How To Get Rid of Weeds Around Plants/Flowers?

Claire_from_Michigan(z5 MI)July 2, 2005

OK, I'm sure this has been addressed over and over, but I need help! I have a beautiful rose garden that is just covered with weeds! I pull and pull and pull and within just a day, they're back and back and back! They're those picky weeds. When they're taller, they're easier to pull, but letting them get taller makes for more weeds!

What can I use to help prevent them from growing and is there any other method that works better other than pulling them. My back is breaking! It's only about a 6'x6' area but there are so many of them darn things, I don't know what to do. I put MORE MULCH down but that doesn't stop them either. I was going to put fabric down along with rocks but someone told me that is not good for the soil (deprives oxygen) and not good for the roses either.

What to do?


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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Piece o cake!

Get some newspaper...or even cardboard. I like newspaper better. Soak the paper in water so it doesn't blow away and layer it on the ground 10-12 sheets thick. Overlap it. THEN mulch over it with around 3" of bark mulch. Rain will penetrate the paper but weeds won't.

If you don't have newspaper you can get it from your community recycle station....or friends.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 2:52PM
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RodeoSquirrel(zone 6 SePA)

ive done the newspaper method and it doesnt work for long, infact the weeds came up stronger and healthier than ever before. hire a pro

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 5:11PM
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Claire_from_Michigan(z5 MI)

I went to the local nursery and asked them. They told me to try Preen. Rake away the mulch. Make sure all the weeds are pulled. Then put down the preen. After that carefully put back the mulch (lightly) and that might work. I've also read that nothing gets rid of that thistle except pulling. :(

I'm trying Preen and hoping for the best.

As far as newspapers go, I don't have enough. Also when it disintegrates into the ground, like rodeo said, the weeds come back just as strong.

Hopefully Preen will do it. Don't have $ for a Pro.

Thanks, ~Claire

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 5:25PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Rodeo & Claire,

I've been doing the newspaper thing for years and it DOES work...and I AM a pro. Maybe you aren't using enough newspaper? Nothing is forever. Of course the weeds will eventually come back and some weeds are tougher than others. I don't let the weeds go to seed but no matter what you do....the weeds WILL come back eventually. Unless you want to poison your garden with herbicides, or aspahalt it. But that's up to you. (and the weeds will still come back)

I have several perennial beds, a grape arbor, an orchard and a very large veggie garden. It's hard work to keep ahead of the weeds, no question about it.

I repeat, If you don't have the newspaper you can get them from your community recycle station....or friends. And it works much better than mulching WITHOUT newspaper.

But it's entirely up to you...good luck~

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 10:54PM
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Claire_from_Michigan(z5 MI)

Thanks Peggy. If I had enough newspapers, I'd consider it.

I know someone suggested something like that before (to check with thecommun. recycle station) but didn't have any luck. I'll see what I can find out on Tuesday. Maybe I'll wait until then to try to take care of the problem. In the meantime, I can continue to pull the weeds. Can I put the Preen down and then put the newspaper on top and then the mulch on top of that???

How much paper would I need for say a 6' x 6' area?

Thanks, ~Claire

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 12:03AM
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RodeoSquirrel(zone 6 SePA)

the newspaper is just too much work for something so temperary. it kept it weed free for only about 4 weeks, by summers end i was covered in weeds all over again. some people like spending all day working in the garden but for me well im a little spoiled and like to have people do it for me lol

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 10:32PM
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harvwald(z5 IL)

I have a similar problem with weeds among rose bushes and I'd like to try the newspaper method. One question: I have some drip irrigation lines going through that area. Do I put the newspaper over or under them? Same with the mulch? Thanks for your help!
Pam R

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 3:41PM
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kimpa(z6b PA)

I have great results using newspaper. It keeps an area weed free for the whole growing season. Weeds will pop out of areas around the plant bases. But for rose gardens where I assume the plants are widely spaced it should work great. Beds where plants are closely spaced are a little more difficult since there are so many holes.

