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what prevents weeds from growing

What prevents weeds from growing

Most weeds are easy to eradicate if spotted early enough and can be controlled without the use of chemicals.

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A weed is technically just a plant in the wrong place. It could be an unwanted seedling from another plant, or something more pernicious and invasive that you really want to eradicate. However, while you’ll never be able to completely stop weeds from popping up, there are ways to ensure they have less places to grow.

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Bare patches of soil will quickly be colonised by both annual and perennial weeds, so a well-stocked border is less likely to support a thriving population of these pesky plants. If you have gaps in your borders, plug them by planting ground covering plants.

What prevents weeds from growing

But don’t lose hope just yet! A regular rotation of weed control products throughout the spring, summer, and fall can keep those pesky weeds at bay. We find that a lot of homeowners are aware that there are weed control products for the lawn but they don’t realize there are products that work for plant beds, too.

That means in addition to answering the question of how to prevent weeds in flower beds, this program will also enhance the overall health of the plants within those beds. The introduction of these microorganisms (like beneficial fungi and bacteria) will assist your plants in their ability to digest nutrients in the soil.

How to Stop Weeds from Growing in Mulch

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.

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.

Enhancing the Health of Your Flower Beds

Hand-pulling can be time consuming and fortunately, it is not your only option.

This Preemergence herbicide, made from corn gluten, is nontoxic. You can safely use it near all of your vegetables as well as around ornamental plants. Photo by Saxon Holt

Photo by Saxon Holt

You can get in-depth information on drip irrigation from the Irrigation and Green Industry Network in the “Where to Find It” section.

Frequent, light watering causes shallow roots and helps annual bluegrass, crabgrass, chickweed, sedges and other weed seeds germinate. If you water too little, the lawn suffers while spotted spurge, Bermuda grass, quackgrass and other weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. Instead, provide your lawn with infrequent, deep soakings. Lawns need about 1 inch of water per week. Set an empty tuna can on the lawn to determine when you have applied 1 inch of water.

Mow Higher

Preemergence herbicides, such as those containing oryzalin or trifluralin (look on the label for these chemicals), or nontoxic corn gluten meal, kill weeds just as they germinate and will not eradicate established weeds. For a preemergence herbicide to be effective, you must apply it to soil cleared of visible weeds; also, you have to water most of these herbicides into the soil.

Mowing too low weakens turf by reducing the ability of a grass leaf to produce enough nutrients. It also lets light hit the soil surface, which helps crabgrass and goosegrass seeds sprout and grow. Check with your local extension service for the recommended range of mowing heights for your grass type. Then mow at the highest level—usually between 2 and 4 inches.

(For those of you who already have weeds attacking your yard, read our article on How to Get Rid of Weeds.)

Can I Put Landscape Fabric Over Weeds?

Yes, you can. Synthetic landscape fabrics provide a physical barrier to weeds yet allow air, water and nutrients through to plant roots. Spread the fabric over bare soil around trees and shrubs; overlap several inches of fabric at the seams. Anchor the material with U-shaped metal pins, then conceal it with 1 to 2 in. of mulch, such as stone or bark chips.

Any weeds that grow through mulch are easy to pull because the soil remains loose. Photo by Saxon Holt