Pre-emergent, anyone?

reddingJuly 9, 2011

Does anyone here use a pre-emergent herbicide in their gardens before setting plants out? I see some veggie gardens that are beautifully tended without a weed in sight, and I can't seem to control mine, no matter what I do. The mulch keeps them under control where it's located, but given any miniscule space next to a plant, the weeds pop up and flourish. I can't plant any more intensively that I'm already doing. I can barely access them for harvest as it is. Next year I'll be allowing more room between the squash plants instead of less.

It seems that I can pull weeds until I'm blue in the face, and attack the garden edges with the weed-eater, but they are back in full swing nearly before I finish. A few weeds are one thing. A jungle is another thing entirely. The garden was pre-treated with RoundUp, which was a complete joke. I think the weeds may have believed it was fertilizer. They took a brief time-out and then came back as strong as ever.

I found a product that's made specially for strawberries, and I'm definitely going to invest in it for next year. However, I'd also like to know if anyone uses something like that for the vegetables, and if so, how well does it work?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I use corn gluten meal with onions, but that's the only one pre-emergent I use.

For everything else, I mulch heavily, putting down either weedblock fabric, layers of newspaper or cardboard in the beds and in the pathways and piling on the mulch. That does not, in any way, mean that I don't have to weed. I weed daily because if weeds sprout either above or below the weedblock fabric and are allowed to grow through it, you'll never get rid of them. Some days in mid-spring through late-spring it feels like I weed all day long. However, over time, as long as I stay on top of the weeding and keep adding more mulch, there's fewer and fewer weeds to pull up every week.

I only use Round-Up about once every 4 or 5 years to knock back plants trying to creep under/through the fence and infiltrate my garden. Many weeds are becoming Round-up resistant and I don't think it is as helpful as it used to be.

My experience with organic pre-emergents is that they only last a few weeks and have to be reapplied. Corn gluten meal works just fine, but I'd go broke trying to apply it several times a year to the whole garden. I don't reapply it after the first usage. I just use it the first time to keep the weeds down while the young plants establish. After that I use weeding and mulching to keep the weeds down. I do the best I can to keep the weeds down. This year I've done better than last year, but still not as well as I should. I've got bermuda growing in two pathways and I need to get it out of there before it spreads even more. I should have more mulch down on the ground than I do have right now, but it is so hot and dry and mulch can get dry and burn so readily that I haven't wanted to add more to the beds that what is already there. Firewise, we're in very dire straits in our county at this point.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 5:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I pretty much do like Dawn. I mulch heavy and try to pull what I can't control with mulch. Last fall I got behind and missed a few goat heads and fighting them this year in one area. It has always been my opinion that in drougthy windy years that the weeds will be worse where there is water. And this year is no exception. I've had them around my corn, radishes ect. I plant my onions and mulch lightly immediately and then heavier as they grow. So not much problem there. I've always joked that corn seed must come with wild grass seed in it. I won't have any anyplace in the garden except in my corn rows and I move them every year. Like Dawn I've had concerns about putting down heavy straw mulch. I put off transplanting my last peppers and tomatoes while I hashed it over in my mind along with is it worth the water I'll use and will the plants do any good. I went and bought 70 bales of hopefully clean straw last weekend. I've been mulching heavy ever since. For now my garden is fairly clean. Especially considering the hours I'm working and the little attention it gets during the week. I noticed a spot today where I had let the hot water out of the hose spray till it cooled off the other day. There was an area that was just covered with weed seeds that germinated along with a couple of goat heads. Will cover them with straw and that should stop that. I have used corn gluten. It works but not economically feasibe on the scale I garden on.

I hadn't used Round up in the garden for several years. I got some bind weed started from some straw I put down last year. I finally treated some of it with Round up and decided today to treat 2 small areas of Bermuda grass with it also. The bermuda grass is where I had garlic and nothing will be planted there for a while. I got it from some grass clippings a few years ago. Have been digging it out but it seems to come back. I hope you find something that works well for you. I finally decided after trying several things I was either going to have to mulch and weed or just not garden. Jay

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Dawn,

Very interesting comment about the RoundUp. I had thought it wasn't working very well, but maybe it was just my imagination (and age) getting the best of me. Like you, I put down heavy layers of newspaper and then mulch over the top. I supposed I could use weed barrier fabric next year. I certainly have enough of it left over from the flower garden. I haven't tried using it before because I wanted to just be able to till everything into the soil for next year, instead of needing to take it up and get it out of the way.

I have never tried using corn gluten. Where can I get that? At the feed store?

I'll definitely take your advice and try to get the tomatoes in earlier next year, although I may have to use wall-o-water to do it. A lot will depend on how soon the soil dries out enough to be workable, as well as being warm enough.

My peppers have gone two ways this year. The yellow banana supreme are loaded. What were supposed to be bells are not doing a thing, and what were supposed to be Anaheim are either jalapeno or a tiny new one that looks like it might be a version of an habanero. Not an Anaheim in the bunch. It's been one surprise after another where they are concerned.

Some of the tomato plants are hanging completely limp in the heat. It's now officially an index of 114 degrees here. I think it can quit warming up any time now and it will be fine with me.

My daughter wants to know what kind of vitamins you take, to do all that you manage to do. She says she needs some of them!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
owiebrain(5 MO)

Nice to know I'm not the only one having trouble with Round-Up. I used some in the (gravel) driveway this year but, a couple of weeks later, you couldn't even tell I'd done anything. Unless I want to apply it every two weeks, it's a waste of money.