I would put the newspaper over the watering system, them mulch on top to keep the newspaper covered. I pull or cut weeds to the ground so that newspaper contacts the ground or is at least close to it. Then I put the cut weeds on top of the newspaper to hold the paper down and add to the mulch. Then more decorative mulch goes on top, like shredded leaves.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:52AM
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does any one know what the big farms use to kill grass and weeds before planting.thank you

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 6:23AM
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I bought "Quick Kill" My local farm and garden center told me thats what the farmers use because its cheaper than round up and it was. I got 3 times the amound for alot less $. Worked great!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 1:26PM
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andy_mayfield(z6 md)

cardboard....biodegradable, ink is vegetable based..nontoxic

you can cut out semicircles in the pieces to get the cardboard closer to the base of the plant.

it will seem a little awkward at first, but after you put the mulch on top, get the sprinkler out to soak it. that will have it conform to the ground better

now you know you have a bunch of boxes in your basement collecting dust. if can buy some from your local U-haul. a few bucks for boxes vs hours of pulling out weeds.....hmmmm....hard decision

and if you screw up cutting or tearing with your hands( which is even safer) you just tear another piece and put it over the gap. the cardboard laying there doesn't have to look pretty, just the mulch and plants on top

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 12:24AM
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sixty6ford(Z5 MI)

I normally read the lawn forum here, but wandered into this section to i.d. a weed. I'm getting into more organic products and purchased corn gluten meal (CGM) to use as a preemergent to the crabgrass in my lawn. I figured I'd try some in the garden too. Two of our gardens are bare ground and I hate weeding. To my surprise it was rather successful. The weed population dropped dramatically and the CGM is good for the soil. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 9:15PM
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Another vote for newspapers, carboard, Preen and/or corn gluten. When we moved to this present property two years ago, the flower beds were overgrown with weeds & grasses. It took forever, but eventually I got them weeded by hand. Then I sprinkled a heavy dose of Preen, followed by thick layers of either newspapers or paper grocery bags. After that, I topped everything off with a thick layer of mulch. Of course, I have to keep vigilent because those pesky weeds do pop up from time to time. But pulling them out is so much easier now and I've never had a full blown infestation.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 3:14AM
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fatso(z5 OH)

In short, large farms use chemicals to kill weeds. They usually hire it out to pros. (Please, all, spare the politically-correct complaining about this, it's just a fact).

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 8:11PM
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We have large flower gardens and lots of weeds till we started putting down yard cloth. It comes in rolls and it's a cloth-like material.We pull all the weeds then we put it down and put mulch on top of it. Water is able to go through the cloth, but the weeds can't come up. It works for us. We also use layers of newspaper for the areas that are hard to put cloth in.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 11:07AM
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susanargus(z7 NoVA)

There are two main reasons your weeds keep coming back:
1. You don't get the full weed out of the bed, so the root re-sprouts
2. You disturb the soil, so new weed seeds see daylight and decide to sprout.

If you aren't getting the whole plant up when you weed, consider using something like Round-up on the weed leaves, very carefully, shielding your roses from it (my mother even makes a crisco & roundup paste to paint directly on the weeds in her flowerbed). Roundup kills slowly, but it kills down to the root. Get the gentlest concentration of Roundup you can find and be patient as it works - it takes two weeks for gentle concentrations to begin killing the weed. If you can't target the roundup, crop your weeds to the ground, pull as much root up as possible, and deprive the plant of light via newspaper or cardboard with mulch to hold it down.

