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how to stop weeds from growing in mulch beds

How to stop weeds from growing in mulch beds

Rake the area smooth and remove any old mulch, rocks or debris that could poke a hole in your weed barrier.

Use several layers of old newspaper in place of black plastic weed barrier if you want a more environmentally friendly way to reduce weed growth through your mulch. Lay the newspaper down and cover with a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch. You’ll have to replace the newspaper and mulch more often, however, because the newspaper will biodegrade over time. Fabric weed barriers are another option, though they aren’t always as effective as plastic in preventing weeds from growing.

Things You Will Need

Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch over the entire surface of the black plastic weed barrier. Spread the mulch over the edges of the weed barrier so the black plastic doesn’t show.


Weeds are the enemy of gardeners around the country. These pesky plants decrease the beauty of your yard and rob vital moisture and nutrients from your flowers, vegetables and lawn. Mulch helps minimize weeds but also retains more moisture and helps moderate the temperature of your soil. The trick to keeping weeds from growing through your mulch is to put a layer of weed barrier underneath.

How to stop weeds from growing in mulch beds

At Master Lawn, our Landscaping Weed & Feed program includes a rotation of pre-emergent and post-emergent products in addition to the use of organic, pro-biotic soil additives in order to help improve your plants’ color, vigor, and root health.

For instance, if you are dealing with Monkey Grass, we have a specialized control product to address that. If you have Nutsedge creeping into your plant beds from the lawn, we can mix up a specialized product to handle that. Our technicians are trained to know what products to use, where to apply them, and when to apply them—as all of these details matter. Keep in mind that because different seasons produce different weeds, it’s important that products are rotated based on season, too.

Your landscaping adds a lot of beauty to your property and you likely appreciate them for their aesthetic appeal. That is until you start seeing weeds creep in. Weeds are an eyesore that can really detract from the overall look of your landscape beds.

Enhancing the Health of Your Flower Beds

An effective approach to weed control in plant beds includes an ongoing rotation of pre-emergent products. Pre-emergent weed controls are ones that prevent weeds in the first place by inhibiting their seeds from germinating. In many cases, these products will take care of a large majority of your weeds. However, post-emergent controls can also be used to address any breakthrough that occurs.

These microorganisms also help strengthen your plants against disease and pests. Healthy, biologically active soil has a highly diverse array of this microscopic life and can even help reduce the need for some insect and disease control products over time. A routinely used plant health care service that is focused on the biology of the soil health of the plant beds will have fewer weeds and better-performing plants.

In fact, many homeowners assume that there’s nothing more they can do to address weeds other than mulching their beds and hand-pulling any of the weeds that break through. While it’s certainly true that mulching will help suppress weeds, there are always those persistent ones that continue to emerge.

How to Stop Weeds from Growing in Mulch

Of course, you might be wondering what kills weeds but not plants in your flower beds? You may be worried about harming the plants that you love. Rest assured, at Master Lawn, we are utilizing specialized products, customized to your landscape beds and their specific needs.

It’s really a win all around. You get to take back your time while also having the best-looking plant beds in your neighborhood. It’s a wise choice that will pay off in more ways than one.

How to stop weeds from growing in mulch beds

The downside to using weed barriers is that there are weeds that are notorious enough to grow through them. If this occurs, it’s usually a headache getting them out as they’d be intertwined with the cloth’s fabric.

These are effective yet easy ways to eliminate weeds from your bed. Always check whether any products you’re using on your bed, garden or farm has any adverse effects on the plant or the user. This is most important with the use of chemicals some of which are heavy pollutants.

Note: While glyphosate can be used to kill weeds in mulch, you should be careful when applying it since it’s a broad-spectrum weed killer that will kill all broad-leaved plants. You should thus apply it on each individual weeds with a paintbrush making sure it doesn’t touch other plants. You may also use cardboards to protect the rest of the plants when applying it. Remove the cardboards only when the weeds are dry.

Killing weeds in a mulch beds is slightly different from doing the same in a larger area such as a garden for example. It’s both easier and harder at the same time given the smaller size and delicate nature of the bed respectively.

2. Use a weed barrier cloth or landscape fabric

The best methods to prevent weed growth in your mulch include the following:

Mulch works against weeds by blocking sunlight from reaching the surface of the soil. This doesn’t always work as sunlight can find its way through the layer of mulch leading to the growth of weeds. Given that weeds can grow in tougher conditions compared to normal plants, a little sunlight is all they need to sprout.

You can remove softer weeds using your hands wearing gloves but for tougher weeds such as grown nutsedge, crabgrass, and shrubs, you might want to use a tool such as a stand-up weed puller.

1. Use Pre-emergent herbicides

Using pre-emergent herbicides

Pre-emergent herbicides work by killing weeds in a parcel of land before the primary plants sprout (emerge from the soil). It also kills weeds before they appear. You can’t thus use it directly on weeds that have already sprouted since they won’t die. It’s used to prevent the growth of weeds rather than kill them.