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Preventing Weeds in Flower Beds

Category Weeds
multicolored flowerbed on a lawn
Don't let your beautiful flower bed be overrun by weeds. This is a guide about preventing weeds in flower beds.
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November 20, 2016

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.

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January 26, 2017

Here is a picture of flower beds lined with shower pan liner. The liner protects the tree trunk and makes maintenance so easy. It helps keep weeds and tree roots out. I had sent this picture to an Ag agent for advice about something. I ran across it while deleting emails and thought it would be enjoyed by others who are waiting for spring, just as I am.

If I do another bed under another tree, I will photograph all the steps and post them.

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July 4, 2016

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!

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October 25, 20060 found this helpful

Question:

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!

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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

Paula

Answer:

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.

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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.

http://livingwell.tripod.com/handigardning.html

Ellen

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By 1 found this helpful
October 6, 2014

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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Read More...

August 4, 20160 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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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 3, 20080 found this helpful

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

Wilda Scott

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 13, 20100 found this helpful

Hey Wilda: This is a very good question! "Safely" being the key word. Our company recently wrote an article on just this topic.

We have found that the best solution is actually a combination of tactics. I would suggest laying down professional-grade landscape fabric and then spray only as needed. If possible, we like to use "drip" irrigation for shrubs so that weeds have less of a chance to grow in between plants.

If you are interested, here is the link to the article: http://www.stac  flower-beds.html

Hope that helps! -Thomas

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By 0 found this helpful
May 11, 2010

How do I stop weeds in my flower beds? I pull them up, turn the soil over, and within two weeks they are back with vengeance.

By Nix from England

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 1, 20160 found this helpful

I believe the composted manure over paper or plastic will work 2 years the most, because weed seeds flowing in the air will sooner or later germinate in the manure as well as wherever else there is organic matter. Anyhow, as we said in NY., that's been my experience. Yes, there's no rest for the weary!

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By 0 found this helpful
March 26, 2010

Is there any weed and feed that can be sprayed on flower beds?

By Moucheninette from Perth, TAS

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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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August 27, 20130 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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By 0 found this helpful
June 24, 2012

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.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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, 20110 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?

By Krys

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 6, 20110 found this helpful

Next year prepare your garden in the winter by spraying with weed killer, remove dead plants and cover with plastic tarp. Check under the tarp and if weeds are coming back from seed repeat the process until no weeds return.

This won't totally do away with weeds but will help keep from having so many.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

July 8, 20140 found this helpful

Being elderly, we are finding keeping on top of weeding flower beds is getting beyond us. We are wanting to cover a large raised bed with some sort of gravel, on top of weed control blanket, then we shall put some decorative shrubs in. Can anyone advise on whether we should use pea shingle or gravel. We are told that stone chippings will become covered in algae, hence a leaning to gravel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

By Ann Y

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July 19, 20130 found this helpful

I recently weeded and mulched all the trees and two large flower beds at our school where we have an outdoor learning space. The town's grounds keeping crew cut the grass and blew all the grass clippings over the mulch. (We met prior and they said they would be careful, but someone did not get the message.) All the mulched areas have a thin layer of grass now. Is there anything I can do immediately to prevent grass and weeds in the near future? I'm devastated.

By Katie

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

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May 11, 20100 found this helpful

This is a question that's been asked for centuries I'm sure. I am so impressed with some of your tips that I just HAD to ask! I love my garden but I can see myself weeding it perpetually. I always get the roots, but is there a tip or trick to discourage weeds in our garden?

It's a flower garden not a veggie garden. We have a rose bush, Tiger Lillies and Wandering Jews. Thanks!

Jim in FL

Answers:

Preventing Weeds In a Flower Garden

Last year I tried Preen and it worked great! You just have to get rid of all the weeds first. It only prevents seeds from germinating, so you have to get the roots too or put it down early in the spring. (05/27/2005)

By Donna J.

Preventing Weeds In a Flower Garden

I tried something new this year that has helped a lot. I laid plain brown paper over the parts of the flower bed that were going to have mulch on them ultimately. Some use newspaper. If you use bricks, stones, etc. on the edges of the bed, you can tuck the paper under the edges, then cover the paper with 4+ " of mulch. This cuts down on weeding and eventually the paper will decompose. (I buy dog food in 40# bags and the inside of the bags are perfect for this.) Good luck! (06/25/2005)

By Les in IL

Preventing Weeds In a Flower Garden

I have heard about vinegar. Just regular household vinegar. You spray it right on the weed. Our yard is infested, so I'm going to try it this year. (05/28/2009)

By Allison5

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

October 8, 20060 found this helpful

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

Paula

Answers:

Keeping Weeds out of Flower Beds

That was going to be my suggestion... using newspapers to help block the weeds. This fall, I'd suggest cutting the weeds as short as possible. If you wait until the glad foliage dies back you can cut them down too. Then just lay a 4-6 sheet layer of black/white newspaper over the area, water it down and then mulch with chopped leaves or shredded bark about 3" deep. If you have other perennials, then you would want to lay the newspaper around those plants before mulching. I use this method all the time, and can really kick myself when I don't. It usually lasts me 12-16 months before I start to notice weeds again. I have one bed that just has a few shrubs, so I used a much thicker layer of newspaper and it has been two years since I put down the newspaper under the mulch. You may still have weed seeds drop into the bed, but they are very easy to pull if the sprout in the mulch.

If you have a lot of creeping weeds, make sure you edge the bed with some sort of barrier. I like metal edging, but plastic works too if you don't have to compete with any tree roots. (09/14/2006)

By adina72

Keeping Weeds out of Flower Beds

If you can deprive the weed seeds of light, they wont be able to sprout. Newspapers are great for this. They are what I use. Some people purchase a plastic made for this purpose. Plastic doesnt break down after several years and need to be replaced. (09/15/2006)

By Carol in PA

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September 10, 20060 found this helpful

Over the past several years I have become very careful with the environment and what pesticides and the like can do.

When I want to make another flower bed, instead of spraying roundup, I put down several layers of newspaper and plant the items, and then mulch. Works everytime and is much safer.

By Sandie Jones

Answers:

Keeping Weeds out of Flower Beds

Be careful if you use newspapers around your house's foundation and walls. The papers on the ground could attract termites. These termites could possibly transfer over to the wooden structure of the house and make it one of their snacks! (09/22/2005)

By P.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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