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Keeping Grass From Growing In a Flower Bed

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Question:

I have already put down paper under my flower bed then planted some bulbs which are now flowering, however, grass is still managing to come through. Any advice on how to get rid of the grass without damaging my flowers would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Simon

Answer:

Simon,

Putting down paper to control weeds is a good start. However, I'm afraid that short of concrete (and I'm not even sure that would work), there is nothing you can put down or cover your garden with that will permanently keep weeds or grass from encroaching on your flower beds. Chemicals (even the seemingly benign household chemicals), will not provide a permanent solution either. Grass leaves are usually covered with a waxy cuticle to preserve moisture, which means harsher chemicals are needed to kill them. Needless to say, I'm not a fan.

It's helpful to remember that grass seed gets started in a number of ways. Some of it may push its way through layers of your paper or mulch, but in other cases, seeds are carried by the wind or dropped by birds or insects onto the top of your soil. This is why the war on weeds will always rage on. From my own experience, I've been surprised to find that grass and weed seeds have landed on top of my newspaper and grown down through it, rather than pushing their way up from underneath like I would have expected.

To keep your beds as free from grass and weeds as possible, first remove any emerging grass. You can do this in any one of several ways, but digging it up is probably going to be the most effective, because you need to get the roots. You could try pouring hot water on it, but you'll risk damaging the roots of nearby plants. Once the grass is dug out you can add additional layers of paper or cover your beds with at least three inches of mulch. I wish I had a magic solution for you, but the best way to keep grass under control is to keep digging it out or pulling it by hand.

Ellen

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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By k w (Guest Post)01/30/2009

You can make a flower bed as I do or garden.

We made a 30x20 foot garden in our back yard with plastic and cement blocks. You do not have to remove grass. Put down plastic or a thick layer of news papers, and place cement blocks on top around the edge of the space. Then, fill it with compost or manure. You have a garden without weeds or grass for years. Add more compost as needed every year. I get manure from Lowe's in 40 pound bags, I have a garden all the year, I also make flower beds the same way.

By Kathleen from Dothan, AL

By Laura Meller [6]01/08/2009

Preem is good to prevent weed seeds from sprouting, will not kill weeds.To kill grass that is already there, use a heavey tarp. Place it on the ground and leave it there.If you leave it long enough it, will kill the roots and all. You can cut it any shape, you want your flower bed to be. (nice) Till under and replace the tarp,check for any (little growth, if any.If you need any ideas write me.The next part is the best,last for years !!

By Kay Hill (Guest Post)09/30/2006

In March, sprinkle "Preen" on the soil & scratch it in as per directions. It will keep weed or grass seed from growng in your garden. It will not hurt any plants you place in the bed. Just don't try to grow anything from seeds.

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By brenda newton [6]08/18/2006

If you have some roundup then... place your hand into a rubber glove then slip your gloved hand into a cloth glove of some sort. Dip into the roundup and gently run your gloved finger up the blade of grass. No more grass. Keep the cloth and rubber glove well marked for use only for roundup applications.

By Bev. (Guest Post)08/09/2006

If the bulbs are planted and and you can see where they are plantedbuy 4 ml. poly and cut a large X where each bulb is. Fold back all 4 edges.Sprinkle fertilizer and water your bulbs. Run the poly down the front and back sides.A few attractive stones will be a lovely front or back drop for the bulbs.

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