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Beginner Gardening Questions: Weeds and Garden beds.

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Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

May 26, 2012
6:20 PM

Post #9139820

Hello I have a couple of questions:

I am having weeding problems. Before starting my big garden bed I completely pulled up existing flowers, tilled the soil. Laid down weed preventer, and mulch as I planted new and replanted old flowers. Grass and weeds started growing up anyway immediately, It is a big area. I am thinking of pulling up the plants I have down, in the fall to use a weed killer like round up waiting a couple of weeks then putting the flowers down again with the weed preventer, soil and mulch. Do you guys and gals think this will kill the flowers or harm the soil to the point I won't be able to plant the flowers back? is there another way I should go about this? I wanted to wait till the fall because this was a recent planting. I had already had some flowers down in my bed but because of the weeds dug them up to get all the weeds out and I don't want to pull anything back up until it is healthy again. Any advice would be appreciated...Thanks

I have in the garden now
gladioluses,
Hyacinths
toad lilies
mountain lilies
oriental lilies
angelique tulips
Hosta's
Arum Corntum(Vodoo lili

Thumbnail by Serramarra
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altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

May 26, 2012
6:40 PM

Post #9139845

What is "weed preventer"? This may sound glib, but just getting out once a week and weeding, without resorting to herbicides, will probably fix your problems.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

May 26, 2012
7:25 PM

Post #9139900

Weed preventer is the (Preen weed preventer for the garden). No it doesn't sound glib but it has only been a week since this incident and the weeds and grass is pretty bad. But I will weed if that is the better option.

Thanks :)
Whataday
Wetumpka, AL
(Zone 8a)

May 26, 2012
8:31 PM

Post #9139985

If you decide to redo the bed, next time try putting down land scaping fabric. That will really slow down the weeds.
But even still, getting out and weeding will always be a must.
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

May 27, 2012
5:47 PM

Post #9140973

Landscape fabric is death on plants here in this relatively dry climate, not to say it would act the same there, though. It is really best to keep at it and remove all perennial weeds, rather than to rely on artificial things like landscape fabric, that will put its own constrictions on how you garden.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

May 27, 2012
5:56 PM

Post #9140982

Thank you both for the reply. :)

flowAjen

flowAjen
central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 27, 2012
9:33 PM

Post #9141236

I find landscape fabric does not work for me at all

I use the layered newpaper method.
Even when starting a brand new bed I don't even dig up the grass or weeds
I start by creating an edge and using pound in edging or the existing stone edging, I 've seen people use bricks, plates and all kinds of things for edging but it helps so grass and weeds don't start growing back into the garden itself
Layer on about 4 sheets of newspaper, overlapping edges, wet entire thing down and put down bricks or stone to hold down, you can leave for awhile till grass and weeds are dead so it's easier to dig the holes thru the paper but it's not necessary.
You did the holes for the plants, add a layer of soil over the paper and mulch the whole thing...you're done...no weeds
here's new extended bed waiting for plants to arrive, about 3 weeks later all planted and a year later
I hardly ever have to pull a weed in beds done like this

Thumbnail by flowAjen   Thumbnail by flowAjen   Thumbnail by flowAjen
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dcartphoto
Fort Dodge, IA

May 28, 2012
5:23 AM

Post #9141415

flowAjen great photos showint the progress of your beds, thank you!
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

May 28, 2012
5:56 AM

Post #9141458

The other advice I'd give is not to needlessly dig up the plants. It sounds like you want to do it often and you aren't allowing them to get established. Transplanting a plant is kind of like doing surgery on an animal. There are many times it's necessary, but there is a recovery time and if you do it too often then the recovery time is going to be long and they are going to be weak.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

May 28, 2012
10:15 AM

Post #9141786

[quote="Doug9345"]The other advice I'd give is not to needlessly dig up the plants. It sounds like you want to do it often and you aren't allowing them to get established. Transplanting a plant is kind of like doing surgery on an animal. There are many times it's necessary, but there is a recovery time and if you do it too often then the recovery time is going to be long and they are going to be weak. [/quote]