If you keep getting new weed seeds, just do the "deprive of light" method without the roundup part. There are a million different variations, but the main point is to prevent weed leaves from getting to sunlight, while keeping your soil moist and organic.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 5:10PM
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I've been dealing with the same problem, honestly I think a lot of it is because the bare soil around plants is ideal for all the weed seeds floating around in the garden to germinate. You'll be pulling and spraying forever and ever unless you do something permanent. Weed fabric is ok for a few seasons in my experieince, but then it needs to be lifted and done all over again since weeds and matter start to build up on top of the fabric. The problem may have been worse in my garden as I let the old leaves self-mulch in Autum. The newspaper suited me better, it was cheaper and rotted away saving me the trouble of pulling it all up. However, this year my plan is groundcover plants. Without bare soil, the weed seeds don't stand much of a chance. The patches where my groundcovers have started to grow have remained almost entirely weed free this season, while the bare soil is filled with weeds. I'm hoping to have most all the bare soil covered by the end of next year, which should massively reduce the weed problem.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 1:34PM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

I agree with bry84 about bare soil, which, if you continue weeding it, keeps stirring up dormant weed seeds and also makes the surface friendly to seeds deposted by wind and birds. I made the mistake of clearing an area bare for a vegetable garden. Then an accident kept me from gardening. The weeds in that area were unbelievable. I smothered some of the weeds by laying sod right over them. Others I am slowly eliminating with selective weeding, pulling out the worst invasives, and allowing certain less troublesome weeds to crowd out the monsters like creeping charlie. I dont have time for this plot right now, but clearing the ground really messed it up

This year I planted some shrubs in the traditional manner - dig a big hole, add compost to feed the shrub, plant and mulch the large bare circle around the shrub. Other shrubs I planted with a slit trench, opening a slit in the sod with a shovel, sliding in the shrub and closing the sod around the plant. The shrubs inserted into cleared ground have continuous crops of noxious weeds even with mulching. The shrubs planted in the slit trench just have grass around them. They are also handling the drought better

I have a senior citizen neighbor who has a big well developed vegetable garden. I told him the city has a rule that weeds cannot grow over 18 inches high. He was taken aback and said 'but how can you grow vegetables then?'. He has someone plow to open the soil for planting. After that he only keeps the weeds from growing too high or choking the plants too much and he gets a great crop.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 7:38PM
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I have had weeds sprout right through landscape weed barrier BTW. I guess I didn't get all of them out before putting it down like I thought I had. I will have to try the newspaper... BUT for crabgrass which is handsdown my worst weed, I would like to try the corn gluten - but where can I buy it? Does anyone know? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 2:45PM
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flrlady(z5/6 PA)

If you can get ground corn cob, its terrific, but not if you have annuals and perennials that you want to reseed, you will have to collect the seed and germinate them elswhere as the gluten in the cob destroys the seed. Ann

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 1:12AM
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jhunter(Z5 NE)

Another proponent of living mulch, aka ground-cover. I have heard that strawberry plant are particularly good for roses.

However, if you have really stubborn weeds, adding ground cover might not work. You want to encourage all the weed seeds to germinate, and then discourage the weeds from growing. Try this: put down the weed fabric, but don't mulch it, just hold it in place with stones. The seeds will germinate, but the plant and the roots will not grow well. Periodically [probably every two weeks] lift up the fabric and weed; then re-lay the fabric. Do this for at least one year, maybe two, and then plant a nice ground cover.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 12:19AM
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danaoh(SWOhio zone 6)

I have a very large rose garden overrun with weeds. What would happen if I just used newspapers without the mulch? I would use rocks etc, to hold it down. What do you think?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 11:16AM
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annaneaves(Canada (NS))

I will second (or third or fourth or whatever number we are on) the newspaper recomendation.

I've been battling goutweed in my garden for a year or two, I havn't gotten anywhere until this spring. I mulched my garden with newspapers and shredded leaves last fall and this year the goutweed is down to about 25% of it's previous coverage. It is still poking through at the base of the plants (where I cut holes) and at the edges, but it is mush more manageable now to finnish it off by hand. Also I accidentally tossed a bunch of grass seed into my garden in spring 2004, I fought with the grass all year, now that I have mulched with the newspapers, I have no grass at all in my garden.

