I have just finished hand-weeding an 800 sq ft garden. The weeds were
everywhere and, because I didn't get all the weeds and/or their roots,
I'm sure that, in the very near future, the weeds will re-sprout.
What can I use to kill the remaining weeds and/or their roots without
harming the established shrubs in the garden? How do I apply that
(I want to kill the weeds BEFORE I blend a 2" layer of redwood bark,
kelp meal, worm castings, bat guano and chicken manure, etc into the
top 6" of soil) and plant new shrubs.
Newspaper. At least 8 layers thick. For large areas, I've used thick
corrugated cardboard boxes, too.
It keeps the light away, so annual weeds can't germinate. The most
persistent perennial weeds occasionally make it through, depending on
how well you overlap, but most of the weeds I have in the areas I've
done this in have been very shallow rooted annual weeds who's seeds had
found the top dressing, or grass creeping in on the edges.
You can plant through the paper, cutting or leaving holes where you
want, or you can wait a season, and the paper will be decomposed enough
to plant through.
I've done areas where I've put composted manure above or below the
newspaper, with bark mulch on top, and some areas with just bark mulch
(not the nuggets, the mulch) on top, and I haven't found any significant
difference in results. I usually have 3 or 4 inches on top of the paper.
I have had good success suppressing even the hardest weeds using plain
newspaper. I lay it out really thick over hard to kill weeds like thistle, or
Bermuda grass. By thick, I mean about 15 sheets. Otherwise, I use minimum of
10 sheets and cover that with a nice thick layer of hay or straw. In an
ornamental bed, you will want to use mulch between the shrubs, so you can use
the newspaper under the mulch and just hand pull them as they come up. It will
be arduous for the first few seasons, but less and less each year.
Need a good, cheap, knowledge expanding present for yourself or a friend?
Just be aware that no matter what miracle method you use- pulling weeds is a
very regular part of gardening. You'll be surprised at the number of things
that will sprout atop/within your layer of mulch...
South Florida USA
Natural mulches and biodegradeable barriers make weeding an
occasional therapeutic pleasure, instead of a constant chore.
Mulches neednt cost any money. I use flattened cardboard cartons as the
base barrier, covered up with seaweed from the beach, manure from a
stables and farm next door, and chemical-free grass cuttings from a
local contractor and my own garden.
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