One of the biggest challenges every property owner or manager encounters when maintaining flower beds is keeping weeds to a minimum. No matter how much effort you spend on watering the plants and providing nutrients, weeds can make all your efforts in having a healthy garden in vain. At Rasevic, we specialize in landscaping services in the Mid-Atlantic region, so weed removal is on our minds all summer. Here are some tips we like to use to answer the question: How to control weeds in your flower bed.
Mulch early and as much as needed
Mulch is a wonderful way to help your plants stay healthy, add instant beauty, and keep weeds down. Mulch helps maintain a cool and damp ground and it denies weeds light, making it more difficult for them to grow. As a bonus, crickets, beetles, and other insects may live in mulch and they tend to hunt for and eat weed seeds by the millions.
Chunky mulches allow some light to flow through them, and frequently you’ll find out too late that the mulching you used was contaminated with weed seeds. To maintain the mulch at a depth of approximately 2 inches, it is crucial to replace it as necessary. In any event, you may significantly reduce the amount of weeds in your garden by first covering the soil’s top with a light-blocking piece of cardboard, paper, or biodegradable cloth, followed by a layer of attractive mulch.
When using this technique in seldom excavated regions like the root zones of trees and plants, use a sturdy landscape cloth for the bottom sheet that blocks light. However, there is a catch: Weed seeds dispersed by birds or brought in by the wind will begin to develop as soon because enough organic material builds up on the landscape fabric. These must be removed before they send roots through the bottom layer of cloth and into the ground for it to work.
Reduce soil disturbance
Weed seeds are present in every single centimeter of your garden, but only those located in the top inch of the soil receive sufficient light to cause germination. Consider weed growth to be there ready for erupting, like termites from an unhappy anthill, every moment you uncover a section of ground since digging and farming brings concealed weed growth to the surface. Only dig when absolutely necessary, and then cover the damaged area with vegetation or mulch right afterward.
Use a paring blade with a thin blade to cut thru the roots of daisies as well as other grass weeds to disconnect their feed supply rather than pulling them out to reduce soil disturbance in lawns. Remember that weed seeds have a very long dormant period.
Water your plants, instead of weeds
Take the drought into your favor by denying weeds water. By burying drip or soak hoses under mulch, you may effectively water plants while starving adjacent weeds. In most regions, limiting the water that can get to weeds will result in a 50–70% reduction in weed seed development. But in damp regions, keep an eye out for the emergence of perennial weeds with deep roots, such as bindweed, and nutsedge. When the advantages of drip irrigation are provided, they might take off quickly.
In addition to these methods, you may keep your garden free of weeds by adding organic matter to the soil whenever you can. There is less weed growth in soil that has recently been infused with high-quality compost or other organic matter, while soil experts are unsure of the mechanism of the action. One idea is beautifully simple and makes sense: Weed seeds perceive a lack of employment when topsoil is healthy and therefore well-fed and are less inclined to sprout.
Keep an eye out for plant gaps
By shadowing the soil between plants, dense plant spacing smothers out growing weeds. By planning with bulk plantings or even in drifts of tightly spaced plants instead of using polka dots or widely spread ones, you may avoid weed-friendly spaces from the start. Typically, you may reduce the required separation by around 25%.
Stick to the rules when dealing with plants that really are susceptible to plant pathogens, such as honey balms, since the majority of spacing recommendations are based on the idea that adjacent plants would hardly touch once they reach adult size.
Remove weed heads
The very next best thing to removing weeds is to cut off their heads. Deadheading annual weeds gives you a few more weeks before the weed “seed rain” starts. Reducing reseeding and forcing perennial weeds, including bindweed, to use up their food stores and all of their root buds limits their ability to spread.
To remove towers of poke or ragweed, you will require pruning loppers, or you may advance to a string trimmer with a blade attachment and reduce thorny thistles or brambles to their nastiest form. Cutting down wildflowers before they turn to seed can help prevent them from spreading, regardless of the technique you pick.
Use a weed barrier
Another option for preventing sunlight from hitting the soil is to purchase landscaping cloth or make your own. You can purchase landscape fabric online or at most garden supply shops if you want to attempt this technique. As an eco-friendly substitute, we advise using newspapers.
In any case, you should start by clearing the area of all weeds. Apply the barrier by placing it on the ground while walking around your desired plants after the area has been cleared of weeds. Use 5-7 layers of newspaper to build a barrier that is thick enough to screen the light but not so thick that it prevents water from passing through. Next, moisten the landscape cloth or newspaper.
You’re free to quit now since the sun has effectively cut off the weed seeds’ supply of energy. Having a garden covered in newspaper, though, probably isn’t your thing. Add a layer of compost on top as newspaper or cloth won’t look attractive. Water again well after adding the mulch. You may be certain that no weeds won’t be snuck through the mulch, and your yard will look fantastic.
Need professional help?
If you can pay attention to these tips, you can easily take control over weeds in your flower beds. As a result, you will be able to end up getting a perfect-looking flower bed at the end of the day. However, if you want a professional to apply a pre-emergent to keep weeds from running rampant, look to a professional like Rasevic. We know when and how to treat weeds to keep your gardens looking fantastic all season!