I put it down 4-5 sheets thick around my existing plants, and if I'm expanding a bed or starting a new one, I put it down thicker. (maybe 10 sheets thick or so)

danaoh> The mulch helps keep the newspaper moist as well as holding it down. I've never heard of using just the newspaper... You could try it to see how it works, but I would guess that the mulch is important.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:54PM
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Cannaluver(z7 Tx)

The newspaper will not work without the mulch.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 8:55PM
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trubey(Azores Port.)

I'm a bit confused, then. What is the purpose of a mulch on top of the newspapers? And what kind of mulch are you guys suggesting?

I have a problem with grass that grows from large connected seeds underground. I'm in the process of removing all the dirt from a 6 foot by 6 foot bed and trying to find all the seeds. It's awfully hard work and I'd love some suggestions.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 5:42AM
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trubey asks: What is the purpose of a mulch on top of the newspapers?

I've done the newspaper mulch method too, and if you can't keep it consistently wet, it'll blow away. The mulch will hold the newspaper down. Weeds will grow with mulch alone; the newspaper doesn't allow them to come through.

The only problem I've had with newspaper is termites. But, as long as you don't do this close to any wood, it's okay. Termites are in the soil, period. But as much as I tell this to my husband this, he freaks and rips up the newspaper, even though I only put it down away from any wood...

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 3:48PM
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Mulch alone will work if you use enough of it. You have to pull the weeds first.

I use a pre-emergent (preen works fine but so does CGM) and mulch over that. You have to pull the weeds before you put down the pre-emergent, but it does work.

I've found that a second application of pre-emergent on top of the mulch around midsummer is a good thing.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 1:26PM
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Nashonii(6 Ozarks)

Forgive my ignorance. I'm rather new to gardening.
WHAT exactly IS MULCH?
I have an acre I need to weed and mulch. Fall leaves are numerious and free. Are leaves alone (or with newspaper), mulch enough?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 11:56AM
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oldhamman(8 La.)

i have a problem keeping weeds out of my loirioupe & asian jasmine. clover, bermudia grass & seasonal weeds just keep poping up. im looking for something i can spray from time to time on these groundcovers to control weeds without killing the groundcover. landscape gardeners must use chemicals for this.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 11:16AM
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I have always thought that you don't have to love gardening to enjoy your gardens. Here in central Florida it can be unbearably hot outside and I don't want to spend my weekends fooling around with newspapers and pulling weeds or using lots of chemicals or fabric in my garden beds. (I'm a landscape manager the rest of the week.)I have found that using a heavy layer (6") of pine needles, which contain a natural pre-emergent herbicide, directly over the soil and then just spot spraying with Round-up is the best method for my garden. The pine needles come in bales at the garden center for about $5.00 and it lasts for 12 months or more and it's a renewable resource.

Give a lazy man a hard job and he will find the easiest way to do it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 12:05PM
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    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 4:00PM
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Ok, Ihave been reading all the suggestions that everyone has and thank you to all. I came across this forum to find out how to get rid of the jungle my wife and i have that we are trying to call a garden. First off, I am a first time home owner with my first expierence in gardening; living in apartments and moving all the time with the military did not give me ample oppurtunities to garden. So, to make a long story shot(too late huh? I am completey stupid and do not know or understand what to do. I know the answers are here because you are all very smart. So please help if there is anyone willing.

