Brome grass and button weeds in flower bed

wrestlingmom(5aNE)February 5, 2012

Hi--I'm new. Thanks so much in advance for your help, because I'm not sure how exactly to approach this. I live right on the line for zone 5a, but we sometimes get temps in the zone 4 range, so I usually plant for zone 4. We bought an acreage/old farmstead last year with perennial beds that need work everywhere, but one in particular is a mess. It's huge--roughly 20 x 50 feet in the center of a farmyard circle drive, and its filled with a combination of perennials, brome grass, and button weeds. The perennials that I could identify last fall included roses (meidilands, knockouts, nearly wilds, and some I wasn't sure of), bearded iris, salvia, daylilies, and peonies. The woman who lived there for decades was quite a gardener, but she passed away, then her husband died, and the house sat empty for several years. The house was cared for, but the gardens were not.

Where do I start? I want to save as many of the perennials as I can, but the perennials are growing in the brome grass. My thought was to start potting up what I could in early spring as it comes up, and when the flowers are out of the bed, repeatedly spray the whole thing with roundup, till and add amendments, and keep spraying. Is there an easier way? Rather than potting, should I temporarily transplant the flowers to the vegetable garden, and then move them back when the bed is clean? How early can I start transplanting or potting? Will I be able to move the flowers back this year, or will it take an entire year to clean this up? Would it help to also do an application of preen? Button weeds are easy to pull, but I don't know where to start with the brome grass.

Thanks so much in advance for your help. Once the bed is planted, I'll be sure to put down a weed barrier and mulch so it doesn't happen again. I'm not a novice gardener, but I'm not a pro either.

Any and all advice would be wonderful. I plan on mulching

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Sorry about the last line of my post--I edited and didn't get it all....ACK

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 2:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Note that the temperature ranges for USDA zones are averages. Zone 5 will sometimes get colder than the average annual range given for it. A plant rated hardy to Zone 5 may be quite suitable for you, depending on how accurately applied that rating was - be wary of commercial sources in particular, some of which seem to pretty consistently base ratings on zone averages rather than the true span of temperatures seen in them. A plant is hardy to -20F so they list it as being hardy to whatever zone has a range of average lows that includes -20F. This will work until it gets below -20F - which it will someday if the plant was put in a -20F to -10F area.

Grass all through perennials is either dealt with by digging everything up, washing the soil off and separating out the grass by hand, or spraying the whole mess with herbicide and starting over.

Or digging it all out and dumping it down a hole.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:22PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi. Welcome to GardenWeb.

I would remove the desirable plants as you said, then smother the whole bed under cardboard covered with mulch. Then replant this fall or next spring. I would probably wait until late next spring, after the time when most of the annual weed seed sprout.

I wouldn't use it, but keep in mind if you decide to use roundup, it only works on active growth, there is no need to use enough that it soaks the soil. And the hotter it is, the better it works.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Ok how about if you have lots of Lily bulbs can you wait till Fall dig up my coneflowers so then can I NOT dig up the bulbs and spray with roundup or will it still get the lilies

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:30PM
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