First time poster in this group. Hope this isn't the most redundant
question. If so, I apologize in advance.
Looking for some advice on how best to prevent weed growth in our garden. I
am looking at two options, maybe someone could suggest other alternatives.
So far, I weeded the flower bed. The bed is about 30 ft long and about 3
feet wide with no shrubs in the way.
Plant the flowers such as dahlias, marigolds and geraniums.
Add mulch around the bed to minimize weed growth.
(I've done that in the past and found that over time some of the mulch
spreads and thins out and weeds still manage to pop through.)
Lay a sheet of weed stopper on top of the soil and then cut holes to plant
the flowers. (I guess I could simply put down newspaper and save a few
Afterwards, add mulch to hide weed stopper material.
Even though I might use a roll of the 10 year weed wall material I would
have to remove it in the Fall because I have tulip bulbs planted for the
Would rather not have to put the weed stopper material on the garden, but
really don't want to spend time weeding again either. Anything I could do
beside just adding the mulch to prevent the weeds from popping through?
Put down newspaper or cardboard. Mulch with alfalfa, 3" thick. Repeat
next year. If mulch starts to thin, add to 3". Keeps out most weeds,
feeds worms, which feed plants. Don't use water soluable chemicals
(Miracle Grow, ect., fish emulsion, seaweed extract, OK.)
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
not sure where you are...... zone wise, the sun orientation, shade...
tulips need to be dug every other year, divided and replanted as they
dont naturalize very well (unless they are species tulips). They also
have ugly foliage for a while followed by bare dirt, so typically
something is planted that leafs out later and covers the ugly. around
here that something is peonies. some hostas will also do if the
orientation is east or west without too much sun all day.
tulips and other bulbs are typically put into a perennial bed, one
that isnt dug up and disturbed with planting annuals (what you want to
plant). some people leave a border in front for their annuals. OR,
use planters for their annuals with some annual vines draping over the
for a perennial bed the best choice is pre-emergent to prevent seed
germination, soaker hoses and then mulch over the top. use a hoe to
cut off weeds as they sprout rather than pulling them up which brings
weed seeds up to the surface.
For an annual bed where you are planting plants (rather than seeding)
it is best to put down newspapers, cut the holes and mulch. this can
also be done for annual edgings of perennial beds.
On Tue, 19 Jun 2007 01:36:43 GMT, "Charlie S."
If you are looking at pesticides here is some information for the first time
John A. Keslick, Jr.
Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology.
Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us
that we are not the boss.
There's nothing you can do that will let you plant now and keep hands off
from weed control for the year. Mulch is your friend. Weed stop material
is not going to keep weeds out of your garden -- they'll just root above the
material, such as in the mulch around the plants.
Prep the soil, plant, add mulch -- 3-4" minimum, then take care of the
occasional weed that starts up and also add new mulch when the old starts to
deteriorate. This means using a lot more mulch than you would think.
Rather than keep buying bags of mulch I -- (a) Talk to local tree trimmers,
power company, etc., and have them leave their wood chips on my property.
They benefit from not having to take it to a landfill, nor do they have to
pay the landfill fee. I get free mulch. It usually takes me a couple of
months to get around to using all that they've left, and by that timeit has
already composted slightly. or
(b) When necessary, buy it in bulk from a local nursery and have it
delivered. It's a little harder to spread when it doesn't come in bags, but
a lot less expensive for the amount of mulch I buy.
No matter what path you choose, you're going to have to occasionally weed
around the plants you want in your garden, but if it's well mulched the
weeds will be fewer and a lot easier to pull out.
Whoa....15 bucks? I just bought three bales from our HVAC fixer/buddy
for 3 bucks, direct from the source. He raises and bales alfalfa.
Even at fifteen bucks per, it is a bargain for your garden and like you
say, way healthy.
I'd like to thank everyone for the weed tips and Ingrid for the flower info.
Didn't realize most tulips should be dug out every other year. Will do that
before I start planting.
I also wasn't aware of alfalfa being used in the garden. I would imagine
this is sold at the nursery or a local farm supply type store.
I've decided on the following course of action.
1. Remove tulip bulbs and either replant later or buy new ones in the Fall.
2. Make a few phone calls to find out where I can buy some alfalfa and buy
3. Plant flowers.
4. Put down some newspaper.
5. Spread 3 inches or more of mulch and possibly mix with alfalfa.
6. Hoe out weeds from time to time rather than pulling.
I already bought mulch, but may look into buying mulch from tree trimming
company next year. Or, buy in bulk from a local nursery.
Thanks again for all your help.
PS. Will most likely post again in the Fall. Will need advice about cutting
down towering trees that are growing close to the house.
One word of warning about wood mulch. It can harbor a very nasty fungus
called "artillery fungus." Artillery fungus sprays tiny protein spots
at anything within about 15 feet of the almost invisible fungus and
these spots, once they set within about 24 hours, are impossible to remove.