Here is the situation:
we have an area already landscaped for a garden but there are weeds that are as tall as me. I figured, through reading this forum, that it was our fault of that because my wife cleared all the weeds and then tried to shovel the dirt to mix it up, we live in Utah and the soil is like cement and I think there is a lot of clay, after she cleared we did nothing to it got busy and neglected it and now it is like I said 5 foot weeds. it is late now to start a vegetable garden here because it is so hot now and all that but we want to prep it maybe for next year and just get rid of the weeds this year, rather have dirt there then that. So, I guess what I am looking for is a Step by step guide for dummies, me being the dummy on start to finish on what to do. I have had suggestions of pulling the weeds and then putting down like an inch of grass clippings on the hard soil to soften it or something then I heard use fruit peels or anything like that with the grass clippings and then till that into the dirt. I just need steps on what to do this year so it will at least look good and be good for next year to grow vegetables. Thank you to anyone that is willing to help me.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 7:43AM
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Look up lasagna gardening. That would be the easiest for you I think. I always use cardboard boxes that I grab from furniture, electronics, or appliance store dumpsters. These are large boxes that can cover a large area quickly.
Nashonii, mulch is just about anything you use to cover a planting bed to retain moisture, and to some extent appearance. You can use woodchips, which are free in some places from tree trimmers, or shredded leaves, bark, stones(don't recommend) or compost, grass clippings, etc.
Anything organic will decompose and add nutrients to the soil which is a good thing. I use either compost or woodchips exstensively which really help loosen up clay soil, and helps to hold moisture in sandy soils. Any organics added to the soil is not a one time thing but should be done every year as it is used up by the plants.
This is a very simplistic answer, so check out the compost forum faq and also the organic garding faq for more complete answers.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 2:21PM
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I am in Zone 9, Texas. I normally spend 2-3 hours every other weekend to weed my flower beds. I have found that newspaper and mulch worked well. I started using vinegar spray like Round up to kill whatever weeds I left behind. I've only used it once before and it seemed to do the job on stray weeds in the mulch area. I sprinkled the vinegar directly from its container so it was not even. I used a sprayer today. I will post my result with vinegar next week. Vinegar is a lot cheaper and seems to be environmentally safer than chemical like Round Up.
Amaze weed and grass killer (by Sunlight) worked quite well if you have cleared all the weeds. You sprinkle this over the flowerbeds and this will prevent the new seeds from germinating. It supposed to work for 3 months.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:34PM
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Im new to this site but I have been growning tomatos for years. I have 178 tomato plants in the garden right now plus Peppers 6 rows of beans 18 Zukes and Okra. I have used Newspapers around my plants for a long long time and it works great! When I use it I will cut a slit in it and wrap it arounf the base of the tomato plant then another one from the other side over lapping it. Just make sure you wet it down real good the first time to hold it into place.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:40PM
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I finally got my flower beds under control at the beggining of this season by covering my desirable perennials (irises, daylillies, azaleas, etc) with large garbage bags down to the crown. I then carefully sprayed RoundUp everywhere else. The next day I took the garbage bags off, all the weeds died, but my flowers didn't. A week later I pulled them, sprinkled Preen, mulched, then put another layer of Preen over the mulch.

Now I only have a few sparse areas where only a few very particlar species of weeds are popping up. I have one area where I'm growing creeping jenny (on purpose), but there were 3 wild onions popping up above the jenny groundcover. I got the idea here to cover the weeds rather than the desirable plant. I sprayed one squirt of RoundUp into a cellophane wrapper from a pack of cigarettes, shook it out over concrete to make sure none would drip out, then covered the onion with it and put a rubber band around it to secure. The next day, the onions were dying, but the jenny below stayed healthy.

I now do this with all of the weeds that are popping up close to desirable plants. I suppose it's like the Crisco + RoundUp solution above, but I take extra care to make sure no RoundUp gets on any desirable foliage. You don't need cigarette pack cellophane, SaranWrap will work too, but use rubber bands to make sure it doesn't blow off and kill anything you don't want it to.

I like RoundUp rather than weed pulling because it kills more roots. After the weed and root are dead, pull them out, keep the rubber band, and sprinkle more preen over the area. I find that I have to do this about once every 2 weeks to control about 20 or so individual weed sprouts in a 450 sqft flower bed. Of the 20, only about 10 are growing close enough to desirable plants that you have to use cellophane or saranwrap to isolate the RoundUp.

