Whatever kind of gardening you are into, be it vegetable gardening or flower gardening, there is one confrontation we all have in common : prevention of weeds taking over our gardens! Controlling weeds in your garden is a make or break task for every gardener. You can always expect to spend at least a few minutes every day of pulling a weed or two to keep things under control. Believe me, it can get away from you very quickly!
Start Weeding Right Away
Getting weeds under control can actually start from the very moment you are creating your flower bed or garden. Once you begin to plan your area, take a few minutes to remove any visible weeds. Pull them up by the root if you’re able to. This will lower the population of weeds in season’s to come.
You can be sure that where there are weeds, there are weed seeds lying dormant in the nearby soil. Once the soil is turned up, exposing them to light or moisture, they will rear their ugly heads very quickly.
There’s not a whole lot you can do to get rid of these seeds but you can try to prevent their germination by covering them with some kind of mulch. If you can get it down soon enough, you should be able to reduce or outright cancel the germination and growth of the underlying seeds.
There are many different things that can be used as mulch and it will all vary by your geographical location. Store bought mulch made of pine shavings, cypress, or bark is readily available almost everywhere, but if you want a more organic approach, check for local availability. Down south, a lot of people love to use Pine Needles. It looks great and is totally sustainable. Up north, people will more than likely use shredded leaves from indigenous trees.
Mulching your garden not only controls weeds, but is also very effective at keeping your soil moist by reducing water evaporation. In the Summer, mulch can help keep your soil a little cooler on those hot days therefore protecting the roots of the plant. In the Winter, it can act as an insulation to overwinter your perennials and protect vulnerable plants.
If Bad Comes to Worse
You can also opt to use weed preventing chemicals. Lots of people frown upon this but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Weeds are a tough lot and can quickly ruin your hard work. Although chemical weed inhibitors are great at preventing weeds, their effects are residual and they will usually have to be reapplied throughout the growing season.
Other Options Not So Friendly
Landscaping cloth is another option I will throw in here. It can greatly reduce weeds but let me tell you, if weeds ever get established in it, the roots will embed themselves in the cloth and are very aggravating to get out. Also if you ever need to move an established perennial or shrub, it is very difficult to cut lose.
Weeding Is a Full Time Job
If you ever decide to use any of these methods, keep in mind none of them are full proof. A nasty little weed will somehow always find its way into your garden despite any hard work you may have put into it. Just stay on top of it. A quick pull here and there on occasion will always outweigh a full day of weeding a flowerbed that has been left uncared for for even a week.
You may be interested in a great video on How to Clean Out a Flowerbed
Remember, weeds are always easier to ull when your dirt is moist like just after a rain or a watering. Make sure to pull up the entire plant, root and all. Weeds are best removed when they are little. Never let them get mature enough to where they flower and scatter their seeds all over and start the whole process over!