Getting Rid of Weeds To Plant Ground Cover

Question:

Can you tell me, do I have to remove the roots of weeds or can I just cut them down? I had spent hours breaking my back last yr digging up the weeds out of my flowerbeds and cannot bear to do it again, now with neck problems etc.

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I would like to get it all out and plant ground cover, as the front beds are empty except the weeds. We are going to be moving and I don't want to leave it looking so bad. We cannot purchase any other supplies or services at this time. Thank you for your help.

Hardiness Zone: 7a

Breighdi from Statesville, NC

Answer:

Breighdi,

Are you moving soon? If so, I'm afraid the fastest way out of this situation involves manually digging out the weeds. If you have some time (up to several weeks), you might try covering the beds with some black plastic (garbage bags would work fine). The plastic will prevent light and moisture from reaching the weeds. It will also intensify heat from the sun and trap it under the plastic, which will act to slowly cook the weeds. How long it will take to kill the weeds underneath the plastic will depend on how much sun the beds receive each day, and how long you can leave the plastic on before you feel like you have to replant. You can speed up the whole process if you pour boiling water over the weeds before you cover them, or torch them first with a flame-weeder. The potential for weeds to come back still exists after this process (from dormant weed seeds or deeply buried roots), but it should give new plantings enough time to take hold before the weeds return.

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Avoid spraying the beds with chemicals (including home remedies like vinegar) since you plan to replant a ground cover right away. Even so-called "safe" chemicals may temporarily alter the soil chemistry and negatively affect soil microorganisms in such a way that new plantings will have trouble taking hold. Good luck!

Ellen

About The Author: 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

April 10, 20080 found this helpful

Sorry, but you need to remove the roots, or else it is basically the same as mowing the lawn--the weeds will grow right back up.

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April 10, 20080 found this helpful

Yep, I agree with Missoure Mom. If you don't dig out the root they'll come back. I kiiled some posion ivy with boiling water a few times. Maybe this would help. I boiled a tea pot of water and poured it directly in the plant very close to the ground so it would get it all. Several years later it hasn't come back.

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April 11, 20080 found this helpful

OK, this is VERY easy. Lay newspaper down over the area you want to plant. It will need to be about 3 or 4 sheets thick, but thicker is ok too. Put several bags of potting soil over the top. The number of bags of soil you'll need depends on the area you are trying to cover. If you're only planting a ground cover, the soil wont need to be too deep because you don't need to dig a deep hole.

Plant your ground cover or any other plants you wish to grow there. If you decide to grow perennials or annuals there, you will need to punch a hole into the paper to dig into the dirt underneath as they need a deeper hole. But keep in mind that every time you punch a hole you run the risk of weeds growing through it. Then, cover the soil around the plants with wood chips. I like the shredded bark as they dont roll around. But if your ground is level you may not have a problem with them washing off with the rain like I have.

If you are careful not to leave any holes between your sheets of newspaper, you wont have any grass or weeds. the paper will decompose and enrich the soil. This is the easiest way I have found to get rid of weeds and grass. You merely deprive it of sunlight and it wont grow. (grin) Try it. You'll be surprised.

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April 12, 20080 found this helpful

When I was moving I took a wandering jew plant and just stuck cuttings in the ground in the area right in with the weeds. Over a little time they grew and I would just break off pieces and stick them in ground and they overtook the weeds. Good luck from another lady with neck problems.

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May 19, 20080 found this helpful

Carol in Pa has the answer. Two or three sheets of news paper then the soil and the ground cover. This is so easy compared to any other way.

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June 19, 20080 found this helpful

thanks, im gonna try the nespaper, i allways have lots to throw away, beings nothing is ever in the paper,lol.

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