Preventing Weeds in Flower Beds

Don't let your beautiful flower bed be overrun by weeds. This is a guide about preventing weeds in flower beds.

November 20, 2016 Flag

With Bermuda grass growing all around, it was impossible to keep it out of the lawn. Eventually, all the fescue was removed and a fine bladed Bermuda hybrid was planted.

Bermuda migrates towards wetter soil. If flower beds are kept wetter than the surrounding lawn, Bermuda will easily invade them. Using sunken concrete mixing tubs as liners for beds can prevent this migration, underground. Keeping above ground migration at bay is much easier.


A hole is dug to accommodate the tub. Plastic is used to line the bottom of the hole. The plastic prevents underground grass roots from growing up through drain holes which were cut into the tubs. Saved fertilizer or potting soil bags are ideal for this purpose.

The tub is placed in the hole, being leveled by the addition or removal of small amounts of underneath soil, here and there. The soil is adjusted so that the rim of the tub will extend about one half inch above the surrounding soil. The lawnmower can then mow over the rim, where necessary. The tub is then filled with a soil rich in organic matter or a soil amended to suit a particular type bedding plant.

The soil can be easily removed from these tubs yearly and replaced with fresh. More often, all that is needed is the addition of a layer of nutrient rich compost to serve as a top dressing.


Pictured is a small bed of purslane. It is being grown in a sunken concrete tub. To the casual observer, it appears the flowers are being grown directly in the ground. Liriope (monkey grass), can be seen to the right of the purslane. It is one of a row of liriope plants being grown in sunken pots. When the first heavy frost has killed the purslane, it will be replaced with pansies or viola to provide a display of color throughout winter and well into spring.

Using mixing tubs to containerize small flower beds has many advantages. Weeding is much easier. Water is conserved. Invading grass can be more easily controlled. There is a fixed, neat appearance.

Once sunken, these tubs will last for many years. They are low cost and readily available in at least two sizes from home and garden centers such as Lowe's and Home Depot. The only preparation would be the cutting of several quarter size drain holes.

November 28, 20160 found this helpful

This would be perfect for mint, bamboo or other invasive plants. Great idea!

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Anonymous Flag
November 28, 20160 found this helpful

I'm sure it would be ideal for mint. I'm not so sure about bamboo. These tubs are only about 8-10 inches deep. But with bamboo being a true grass, it might not have a very deep root system. Thanks, Jess. You've given me something to research.

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November 28, 20160 found this helpful

Thanks, Grannie

Keeping weeds and grass from these beds is far easier than from beds directly in the ground. First, not that much grass and weeds get in, and what does is easy to get out because a good, amended soil in these tubs will not compact. It stays soft and crumbly. Even making holes to plant bedding plants could be done with your hands should you forget your trowel.

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November 28, 20160 found this helpful

July 4, 2016 Flag

This plant with pretty purple flowers popped up in my garden this year, and I never planted it. When I went to the garden center, I found out it is called purple loosestrife, and is very invasive. The person I spoke to said to be very wary when things you didn't plant pop up in your garden!

invasive weed in flower garden

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October 6, 2014 Flag
1 found this helpful

I've tried the newspaper, mulch, digging by hand; all in vain. After building our house, I had a roll of leftover brown paper like they use to protect your floors while building. I used this on one of my flower beds as an experiment.

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August 4, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about keeping grass from growing in a flower bed. Weed grass seeds can be carried by the wind, birds or be already in your soil ready to sprout when they get water.

Grass up against a flower bed

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October 25, 2006 Flag
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How can I, a physically disabled women, keep grass and weeds out of my front flower bed (consisting of over 200 gladiola bulbs). The flower bed is surrounding my front deck. Also, I have many other plants and flowers throughout the yard? The grass, weeds and wire grass just about ate them all up this past year.

There is too much demand on our watering supply to water daily, so I had a deep layer of mulch (that the bulbs wear planted/set into which would and did retain the moisture for the flowers).

I hired help to plant the bulbs in mulch that had been sitting for a two to four years BUT the grass, weeds etc. came up making the flower beds looking nasty/dirty and unkept.

I do not recall my grandparents having any trouble with their bulbs being over run by grass and weeds. Perhaps I was too young to notice them out daily weeding to notice why their flower beds always looked fantastic!

Please help with some sort of deterrent for me to use for this problem.

Laying a layer of water soaked newspaper and covering it with more mulch was suggested to stop the weeds/grass from growing. I haven't tried this yet, has anyone of you done this sort of thing or anything else to be a deterrent to weeds & grass growing in the flower beds?

Any help or suggestion will be greatly appreciated and used next spring in 2007 as I am sure that the over 200 gladiola bulbs will nearly double (or I am hoping they will).

Thanks and God bless you & yours.

Hardiness Zone: 7b



Hi Paula,

Smothering weeds by using layers of newspapers, cardboard or a thick layer of mulch is certainly one suggestion I would recommend for keeping your plantings from becoming overrun by weeds. If you use organic mulch, like wood chips, leaves, pine needles or compost, you'll need to apply it at least 3 to 4 inches thick and select a type of material that will neutralize the pH of your soil. I would avoid using straw, because it often contains weed seeds, which will only make your job that much harder.

