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best way to prevent weeds from growing in flower bed

Best way to prevent weeds from growing in flower bed

As a last resort, you may want to use chemicals to kill the weeds in your flower beds, but the risk is that you might damage or kill your flowers along with the weeds and possibly harm birds or pets with toxic poisons. Begin with the most benign products, such as those containing vinegar or other acid-based liquids, corn gluten meal or herbicidal soaps, and apply them as directed on the packages. Then try other chemical herbicides designed specifically for the weeds in your garden and use them exactly as directed.

Preventing weeds from gaining a stronghold in your garden begins with ensuring that the soil you use is free of weeds and weed seeds. Examine plants you buy to ensure that there aren’t small weeds growing along with the plants, and if there are any, scrape them away before planting the flowers in your garden. And make sure any compost or organic matter you use is well aged so weed seeds have died.

If you plant every inch of your flower bed with plants of your choosing, weeds will have nowhere to grow and your flower bed will appear lush and unified with the same ground cover plants weaving in and out among larger plants. For example, plant multiple clumps of Japanese sedge grass (Carex oshimensis), which grow 10 to 12 inches tall in USDA zones 5 through 9. Or strew seeds of Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida), a member of the aster family with profuse brilliantly colored flowers that grow in USDA zones 10 through 12.

You have options when it comes to keeping your flower beds weed-free. The best way to minimize the weeds in your garden is to use all of the methods at your disposal, and to be persistent in your efforts, especially as you first start out. Keeping your flower beds relatively weed-free not only makes your job easier as a gardener, but it also helps keep your plants healthy without the added competition of unwanted weeds.

Weeding by Hand

Always sterilize your weeding tools with rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes after each weeding session to help ensure that you don’t transfer weed seeds or diseases from one part of your garden to another.

Heating the soil to kill weeds and weed seeds works before you plant flowers in the bed if you have a large area and plenty of time. Till the soil in the bed, rake it smooth, water it and cover it with clear, heavy-guage plastic, weighted down at the edges so it stays in place. Ensure that the area around it stays moist. It will take about eight weeks for the soil to heat enough to kill weed seeds.

Mulching involves covering the ground around plants with a thick layer of material that smothers weeds. Plus, mulch has the added benefit of helping the soil retain moisture. Use a layer from 4 to 6 inches deep of organic material, such as wood chips or composted leaves, to prevent weeds from growing. Or use a dark colored sheet of plastic mulch or landscape fabric with a thinner layer of chips on top to hide the unattractive material.

Destroying Weeds Before They Arrive

Weeding by hand is most successful if you get the entire root of the weed and if you remove weeds before they have a chance to flower and spread seeds. Be diligent about weeding on a regular basis, and try to remove very small weed seedlings before they grow large by simply scratching the surface of the soil on a hot day with a hoe or pronged fork weeder; the sun will quickly dry out the small seedlings and their roots. For weeds with very deep roots or rhizomes that resprout with any portion left in the ground, continually cut the plants as low as possible. Eventually, after 9 to 13 bouts of weeding over two years, you’ll eradicate the weeds.

Susan Lundman began writing about her love of gardening and landscape design after working for 20 years at a nonprofit agency. She has written about plants, garden design and gardening tips online professionally for ten years on numerous websites. Lundman belongs to numerous gardening groups, tends her home garden on 2/3 acre and volunteers with professional horticulturists at a 180 acre public garden where she lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington State.

Best way to prevent weeds from growing in flower bed

This also helps keep the mulch thick enough to repel weed seeds.

In the blink of an eye after stirring up the surface, they are sprouting full force.

Seeds are constantly blowing into flowerbeds from all over. They can also be dropped on the surface of the mulch from birds, other wildlife, and from foot traffic.

But just using mulch isn’t enough. It also needs to be put down and maintained correctly to help eliminate future weeds from your flowerbeds.

Don’t Disturb The Mulch

For many gardeners, heading out to stir up faded mulch in their flowerbeds is a great way to freshen up a bed’s appearance.

Adding a thin layer of mulch to freshen up beds is the better than turning your mulch!

Open soil is a wide-open invitation for weeds to thrive and flourish. When the soil is bare, weed seeds easily drift or blow in and sprout.

Mulching Deep

There is nothing more frustrating than the constant battle to eliminate weeds from flowerbeds.

The biggest mistake you can make is to rake the mulch in your beds. This gives weed seeds a chance to find a home underneath in the soil.

Best way to prevent weeds from growing in flower bed

Your grandmother may have shared this way to prevent weeds, but it’s not a long-term solution.

Newspaper as Weed Barrier

But when you yank a weed by hand, it often breaks off, leaving the root behind. That means it will quickly re-sprout.

Weeding by Hand

“You’ll be digging up annual beds a lot,” she says. “You might have to weed a little bit, but annual beds will get thick pretty fast, so weeds aren’t much of an issue.”