The Q&A Archives: Eradicating Weeds

Question: We have a slope in back full of weeds. How do we treat the soil to eliminate future weed growth. We plan to plant with slope type plants.

Answer: It's going to take time and patience to effectively control weeds in your new garden area. One of the best ways of keeping weed seeds from germinating and perennials from sprouting is to eliminate light. This translates into thick mulch over the soil, between the plants, or a woven weed barrier cloth over all areas not planted with crops or flowering plants. Any organic material that is used as mulch can be tilled in at the end of the season, providing additional nutrients to the soil. Since you're tackling a large area, you may want to use inexpensive and easily obtained mulching material. Cardboard, folded newspapers (4-6 pages thick), pine boughs, lawn clippings, or 4"-6" of compost spread over the garden area will provide a barrier to weed growth. Uncover only the areas you plan to broadcast seeds or transplant starts. If you keep weeds pulled or knocked down before they flower and set seeds, you'll stop the next generation from getting a foothold in your garden. The first year or two will be the most labor intensive as you reclaim the area, but you'll be rewarded for your efforts eventually. Just keep at it!

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