Early this week, Sharon from NewUrbanMom.com posted a couple gardening questions for me as part of our cross-blog conversation.
In today’s post, I respond to Sharon’s second question:
My second question is do you have any advice on how to keep out annoying ground cover plants/weeds? It’s not that I hate ground cover. I planted lovely pachysandra plants a few years ago that have now taken hold and I just love their glossy leaves and the way they provide a lovely, year-round green ground-cover under my bay window. The unattractive, thin leaf ground-cover in my main flower beds are, however, another story. They weaken my perennials and are a pain to remove.
I SO feel your pain on this one, Sharon. Last year was the first time ever I didn’t put down a fresh coat of mulch… and boy did I pay for it. I swear, my house was nearly swallowed by an invasion of Creeping Charlie. (Nasty, horrible stuff!)
I am blessed with really gorgeous, nutrient-rich top soil on my property – which is awesome for the plants I like to grow, but not-so-great when it comes to controlling weeds.
Before I share how I plan to fight back (and how I’ve won this battle in previous years) – I should note that I avoid using chemicals to kill weeds whenever possible. I figure they can’t be good for me, my family and friends, or my much-loved pets.
So, here goes…
Last weekend, we tackled a bed that had literally been engulfed by Creeping Charlie and other undesirables.
The first thing I had to do was “rescue” (remove) the plants I wanted to save. (Yes, it was THAT bad – see below!)
Next, we used a string trimmer to cut everything else as close to the ground as possible. (This is when some would recommend spraying with weed killer).
Then, I replanted the rescued plants back into the bed or relocated them elsewhere. (This is also a great time to divide the plants and remove any straggly weeds that may still be attached to the roots). Add any new new plants you’d like to add to the bed at this time, too.
After raking the debris and watering in your transplanted plants, cover the ground around them with 10 layers or so of newspaper to smother any future growth. (Landscape fabric can also be used, but I prefer old newspapers because they are free and biodegradable).
Finally, cover the newspaper with a thick layer of mulch. You may still need to hand pull some weeds throughout the season, but the combination of newspapers and mulch should keep regrowth to a minimum.
The Good News
If your beds aren’t as out of control as mine were – you won’t need to “rescue” your existing landscape plants. You can simply rake around them and add the layer of newspaper/landscape fabric before adding new mulch. From there, light hand pulling should keep your beds clean throughout the rest of your growing season.
Looking forward to hearing your response to my questions re: your garden site! 🙂
Til Next Time,