In over my head...is it still the growing season?

melissas(z6PA)October 18, 2006

I moved into a new home in August 2005. In my previous home I had 3 small borders that were very easy to maintain. Despite knowing it was going to be a lot of work, I put in 2 LARGE flower beds in my new home. I kept up with it fine over the summer, but now I am in over my head. With the recent alternating rains and warm weather, I have hundreds, if not thousands, of weeds growing. I have been working on pulling the ones near the base of the perennials. Part of me hopes they are annual weeds that will be killed with the first hard frost. Another part of me hates seeing them in the flower beds and wants to apply Round-up. Plus, if they are perennial weeds then with every day that goes by their little baby root systems are getting stronger. So, here's my question: is it still considered the "growing season" and can I still apply Round up if I want to? I'd hate to apply it only to poison the soil. I am in zone 6. Thanks for your help.

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clawskeeter(z5 PA)

IMHO, applying Round-up anywhere near plant beds is an incredibly horrible idea -- a friend of mine used it in her beds and it killed everything. Round-up doesn't know the difference between bedding plants and weeds...in my limited experience, it just kills, period.
Perhaps you could use some sort of groundcover between your plants -- like sheets of newspaper underneath a cover of mulch? It worked well for me to keep weeds under control, and it's biodegradable.

clawskeeter

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 6:36PM
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malenamito

I just wanted to second clawskeeter's suggestions. Round-up is NOT something you want to spray around flower beds. Mulch is really your best friend when it comes to controlling weeds. Put a nice thick layer of mulch (shredded leaves, bagged chips, whatever your choice may be) and you should be able to cut down your weeding time significantly. Around this time of year, shredded leaves would be the easiest choice if you have a shredder and they will help to improve the soil when they break down. Or if your flowerbeds are close to your house and you're worried about termites, try some shredded cedar mulch.

At any rate, today we are forecast for 70° around here - perfect weeding weather. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 7:34AM
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melissas(z6PA)

Thank you for your comments and help. My biggest problem is in the flower bed that is on a slope (read: hillside). It is very hard to keep a thick layer of mulch because a little bit washes away with every rain fall. I agree with you both, though, and I would prefer not to use Round Up, but I feel as if I am in over my head. I'll continue to pull weeds and hope for the best! Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 1:30PM
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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

A differing opinion here... I've used Roundup successfully in perennial beds, as a last resort on tough weeds. You have to be REALLY careful not to overspray, and it doesn't always kill the weed completely.

And I haven't had any luck with a thick layer of mulch keeping down weeds. They seem to grow very happily right in the mulch, at least where I live. I've resort to putting down a weed barrier every time I plant a bed, then covering it with a decorative layer of mulch. It's expensive and time-consuming, but less work than weeding in the long run.

I've tried the plastic water-permeable fabric from garden centers. Works well, although weeds come up at the seams. And the fabric is a pain to buy and put down (don't try to do it on a windy day). Make sure you get weed BLOCK fabric. I bought the wrong kind once and it let sunlight through, which helped the weeds to grow.

This year I also tried using old magazines (got tons of those), spread out flat and covered with mulch. That seemed to work as well as the plastic, and was easier to fit around small plants. Sometimes the magazine spines stuck up through the mulch, but they were easy to cover back up.

A friend of mine swears by thick layers of newspaper, covered with black plastic (not the water-permeable kind) covered with mulch. That seems like overkill to me, but she uses it in large shrub beds and doesn't get a single weed.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 12:01PM
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Kestrel Shutters & Doors

Like Carol, I also have had success with roundup around other plants in flower beds. For a few years now I've had some sort of thick grass that pops up in the same spots of the flower beds. No matter how many roots I pulled out they always came back. Since I was trying poppies this year and the seedlings were the same height as the grass I applied the roundup with a q-tip. i sprayed some roundup into a plastic lid and quickly wiped it onto the weeds. they died and the poppies lived. yeah!

Jim

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 11:06PM
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melissas(z6PA)

Thanks for your responses. I am still behind in my weeding. I am going to try the round up on a small section of garden, and if the plants respond I'll do some more. I like the plastic lid idea, Jim. Just might give that a try.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:40PM
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terri_in_pa(z6B)

Use a hoe, and toss the dirt a bit.. that will help to loosen the weeds..In March, lay down some PREEN and that should do the trick.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 9:14PM
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