Thank you Doug! I'll keep ones down that I can and find a way to work around them.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

May 28, 2012
10:16 AM

Post #9141789

[quote="flowAjen"]I find landscape fabric does not work for me at all

I use the layered newpaper method.
Even when starting a brand new bed I don't even dig up the grass or weeds
I start by creating an edge and using pound in edging or the existing stone edging, I 've seen people use bricks, plates and all kinds of things for edging but it helps so grass and weeds don't start growing back into the garden itself
Layer on about 4 sheets of newspaper, overlapping edges, wet entire thing down and put down bricks or stone to hold down, you can leave for awhile till grass and weeds are dead so it's easier to dig the holes thru the paper but it's not necessary.
You did the holes for the plants, add a layer of soil over the paper and mulch the whole thing...you're done...no weeds
here's new extended bed waiting for plants to arrive, about 3 weeks later all planted and a year later
I hardly ever have to pull a weed in beds done like this[/quote]


I have heard of using newspaper but wasn't sure it would hold. I will try this method.

Thanks :)
MiniPonyFarmer
Gilmer, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 28, 2012
11:30 AM

Post #9141951

I can second the newspaper method. It works very well for new beds. I actually used 10-12 layers of newspaper. Wet them in a wheelbarrow full of water and lay them like tiles, overlapping at the edges an inch or so. You will have to work around your existing plants BUT the bulbs that have already bloomed WILL poke thru the newspaper next spring. So if you cover up a tulip or daffodil it is not the end. The newspaper itself will last about 6 months before it decomposes significantly enough that bulbs can get thru it. But it will keep suppressing any weed seeds that were in your soil for longer than that. After you place the wet newspaper, layer a couple inches of mulch. It works like a charm.
You can still get a few weeds, because birds carry them on their legs and in their poop. So you will have to watch for any new little sprouts on top of the newspaper.
I do think most of your trouble came from your existing soil having weed seeds in it. For the next bed you build you might try solarizing the area first. This consists of laying down thick plastic over the area for about 8 weeks to choke out anything underneath. You would want to do this in the hottest part of the year to get the best heated effect. Some say to use clear plastic but I have also used black and it works just as well.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

June 1, 2012
1:22 PM

Post #9147918

[quote="MiniPonyFarmer"]I can second the newspaper method. It works very well for new beds. I actually used 10-12 layers of newspaper. Wet them in a wheelbarrow full of water and lay them like tiles, overlapping at the edges an inch or so. You will have to work around your existing plants BUT the bulbs that have already bloomed WILL poke thru the newspaper next spring. So if you cover up a tulip or daffodil it is not the end. The newspaper itself will last about 6 months before it decomposes significantly enough that bulbs can get thru it. But it will keep suppressing any weed seeds that were in your soil for longer than that. After you place the wet newspaper, layer a couple inches of mulch. It works like a charm.
You can still get a few weeds, because birds carry them on their legs and in their poop. So you will have to watch for any new little sprouts on top of the newspaper.
I do think most of your trouble came from your existing soil having weed seeds in it. For the next bed you build you might try solarizing the area first. This consists of laying down thick plastic over the area for about 8 weeks to choke out anything underneath. You would want to do this in the hottest part of the year to get the best heated effect. Some say to use clear plastic but I have also used black and it works just as well.[/quote]

Thank you, I will try the newspaper and see how it goes.
Thanks,
everyone!

Domehomedee

Domehomedee
Arroyo Grande, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 1, 2012
10:17 PM

Post #9148552

You know sometimes it's a real challange to start a new area. I had a hillside that I wanted to plant and it was full of hemlock, it took years to get rid of all of it. Weed preventer will stop seeds from germinating but won't stop plants that have roots already in the soil from re-emerging. A good old fashioned weeding stick is probably your best bet, you can also "paint" round-up on those strubborn ones. I have just started a new area myself and I fear I will have a battle with re-emering grass. I, too, have put down pre-emergent weed preventer. I'm afraid nothing really works as well as pulling the little buggers.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

