Can I use a weed killer in my flower bed?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
Dave from Kansas City
I wouldn't. Our neighbor sprayed weed killer in his flower bed and nothing would grow for 3 years even after digging out the soil and replacing it.
There is a natural product out that actually stops weeds from sprouting. It is based on a byproduct of the corn industry. I purchase mine from an online company called Gardens Alive, but have seen the same product for sale at Lowe's with the organic fertilizers. I know it works to cut way back on annual weeds and it breaks down to a natural fertilizer. (10/28/2007)
By piki viki
To every action there is a reaction. This is just as true in your garden. Chemicals such as Preen will kill weeds while also limiting the performance of other plants. The best weed killer is elbow grease. Once you have removed your weeds use an organic mulch such as newspaper or grass clippings to slow future weed growth. Good luck. (08/23/2008)
By Mike - Live Nursery Specialist
Put shingles down, and then cover with mulch. (08/30/2008)
Mulch does look nice in any garden and helps keep roots stay cooler while saving water uses. As much as it helps make a flower bed look very appealing it also hides weed roots allowing the weed root to grow deeper and stronger. Organic control with the use of Preen will slow down a weed problem as well flowering plant growth, but bottom line is if you get the whole root you kill the weed.
I start my weed elimination using the following steps from Spring to very late Fall for Zone 6
As soon as the Tulips show buds I use a weeding fork to loosen soils in six mid-sized area gardens. ( Note: I have to remove the past year's mulch. This will become the floor to a new compost pile for next year.) I then hand rake the lawn with both a rock rake and leaf rake, apply the grub killer with lawn fertilizer and then add Rose Food Organic Fertilizer (It's early March). As the Tulip flowers fall off I again hand fork all the flower beds and remove anything that has a leaf I don't recall planting from the prior year. Do not put these unknown leaves in to the compost pile nor leave them on the lawn.
The lawn then becomes the garden clock. Once a week from April to mid September I use a bagging mower to mow and dump the grass clippings on to the old mulch pile removed from beds. I then repeat with use of the hand fork of stirring up each area's flower beds removing any and all unknown shoots or weeds. If you just now noticed I still didn't add any mulch to any flower bed, that's because I also have a Maple tree that drops it's seedling pods from May to July. This means I have to rake my lawn to remove the seed pods before I mow and weed control after I mow. I only add Organic fertilizers to all flowering beds on the same time clock as a Climbing Rose calls for. This will continue one time weekly even though I could get away with a two week weed removal time frame. I can agree with hand removal as being the best way to kill weeds and not relying on mulch to hide the younger weed shoots which become very strong roots.
As the Fall season nears it's end and the leaves have started to fall I dig up all of any flowering plant that needs splitting up ( Day Lillies, Oriental Lillies, Iris, etc.). I dig a new home for them that measures at least four feet deep and perhaps 3 feet square and dispose of that dirt right on top of the weed pile from prior weedings and will use the well composted from two seasons ago to fill the holes.
When to use mulch.
If you grow an out of zone flowering plant, example:
A Zone 7 flowering plant grown in Zone 6 it's roots will need the added warmth through the Winter months that mulch can give by burying the plant or up to three feet high. I remove the dead stalks and or leaves in Spring when new growth on the "out of zone" flower shows new leaves.
As added color to flower beds:
However one needs to make sure the mulch they're about to add has "not" been dyed or colored. You should use mulch from an area garden shop vs a Home Depot or Lowe's Garden Department.
How to mulch for added color:
Thin layer. Did I mention thin yet? How thin is thin? You should be able to stick a finger into the mulch and see at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch from the first line of your index finger without sinking the finger in to the soft moist soil, but keep in mind the dreadful weed will be bigger before it shows its shoot and fertilizers will need added time for its effects on plants.
Flowering gardens are a busy place for those who have them. Our reward is the wonders of nature's colors. Trust me here. No one ever told me how nice my mulch looks, but then again I only use it for added warmth on certain flowering plants such as climbing Roses, Tea Roses, Miniature Roses, and some "out of zone" plants.
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