How can I safely get rid of weeds in my flower beds?
I hate weeds! But something that helps, try spreading black plastic around the plants ( under the mulch), or you might try shredded newspaper under the mulch.Either helps out.
Put half white vinegar & half water in a spray bottle & spray on the weed, but stay away from any flowers! Boiling water also works.
You can also buy this stuff called preen.
I always use a generic version of Preen. It is a weed preventer not weed killer. You must read the directions. You get all the weeks and grass out and work up the soil. Then spred the product on the soil. Then you must work it in slightly with a rake or I just go along and do it with my hands (wearing garden gloves). It is then suppose to be wattered. But I sometimes don't do this. It does not prevent all weeds from germinating but helps alot. It doesn't keep grass out. That you must pull out on a regular basis. Here's something to keep in mind, do not use it where you may want to plant seeds (flowers or vegetables). It doesn't know the difference between good seeds and bad seeds. It will prevent the flower or vegetable seeds from germinating too. Also, there is one that had fertiziler in it too.
Pour table salt all over them and then pour white vinegar on top of the salt - do this on a really hot, sunny day and they will not last long!
Editor's Note: This will kill weeds but could also kill your flowers. A little salt 1 tbsp. in 1 gallon of vinegar with about 1/2 tsp of dish soap then sprayed on the weeds on a hot sunny day will kill just the weeds. Make sure you only spray it on the weeds.
Take a hoe and dig them out. Its good exercise and its better not to use pesticides around anyway. My gardens are beautiful and I'm retired.
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.
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.stacklandscape.com/flower-beds.html
Hope that helps! -Thomas
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