Keeping Grass From Growing in a Flower Bed

Category Grassy Weeds
This is a page 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.
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September 21, 2006

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.

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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.

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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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