They can ruin car paint jobs, deface siding and end up costing you a
bunch of money.
We and our neighbors in a row of new homes had deep mulch on our
property that was the result of running the brush on the lot through a
wood chipper. We both ended up with artillery fungus infections that
caused us a lot of grief. I ended up having to spend a lot of money to
get it removed because there was about 1/3 of an acre of the stuff on my
property some of it almost a foot deep--and we needed heavy equipment to
The artillery fungus grows in wood chips, especially those that are more
than 2 or 3 inches deep. It starts out as just a few specks that can
easily be mistaken for fly specs and ends up as a hail of brown spots
everywhere. There is NO product on the market that can remove it easily
once the protein sets.
So do NOT use woodchipper chips on your landscaping, especially not near
your house or drive way, and don't layer your mulch too deep!
Good plan. When removing tulips or weeds, as in steps 1 and 6, a
precise weeding tool will disturb the soil much less than your
traditional hoe. There are also precise hoes, if you're stuck on flat
blades for weeding. A twister will probably work better on tulips,
actually. Otherwise you can choose from a number of weed pullers,
twisters and other unique weed removing tools that have back-saving
features and also help to protect your soil by minimum till
operation. Use your favorite search engine to search for precise
weeding tools for some suggestions.
At peace with weeds...
go to home depot and get yourself some preen. its safe and easy. make sure
you have gotten all the weeds out. sprinkle this around and wet it. it works
for probably a month or so.its great stuff.much easier than mulch or paper.
before i knew about it i put plastic around everything then mulch over top. i
had beautiful gladiolas. this year they have rotted and are dying. im
thinking maybe they reproduced as much as thay could and smothered out
because of the plastic and all the rain we had this year.i wish i knew about
preen a few years back because i loved those glads. good luck
Charlie S. wrote:
Message posted via HomeKB.com
Provided there's no runoff into wetlands, where Preen wreaks havoc
with aquatic life. No, it isn't safe and easy, it's just easy, and
terrible for the environment. Mulch and weed. That's why it's called
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
HA (the Chris Matthews sort).
Don't ask me, your reply just struck me that way. :-)
Along those lines, you have said this before and it got me to doing
some research. No I am not going to try or advocate for Preen, I did
see several places that it is not good stuff. Another of those things
that some organic-heads snap up and make the whole movement look bad.
Does straight corn gluten meal, the Iowa State research, have the same
effect upon aquatic life? This led to other stuff about the uses of
cornmeal as a fungicide and a minor source of N, and for slug and snail
Anyway, thanks for the thought-prompt that sent me down this line of
investigation. Learning new stuff all the time.
Here's links for the IaState stuff
You don't say whether you turn over the soil (perhaps no, based on
your reference to bulbs) with a digging fork or rototiller.
While this certainly will not stop weeds completely, it will slow down
many of them.
Planting your flowers closer together can also shade out the weeds
(depends a bit on the flowers, how fertile the soil is, whether buying
more flowers would be too expensive, etc).
This should work. By the end of the season the newspaper will
probably have broken down enough that you probably don't have to worry
much about removing it. If you end up going with the tilling method,
you can just till it into the soil with rototiller or digging fork
There aren't a whole lot of ways to prevent weeding entirely (well,
not ones I'd recommend anyway). But if you keep it to a manageable
level, don't think of it as a horrible chore, think of it as a chance
to be outside spending time in the company of the plants you want
Actually, tilling promotes weeds rather than suppressing them. The
soil is loaded with millions of weed seeds but only the top inch or
two get warm enough to germinate. If you deal with them using the
method of your choice then most of your weed problem is done.
But if you till the soil you bring more weed seeds into the
germination zone and it starts all over again.
There is a technique named "stale seed bed" that discourages tilling
for this reason. I am experimenting with it this year and so far it
looks pretty encouraging.
Actually, although I didn't say it very clearly the first time, I
agree with this.
Well, at least in the sense that tilling helps some weeds.
I'll maintain that it also will slow down others. It depends on
whether you are dealing with weed roots (perennial weeds which you
didn't pull up by the roots and the like), live weeds (in the case
where you are tilling after something has come up), what your soil
seed bank is like, and any number of other factors.
I tried a quick internet search, to see if one (or both) of us is
totally off base, but didn't find a whole lot very quickly. The most
entertaining (new to me, certainly) was about tilling at night:
Well, it discourages tilling at the same time as planting. Some
variations involve tilling, but some weeks (or more) before planting.
There seem to be many variants of this, from herbicides to flames to
hoeing. What they seem to have in common is that you *encourage* the
weeds to grow at some time *before* your crop is in, and then get rid
Most of the sources I found were more about direct-seeded crops than
transplants, though. The latter have a big head start on the weeds.
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