Growing perennials and annuals is a satisfying endeavor. However, it can get frustrating when weeds start to grow.
They are unsightly and take away valuable nutrients from the soil meant for your blooms. This article will show you how to keep weeds out of flower beds. These methods can help you achieve a beautiful, weed-free garden.
1. Mulching Properly
Covering the soil’s surface is an effective way to keep weeds from growing in your flower beds. Weed seeds can easily land and thrive on bare ground, so it’s best to cover it with mulch.
What is mulch?
Mulch is a material, usually organic, layered on top of the soil. Aside from protecting the ground from seed weeds, it can also conserve soil moisture and regulate the temperature. Mulch can decrease weed growth and improve the soil’s health and fertility. Natural mulches can provide the soil with additional nutrients for optimal plant health.
What are the types of mulch?
Mulch is readily available and easy to use. You can gather some of it from your yard or buy it from a garden supply store.
Wood mulch is made by shredding wood and turning them into smaller chips. You may use organic, undyed wood chips sourced from local trees or commercially-produced ones from a reputable garden supply store.
Composted mulch is a combination of hardwood and compost. This mulch can keep seeds from growing while providing more nutrients to the soil.
Grass clippings may be annoying for some, but they are heaven-sent for gardeners. Ensure the grass is dry before using them to cover the soil.
Fallen dry leaves now have a noble purpose as they are also suitable for mulching. It would be best to shred them to make them more manageable.
How to Mulch Properly
The following are essential tips on how to mulch correctly for optimal results.
- Remove visible seeds in your flower bed before applying mulch.
- Ensure that the mulch layer is 2-3 inches thick. Sunlight can still penetrate a layer of fewer than two inches. On the other hand, water won’t adequately seep into the ground if you apply mulch more than three inches.
- Avoid adding mulch to the base of the plant since it might cause disease.
- Please don’t disturb the mulch after applying it. Avoid raking the mulch since it might cause the dormant seed weeds to germinate.
This video can teach you how to mulch your flower bed correctly.
2. Laying Down Barriers
Placing natural or synthetic barriers over the soil is also a great way to keep weeds out of your flower beds. They can block sunlight and prevent weed growth. The following are some materials that you can use as barriers.
You can now use those online purchase boxes in your garden. Remember to avoid glossy and colored boxes. The natural brown ones are your best options. The first thing you need to do is flatten the boxes and overlap them.
Ensure to cover the entire flower bed and the surrounding areas. Position your cardboard around existing plants, then layer two to three inches of mulch on top of the boxes.
Newspapers are the cheapest and most readily available sunlight barrier. While some gardeners find them messy, some like them for being environment-friendly. Laying down five to seven layers of newspapers would be best.
Avoid the urge to add more layers since it can prevent water from nourishing your plants. Moisten the newspapers to keep them in place. At this point, you can add a little mulch to make your flower beds look more appealing.
This physical barrier is a woven or non-woven material you can buy in rolls from garden supply stores. Also called weed fabric, weed barrier, or weed block, it can prevent sunlight from nourishing weed seeds.
Lay it over the soil, and then layer some mulch over the fabric. If you’re planting annuals, this isn’t the best way to go since replanting will be more challenging.
Ground Cover Plants
Planting ground cover plants are a great option if artificial barriers aren’t your style. They are a more attractive way of preventing sunlight from reaching the soil.
Choose ivy-like plants that grow lush and thick to cover your flower bed. Remember to choose a plant that can thrive in your climate and soil type. Otherwise, it won’t work if it’s not lush enough.
What are tips on laying barriers?
- Remove any weeds surrounding the flower bed before adding any physical barrier.
- Remember to water the mulch after placing them on top of the barrier.
- Avoid adding mulch near the plant’s base since it might cause disease.
3. Weeding Correctly
Weeding may not be an enjoyable activity for some gardeners. However, this old-fashioned way is still effective in getting rid of weeds. Weeds can get invasive and destructive quickly, so a proactive approach is best.
These tips can help you weed your flower bed effectively.
- Ensure that you include the roots when yanking off the weeds. If you leave the roots intact, they will grow back. Hold the weeds as close to the ground as possible and pull straight up.
- Remove the weeds as soon as they sprout. Schedule a regular weed inspection and removal day to ensure they won’t multiply.
- Removing weeds when the ground is moist is best, so weeding after it rains is a good idea. However, you must be cautious when walking over your wet garden as it can compact the soil. Try reaching in if you can. If it’s too straining, walk on some boards for balanced weight distribution.
- If the weather reports show no rain soon, you may water your garden before pulling weeds. Don’t wait for the rain to come, especially during summer. Remember, weeds can grow fast regardless of the weather.
- Some weeds may be too small to pull by hand, so use a hoe to remove them. Sharpen your tool regularly for a more effective weed pulling. Use a triangular-shaped hoe if you have closely spaced rows in your flower bed.
- If you find removing some weeds from their roots difficult, you can cut the heads regularly. It will prevent them from spreading and multiplying weed seeds.
- Follow the spacing instructions on your plant’s tag or label. If there are none, research the required distance from one plant to another. Too much bare space can allow weeds to grow.
- Remember not to dispose of weeds on top of your leaf pile. They might still spread weed seeds or multiply from there. Burning them is not an environmentally-safe option as well. The best action would be to let them dry under the sun and place them in garbage bags.
4. Applying Herbicides
If you have exhausted all efforts, but weeds are still coming back, maybe it’s time to use herbicides. You can get rid of weeds effectively with proper use and correct product choice.
What are the types of herbicides?
There are two significant types of weed killers available in the market. If you’re uncomfortable using chemicals in your garden, you can also use natural weed killers.
Pre-emergent Weed Killer
This kind of weed killer is best for weeds that haven’t sprouted yet. It only targets ungerminated weed seeds so that it won’t harm your other plants. For more desirable results, you can apply this weed killer when using a fabric barrier.
Post-emergent Weed Killers
This herbicide is excellent when weeds have taken over your garden. Some experts recommend herbicides containing Glyphosate. It’s important to note that non-selective weed killers can also harm your existing shrubs or perennials.
Homemade Weed Killers
For a “greener” option, you can make weed killers using household products. Combine the following ingredients to create a homemade weed killer solution.
- 1 cup salt
- 1 gallon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
How to Use Herbicides Safely and Properly
If you’re using chemical weed killers, it would be best to observe the following safety precautions:
- Identify the weeds that you want to eliminate. Knowing your “enemy” allows you to choose the best product to battle it.
- Ensure that you follow instructions carefully to prevent any untoward incidents.
- Apply or spray the product directly on the weeds’ surface.
- Be careful not to spray on your other plants. You may want to cover them before spraying.
Meanwhile, if you choose to use the homemade version, you also need to take note of the following:
- This weed killer can’t kill the root system immediately, so you must apply it several times.
- Avoid over spraying since the acetic acid from the vinegar might affect the soil’s pH levels.
- Ensure that you only spray the targeted weeds. Avoid spraying on your plants or the soil so they won’t get harmed.
Growing a flower garden can be a challenging but joyful experience. Some of the inevitable challenges are weeds that can steal nutrients from your plants. Knowing how to keep weeds out of flower beds can help your flowers thrive and flourish. Happy gardening!