Don't do this on a windy day, and it shouldn't take you that long. I'm lazy too, but I like this method better than spending an entire weekend digging up weeds once a season.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:10PM
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Somone needs to address the fact that not all weeds are equal. The solution to a weed problem depends, at least to some extent, on what kind of weed you have.
First there are weeds that are coming up from seed. Newspaper works very well on these because it deprives them of sunlight. Even though they sprout, they are relatively weak and can't get through the newspaper, so they die before long. They are, after all, living off of the small amount of food stored in the seed itself, which isn't much.
Then there are weeds that are coming up from an established rootstock, like trees, briars, various kinds of clump grass, overgrown shrubs, and so forth. The sprouts from this kind of weed are much, much stronger because they have a strong root system feeding them. They will not starve in a week or so like seeded weeds. They can also frequently be quite stout enough to push right through your newspaper when it gets wet or a little rotted. And if you're not watching, they're soon huge again. So they need a stronger barrier like the expensive mulching fabric or cardboard (unless you have the time and strength to dig them up entirely). I fought Johnsongrass out once using old blankets with mulch on top. Johnsongrass can live for at least two years with no sprouts at all, and when you think it's dead and gone and pull your mulch fabric out of there and plant something, presto! You've got Johnsongrass all over the place again. It's a nightmare. Briars can be the same way. So leave it in place for at least 3 years if you have this kind of weed.
And then there are things that spread by creeping stems over or under the surface of the ground, like Bermuda grass. If you can cover it ALL up (and I mean ALL!!), newspaper can work. If it's adjacent to the area you don't want it in (like a lawn), you just have to put in an upright barrier that's far enough below the ground that it can't go under and far enough above the ground that it can't go over. And it can't have cracks between sections because it will go right through the crack. This kind of weed loves to grow right in your mulch (yes, on top of a weed barrier) if it can get started there.
You have to tailor your solution to the problem here, and no one solution will work for everything, unless you give in and install a bare concrete patio. If you don't know what kind of weed you have, use a website or book with good pictures of weeds so you can identify them.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 1:45PM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

Use THICK layers of newspapers. I use a section (you know, C City life) 12-20 pages at a time. If there has been grass,
then 2-3 sections overlapped. You want about an eighth of an inch of paper.

The other thing I've found that works well is old carpet. Put it on upside down. Water goes through it, weeds don't.

If you spike down the corners of carpet, you can run over the edges with the mower and not catch them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 11:37AM
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Hey Claire:

I can feel your pain!

Our company recently posted an article on just this thing. I would suggest using a combination of fabric, at least 3 inches of mulch and spraying the weeds only as needed. Another trick that we like to apply when possible is to water the plants via "drip irrigation" as it allows less opportunity for the unwanted weeds to survive.

If you are interested in the article, I've attached the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Getting Rid of Flower Bed Weeds

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:05PM
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I was interested in finding a solution to a thistle problem. These things must have armor! I have to spade them up daily and when in a hurry I just pick them not getting the roots. Does the newspaper technique work on this broadleaf weed?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 9:56AM
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Well, one will never get rid of all of the weeds in your gardens thanks to the Weed Seed Bank. The Weed Seed Bank is a build up of weed seeds in the soil from when the area that is your garden was not inhabited by humans. Weeds flowered, pollinated, and then shed their seeds. Only a select few can germinate and then block the sunlight from the other seeds. Seeds become dormant and can survive for up to (has been found) 3,000 years.
Either put down a residual herbicide or keep on pulling.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 9:02PM
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how do i get rid of clover in my irises?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Get the soil damp, then pull by hand is how I do it. And keep at it to catch the escapes.

