering walkways and/or
adding fragrance to an area. The options are truly limitless and a small
strip like this just begs for a little bit of variety to add that additional
Just something to think about. :) Good luck!
On 25 Aug 2003 01:44:48 GMT, email@example.com (PaNjDeFemale)
RoundUp is probably the easiest. You need to be very careful about
what/where you spray.
Another thought. Use three layers of (no color) newspaper and put
the mulch on top of the newspaper. The grass and weeds will die
before the newspaper rots.
Does your area have recycling depots or bins? You can get your newspapers
there. You may have to pay at the depot, but if you hang out at the bins on
the weekend you can ask the people dropping off old newspapers if you can
have theirs for a gardening project, and get them free!
"PaNjDeFemale" < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
Penny, I've heard of the Grass-B-Gone but had no idea you could get it directly
on your plants. I do often have weeds growing right under and through the
plants, especially junipers, which we have a lot of. Others have suggested
newspaper but we don't get many and don't know many who do so we may just buy
some newsprint since it's a one-time job if it's available in a large roll. So
meanwhile I'll hit the weeds under my shrubs. :) Thanks for your information.
Dan, that's a novel idea about the sunflowers but the area is in the front
along a fence so we'll go with just killing off the grass with newspaper,
weedblock, and if needed, grass/weedkiller and add mulch. Thanks for your
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