From the Desk of Ed Hume: Controlling Weeds in the Garden

June 11, 2012 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Hi folks,

Just a quick thank you to the people who pointed out that the site was still having issues dropping content.  I apologize; what I thought was a full fix was only a temporary fix, apparently.  The issue has been taken care of and I will work on restoring the old content for readers who missed it.  In the meantime, expect updates to occur as normally scheduled.  Thank you for you patience as well as your readership.

Sincerely,

Holland Hume
Webmaster

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Nuisance grasses and weeds not only look unsightly, they are host to insects and diseases and they rob valuable nutrients from garden plants.  Once a weed flowers and goes to seed, you can be contending with those weed seeds germinating for several years.  So to keep your garden looking nice, it’s important to try to keep weeds and nuisance grasses grubbed out of the garden.

WAYS TO GET RID OF WEEDS

So what’s the best way to eliminate those pesky weeds in all parts of the garden?

1) You can simply grub them out with a garden fork, hoe, weed- puller, spade, mattocks, tiller, or other weed/grass cultivating tool.

2) Selectively apply a grass and/or weed control product to the individual weed or grass plants.

3) Once the weeds and grasses have been removed, by applying a pre-emergent herbicide. This keeps the seed from being able to germinate.

WEEDS IN FLOWER BEDS

Start by eliminating the weeds and nuisance grasses that are already in the flower beds.  Next you can mulch the beds with compost, bark or a similar mulch material.  Or, once you have planted all your flowers, you can spread a natural pre-emergent herbicide like gluten of cornmeal.  It’s not 100% effective, but should cut back considerably on additional weed growth.  (It has 9% nitrogen, so it will feed your plants at the same time.)

WEEDS IN SHRUB BEDS

Probably the most popular way of trying to control weeds in landscape beds is to mulch the beds with bark, sawdust products, or compost.  There are several types of herbicides that can be used around shrubs that cannot be used in beds where you have bulbs, annuals, or perennials.  Your local CPH (Certified Professional Horticulturist) or knowledgeable garden specialist can help you choose the best one for your particular need.

Landscape fabrics can also be spread over the soil and covered (to keep them in place) with mulch.  The fabric is a barrier to weeds from below, but that doesn’t mean that weeds or grasses cannot grow in the above mulch.

WEEDS IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

Since these are edible crops I do not personally use any kind of herbicide in this part of my garden.  My suggestion would be to cultivate/till/spade thoroughly before planting and cultivate or pull the weeds as needed to keep young weed seedlings under control.  Mulching is also beneficial.  Some avid gardeners will spread newspapers between vegetable rows and then spread grass clippings over the newspapers.  I do not recommend this if the grass clippings have been taken from a lawn area that has been treated with a weed killer within the past 9 to 12 months.

WEEDS IN THE LAWN

If there are just a few weeds, the easiest thing to do is simply pull them out with a weed-puller or even a screwdriver.  If there are lots of weeds you can use a week control product or weed and feed.  (Weed and feed products contain a lawn fertilizer and weed killer.) Be very careful if applying these types of products because the slightest breeze can mist onto nearby plants and kill or damage them too!

CAUTION: If any kind of weed killer or herbicide is used, you must read and follow label application directions to the letter.

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From the Desk of Ed Hume: Feeding Vegetables- When and How Ed’s Podcasts: Beets

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