I've tried using products containing 2,4-D as this works well on clover, but the iris are also a little sensitive to it. Doesn't kill them, though. I applied it during the summer after the spring blooms were done. The iris will display a little curling and deformity, but not bad. However, the next spring, a good portion of the iris still showed some herbicide damage in the flowers, which were small, misshapen, and tended to be bleached out. The year after, they were fine again and the clover had spread back in from the edges.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 2:00AM
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My garden is full of weeds and I just cannot keep up. I have weeds that are there now. I am going to go the newspaper route now but I was curious if I had to pull the weeds out before I did this. My garden is HUGE and Im 7 months pregnant so my energy is not there not to do this. If I have to get them out, does anyone have an easier way to get the out instead of pulling them? I tried last week and really didn't get to far. I want to be able to enjoy my yard as well as my new addition.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:34AM
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Spraying something to poison one plant can, often, also poison the plants you want and is often not a good idea. "Weeds", plants you do not want growing where you do not want them growing, can be kept under some control simply by depriving them of access to the sunlight all plants need so they can grow. Covering them with some newspaper (4 to 6 pages is plenty, 12 to 20 is overkill) does just that and covering the newspaper with a mulch material will help hid it as well as hold the paper in place. Some recent research indicates that landscape fabric, carpet, etc. can prevent air exchange in the soil and when soil is deprived of air it becomes anaerobic and a good place for disease pathogens to develop.
Those "weeds" have used soil nutrients and pulling them up and throwing them away is a waste of those nutrients. Covering them with newspaper, or cardborad, will deprive them of the sunlight they need and they will die, right there, and the nutrients they pulled from the soil will be returned.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:21AM
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You can also buy 'breathable' fabric that allows water and air to get in, while keeping light out. It's black. This has worked wonders for all of our flower beds. No weed problems whatsoever. You can also cut the fabric back once the plants grow out a bit.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 9:16PM
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If any fabric is open enough to allow the soil to breath it is porous enough to allow light in. "Weeds" can, and will, germinate and grow in the mulch you put down to suppres "weed" growth, so putting down a landscape fabric or a good thick mulch is not going to end "weed" problems forever, but the mulch makes it much easier to remove unwanted plant growth when properly used.
There is not even a spray, dust, or whatever you can buy and use that will eliminate "weed" growth. Even soils once polluted with gas and oil will recover and grow plants.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:48AM
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You can buy a roll of builder paper @ Home Depot or Lowes it is inexpensive & is used under harwood floor installation. I used it for weed contol & covered it with mulch & it worked well for 3+ years.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Since newspaper and cardboard can be had for free why spend money on a product to do the same thing?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 7:19AM
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I have had the same problem. I would pull the weeds only to have them come back stronger. What I didn't know was that if you only remove the surface of some weeds or don't get all the root they grow again and they act as if you have cut them back to make them thicker and larger. Make sure you're removing all the roots on them for at least one season and see if it helps. Also you can look up vinegar for killing weeds. I am not sure how close you can get to the plants but it kills the weeds. If you use Preen read the directions carefully its bad for us and the environment plus you can't use it near edible plants. I have used Round Up before next to plants. They have different kinds so make sure its the one you use next to plants that does not absorb into ground or it will spread and kill whatever it is next to. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:39PM
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Has anyone had success with using a torch on weeds.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:10PM
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The advice to use Preen is good. Preen coats the weed seed so that it cannot grow. Use it after you have pulled the weeds. Something that is a little better is Surflan. It's liquid and usually a color that allows you to see exactly where you spray. If you go to a FarmStore they will have that or a facsimile. Follow directions on the bottle. Then mulch with your favorite mulch.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 10:59PM
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Using a pre emergent "weed" suppressor, such as Preen, may work if the "weeds" you are trying to sup0press are from seeds, but it does not work if those "weeds" grow up from already established roots.

A torch will cause the top growth of any plant the heat reaches to burst and die but it will not do anything about the roots unless repeat use of that torch is made, Those torches also use non renewable resources, propane, for fuel.

Plant poisons, if not used with great care, can kill desirable plants as well as those that are unwanted, and many have great adverse environmental problems.

Mulches can be an aid in unwanted plant growth suppression, but they are not the end all some people think. Mulches are, however, a much more environmentally friendly means of helping with unwanted plant growth suppression.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 3:29AM
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I'm a weed freak, patrol the rose garden several times a week and remove even the tiniest weed. A year ago, when we saw this summer would require restricted watering, we brought in a thick layer of "forest mulch." That has helped a lot, but weeds still pop up. Certain ones (oxalis, for one), I hit with a light spray of slightly diluted vinegar. Other weeds are not affected by vinegar.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2015 at 8:25AM
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