I am attempting to Revamp my grandmothers flower beds for her. They have not had any real maintenance in ten to twelve years. It is infested with weeds, I am removing all mulch and am going to spray with roundup weed and grass killer. Then I am going to replace the mulch. Am I going about this the right way?
you will kill the flowers. stop here.
if you use any roundup at all, use a little in a cut-open soda can with a small paintbrush. do not spray. do not use grass killer, it's quite indiscrimanate also. where weeds are not right on top of plants you like, paint the weed leaves with roundup diluted to label directions. do not spray water during the kill period, or it could wash the stuff off and take flowers out with it... spot water the flowers only at their base with a open-end watering can.
and try this in a small test area only before committing to it. roots intertwine in the ground between plants, including weeds. roundup works by translocating down the plant and choking the ability of the roots to move water up the plant. it could cross one root to another and damage the wanted plants.
what I would do is pull all the weeds you can (note... get guidance from Grandma on which plants are not weeds), then take up the mulch and trash it. use a 3 or 4 tine cultivator and/or hoe to knock down other weeds that start coming up between the plants. after a while, the weeds will stay sparse. THEN re-mulch.
the kill time of most herbicides is two to four weeks, and things might not look like anything is happening for that first week or two.
some of those plants might need dividing as well to unlock root binding.This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
As Swschrad suggests, ask your Grandmother which, if any, perennials remain. It's quite possible that the weeds have killed most of them and taken over.
If there are any perennials left, I would hand weed around them, clearing an area so that your next step of weed removal won't disturb what perennials are remaining.
I've used a scuffle hoe for years and found it to be the best tool for weeding. The hoe flexes back and forth and loosens the weeds and roots so that they can then be raked up. It might not work on weeds with extensive intertwining root systems as these can be heavily tangled and interwoven.
It may sound time consuming, but it's easier on the soil than herbicides (which I NEVER use) and isn't too hard on your hands and arms if you use your upper arms to move the hoe.
The style I use is shown in the second photo in the first full row.
After the weed roots are loosened, you can rake them up with a leaf rake and bag them for pickup, unless you want to compost them.
Depending on the size of the flower beds, another alternative is to solarize them by laying plastic over the weeds and anchoring it so that the plastic doesn't blow around. The plastic kills the weeds (unless they're thistles, which are another story) and you can then scuffle hoe and remove them more easily.
I've read that white vinegar will kill weeds, but I've only had limited success with it on individual weeds.
Over the years I've experimented with mulch and eventually either turned it under or composted it. I've found that it DOES NOT prevent further weeds from growing and only makes it harder to weed out the ones that do grow. It's much easier to just scuffle hoe the weeds as they appear, without having to either move or go through the mulch.
The advantage of turning the mulch under is that it provides moist soil at the root level rather than on top of the soil. This was an accidental discovery I made but it has worked well over the years for my garden, which was once 6000 square feet (and required a lot of weeding).This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
I would use a two prong approach. I would hand pull or hoe out the weeds. Then water. As the new ones come up or old ones come back CAREFULLY spray with roundup. Do not use any other products. The others will pollute the soil and prevent anything from growing.
Just my opinion...
No offence to anyone but after 10 -12 years of doing nothing, I would just start over.
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