June 12, 2012
4:49 PM

Post #9162694

[quote="Domehomedee"]You know sometimes it's a real challange to start a new area. I had a hillside that I wanted to plant and it was full of hemlock, it took years to get rid of all of it. Weed preventer will stop seeds from germinating but won't stop plants that have roots already in the soil from re-emerging. A good old fashioned weeding stick is probably your best bet, you can also "paint" round-up on those strubborn ones. I have just started a new area myself and I fear I will have a battle with re-emering grass. I, too, have put down pre-emergent weed preventer. I'm afraid nothing really works as well as pulling the little buggers.[/quote]

Thanks Domehomedee for the reply :)
gardenworm2
Standish, MI

June 12, 2012
5:16 PM

Post #9162725

Actually with some types of grass when you pull them and unless you are able to get all the root you are spreading the problem.

One type is quack grass it spreads by rhizomes in the soil and when you pull what you see you are breaking the rot system into several more plants. Even when you pull roots up some still can remain to spread.
Serramarra
Cuyahoga Heights, OH

June 16, 2012
7:35 PM

Post #9168122

Thank you "gardenworm2" I put down some newspaper around the plants then mulched I'll see where that takes me.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

June 23, 2012
8:35 PM

Post #9177843

This is a great thread- I just started using cardboard between tomato, cucumber and squash plants in the veggie garden, and mulching over the cardboard. But I think newspaper is easier to deal with. Even wet, the cardboard can be very stiff and hard to get down flat.

Pam
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 1, 2012
9:46 PM

Post #9189397

I had an area that no matter what I tried the wire grass would take over. Nothing would kill it. I sprayed the whole area with commercial round up and in no time, it was back. Go to my landscape page and see what I finally did. I love the area now. I know many of you will balk at my drastic measures but this was after trying everything for about 5 years. First I built raised beds for my perenials and filled with commercial soil. The other areas , I first covered with black plastic with rolled roofing on top. I cut out a area for my Crepe Myrtle, and then cut out areas for my other plants which are all in gallon pots placed in the ground. My husband and I laid grouted stone walkways and a pond. This is the second season and my potted plants are doing great. No one can tell they are not planted in the ground. Good thing about this method, I can pull the pots out and replace with the different seasons.

Thumbnail by PhyllisJ   Thumbnail by PhyllisJ
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Domehomedee

Domehomedee
Arroyo Grande, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 1, 2012
10:44 PM

Post #9189418

Nice job Phyllis.
Roll roofing does work well at killing weeds. I, too, have tried growing in pots in the ground, I haven't had a lot of luck with it. I put my iris in pots to keep them away from the gophers. I figured being rootbound was better than being rootless, LOL. They haven't bloomed well in pots. Seems like we have all tried creative ways to solve our garden problems.
Dee

flowAjen

flowAjen
central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

July 1, 2012
10:50 PM

Post #9189422

looks great, guess you gotta go with what works
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 1, 2012
10:57 PM

Post #9189430

Thanks Dee. I think most people use to small of pots without good drainage holes when putting plants in the ground. The bigger the pot the better. I get used pots from my local nursery for pennies and so far so good. I tried irises in pots without luck as well but did not put them in the ground. Actually, I needed to move them is why they landed in pots. I will put the pots in the ground and let you know how it turns out. They are healthy plants but just no blooms.
PhyllisJ
Johnson City, TN
(Zone 6b)

July 1, 2012
11:01 PM

Post #9189433

Thanks FlowAjen. It was a last resort for a area that was a real eyesore. I had even tried plowing and treating the entire area. I am at an age that I just want things as care free as possible.

Domehomedee

Domehomedee
Arroyo Grande, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 2, 2012
8:55 AM

Post #9189853

You know another trick I used with the in ground pots is double potting them. If you can get a little air space at the bottom it increases the drainage and really make it easy to change out a plant. I used the plastic pots that are wider than a regular 1 gallon size but about the same depth with the iris. It's really funny that my iris will survive and bloom with one little root on them but don't like being a pot at all. I don't think they are getting to wet, it's hard to get to wet were I live, it's pretty dry here. That reminds me I should fertilize, that does make a difference in how many blooms you get.

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