I don't use pre-emergents, either. No way could I afford it. I have a friend who swears by it but she has a much smaller garden area. It's mulch and lots of weeding the old-fashioned way for me.

Sorry to hear you're all roasting down there. Our forecast calls for 97* on Monday with a heat index of 108. There are all sorts of dire warnings out. They're just not used to that sort of heat up here, I guess. I'll be out in the garden, as usual, and the neighbors will drive by staring at me, wondering what in the world is wrong with me for being outside.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 8:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Round up still work well for me. What I like is it is a contact spray. Kills what it comes into contact with and then is done. There are a few weeds that have become immune to it but not any that I have problems with around my garden. I use it to control bindweed also. Most of the farmers and even a few homeowners are using Banvel for bindweed. It works well they say. My concern is does it leave any residue. I haven't had the time to find out yet. I try to be very careful what I use around here. I've had a few issues the way it is. Don't need to create anymore. I suppose I could use it on my boundaries where it comes in from the neighbors. Jay

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 8:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Stick with the Roundup for your bindweed. You will eventually win the battle. Banvel is a very powerful broadleaf weed killer and it does have some residual soil activity. It can wreak havoc with tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've quit even trying to use RoundUp in our enormous driveway, because it's a joke. I'd have to do it every 6 weeks to keep the weeds under control that come up through the seams in the cement. I got a super weed killer from Atwoods that seem to be marginally better for that area, but I wouldn't want to use it anyplace else. I'm just not sure whether it has any soil activity or not, and I would not want to find out the hard way. I always try to read the labels and check for soil activity or residual effect before I use a new product. Lily Miller has some good brush killers, but I don't know if they're available in OK.

Maybe the day will eventually come when I've been able to get the worst of the crabgrass roots out of the garden, but I'm afraid it will be a very long time from now. Some of the vegetation on an edge of the veggie garden was so thick and overgrown that we didn't own a weed-eater strong enough to cope with it when we began clearing it this spring. Not even the big gas high-wheel one. It was a tangle of honeysuckle, wild rose, Virginia creeper, poison oak and a whole lot of other vigorous stuff. It all had to be sprayed and then chopped out by hand. Unfortunately, it has all come right back and seems to be thriving.

I suppose that next year we could repeat the process and then I could put down industrial weedcloth and cover it up with mulch, but I don't know that it would be really effective. I've tried using our paper feed sacks, covered with mulch, but the weeds end up growing right through them. I've really never seen anything quite like it. If I could bottle up that vigor and transfer it over to more fragile commercial landscape plants, I'd have it made.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Corn gluten is a good pre-emergent, but the way it works is to block seeds from sprouting, so it wouldn't have any effect on things like honeysuckle, bindweed, etc that come up from roots. You do buy it at feed stores.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roundup is sold at different concentrations, so that could be some of the problem. The rest of the problem being resistance.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
owiebrain(5 MO)

I've been thinking what to do about the driveway weeds and I think I've decided on using fire. Hubby's welding torch just might be the answer.

Look out, weeds!


    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tigerdawn the concentration level is something I meant to mention and didn't. I was looking at the Round up at some stores a while back. It is half the strength of what I use. It is still one of the main chemicals the farmers use in their no till cocktail they serve the weeds. Jay

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Julie, you just answered the question I was going to ask about bindweed and invasive grasses, although I was pretty sure I already knew. I do know about the RoundUp concentrations, Tiger, and the stuff just doesn't seem to work well for me any more, although I would never consider buying the pre-mixed variety.

I think what I may do, in the areas where I can't really uproot everything because of the plants I want to keep there, is get one of the wand weed-killer applicators, so I can touch the leaves of the baddies without spraying anything else. It's worth a try. I know I'll never keep the bindweed completely out of the strawberries. It's quite happy with the attention it get there, but maybe I can manage to discourage it.

The corn gluten should discourage so many of the things that want to sprout from blown-in seed, shouldn't it? I had never heard of it, so I'll definitely give it a try.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Fortunately the stuff in my yard isn't resistant yet. We used the RoundUp with pre-emergent in it this spring on a spot of our lawn and it literally took 3 months for anything to sprout or for the bermuda to regrow. And it still looks really puny despite getting runoff from the flowerbed next to it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:24AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
My Onions Are IN, now about snakes...
Thank you, Ms Dawn. Sorry for the late reply to your...
Stale seedbed
Our trial of the stale seedbed technique is on track....
ID help
I love spring time. I get to start cleaning out the...
strange new tulip
So my tulips are up and looking great. I have only...
mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma
Which Inoculant for Which Legume?
No questions. Yay! Great little pamphlet, here. It...
Sponsored Products
Supernova Suspension by Foscarini
$2,402.00 | Lumens
Complete 8" Deck-Mount Pre-Rinse Faucet - Chrome
Signature Hardware
Kurt Adler 4.5-foot Pre-lit Upside Down Tree
Pre-Analog DIY Calendar
| Dot & Bo
Virtu USA Cabinets Huntshire 36 in. W x 23 in. D x 35 in. H Bathroom Vanity
Home Depot
Emergence Oversized Gallery Wrapped Canvas
Rex Mirror
$299.00 | FRONTGATE
James Martin Furniture Mykonos 60 in. Single Vanity - Cinnamon - 550-V60S-CIN
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™