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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.
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!
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. I used the traditional hand weed pulling, newspaper, mulch method on the rest of them. After three years, the bed with the brown paper stays nearly weed free, while the other beds have continued to be heavily infested from weeds after just two months!
I am currently looking out the window at one of my beds totally consumed with grass and weeds, after spending two days pulling weeds and mulching just two months ago! Today, I am doing another experiment. I am going to lay the brown, thick kraft paper over the entire bed, while cutting it around the shrubs and plants, then covering that with 4 inches of pine needles. Hopefully, this will smother the weeds and grass without having to pull them all by hand. I'll let you all know how it works!
How can I keep grass and weeds out of my flower bed? I have a beautiful flower bed and am having trouble keeping the weeds manageable. this is a direct sunlight area. What products do you suggest we use?
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.
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.
How can I safely get rid of weeds in my flower beds?
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!
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.
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 about.com:
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.
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?
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!
Is there any weed and feed that can be sprayed on flower beds?
By Moucheninette from Perth, TAS
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.
Thank you for your feed back, I didn't think it would be that easy, will have to do it the hard way.
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.
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.
I am having trouble with kosha weeds and sunflowers taking over my wildflower garden patch. Are there any other alternatives to hand weeding?
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.
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
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.
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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
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.
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
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)
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
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)
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
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
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)