Another strategy you might consider is to crowd out the weeds by planting a ground cover once your glad bulbs pop through. Not only will a ground cover help crowd out the weeds and prevent them from getting sun, but the right ground cover plants will also provide some interest until your gladiolus get into full swing. You might even consider trying a dwarf grass for this purpose.

There are also several lightweight tools available that are designed specifically to make gardening chores easier for the physically disabled. These include long-handled tools with clip-on, twist-on or snap-on heads that allow gardeners to work from a seated position. Many come with cushioned, adjustable handles that are ergonomically designed for a firm, stress-free grip. A long-handled cutter or shears would allow you to keep the weeds trimmed down around your bulbs for a tidier look.

Another option I would urge you to consider is to contact your county extension agency about the possibility of getting help from your county or state's Master Gardener program. These programs are often looking for volunteer gardening opportunities for their members to participate in. Other groups that may be able to offer you volunteer assistance are 4-H groups, Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troops, school groups or church groups.

Finally, here is a good link to information on gardening for the disabled.


October 25, 20060 found this helpful

A friend of mine uses old carpet padding in hers.. its been yrs since she had to weed hers

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March 19, 20070 found this helpful

I put plastic bags around the edge of my flower bed and also put round-up. that should keep the weeds out for some time. I also pulled out the roots of grass that came into the bed. I put my flowers down and I will add mulch and be ready to go...

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March 26, 20070 found this helpful

someone told me to use roofing paper. I will try this and let you know how the out come is.

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May 23, 20070 found this helpful

May 3, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

How can I safely get rid of weeds in my flower beds?

Wilda Scott

May 7, 20080 found this helpful

I tried boiling water some time back, and it definitely works, but there's a problem. You'll kill the earthworms!

Last year, I got pieces of cardboard wet (soak them with water), and cover the weeds with them. Make sure the weeds aren't exposed to sunlight. This year, my garden is almost weed-free! I have lots of earthworms, too, and the soil has improved a million times over!

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May 8, 20080 found this helpful

If you have bare dirt and enough room between your plants, a hoe will cut off seedlings below the ground and they won't come back. I find a Hula Hoe (or wiggle hoe) more fun and easier to use, but it offers less control, so I don't use it close to my desired plants.

For bindweed, which comes back no matter how deep I dig it, I take a cheap artist's paint brush and brush Round-up generously on all the leaves on a sunny day. The Round-Up (or equivalent) is taken up by the leaves and drawn down to the roots, where it (hopefully!) will kill the weed, without harming its neighbors. I don't like using poisons, but I think this is an appropriate time to use it judiciously.

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May 14, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with momma red and KBlueyes. I cover the area with either plastic, or cardboard or rocks. It kills weeds and grass underneath without getting nasty chemicals in your ground water which eventually goes to your waterways, the fish, and your drinking water. Studies are showing that municipal filtration does not remove many chemicals, so we have to think about what we use in the soil and garden. There is a trend toward encouraging "rain gardens" to filter water going to waterways. No chemicals should be used.

Covering with cardboard, old carpet, plastic, or newspapers is called soil solarization and will kill pathogens in soil prior to planting crops.

Here is something from

Cover the raked, moistened area with a clear polyethylene sheet. The edges of the sheet can be held down by cinder blocks to keep the plastic from blowing away. If the raking I had you do above was done diligently enough, there will be no sharp objects sticking up to puncture the plastic. "The plastic can be clear construction grade plastic and vary in thickness from 1 to 6 mils," writes Carl Strausbaugh, University of Idaho. In the Northern Hemisphere, the best time for soil solarization is June and July, when the sun's at its peak. Keep the sheet tightly stretched out over the area for 4-6 weeks. During that time, the sun will be killing weeds for you -- "cooking" them before they have a chance to sprout! Plant pathogens will be killed, to boot.

Now you truly have a "clean slate" with which to work. Remove the plastic and lay down landscape fabric.

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April 13, 20100 found this helpful

August 27, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

What can I do? I have lots of weeds with my flowers. What can I do to get rid of the weeds, but not flowers?

By Gail

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March 18, 20140 found this helpful

I have found that putting vinegar in a spray bottle and spraying the weeds as close to the root as possible really helps! This changes the PH factor and causes the roots to die :-) won't be toxic to your pets if they go into your garden either!

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March 26, 2010 Flag
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Is there any weed and feed that can be sprayed on flower beds?

By Moucheninette from Perth, TAS

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March 27, 20100 found this helpful

Do you already have the flowers up or do you want to spray the ground before you plant the flowers?I do not know of a spray you can use after the flowers are up.Good luck.

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April 1, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you for your feed back, I didn't think it would be that easy, will have to do it the hard way.

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June 24, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

The thistles in my flower garden are certainly competing with the flowers this year. If I were trying to grow thistles, I'd be quite successful! What can I use to get rid of these pesky plants that won't harm the good flowers and our pets?

By Lois C.

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June 25, 20120 found this helpful

Since most thistles spead by both seeds and roots, you need to kill the entire plant and to also cut off the bloom before it can seed. Spray carefully just the thistles with a thistle killer - it take special products designed to kill thistles. Make a shield out of paper or cardboard so only the thistles at hit by the spray. Now the bad news. It may take several years to complete rid yourself of them.

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June 27, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I am having trouble with kosha weeds and sunflowers taking over my wildflower garden patch. Are there any other alternatives to hand weeding?

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