The Q&A Archives: Strong Roots

Question: I want to redo a section next to my home gardening area. I don't like what the formal owners had there. It's little purple flowers and some sore of plants that smell like strong spearment or something in that area. I tried to pull up the plants along with surrounding weeds. The plants roots are so enbedded that I couldn't pull them out. What can I do?

I would like to take out everything there and put small shrubs and surround them with mixed summery flowers. I need something that I don't have to manage all the time.

Answer: Some plants such as mint can become invasive and will regrow from tiny shreds of root left in the ground. To battle these plants can be very difficult and many gardeners will use an herbicide containing glyphosate for the job. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the instructions on the label.

Once you have taken care of the weed problem, you will need to run some basic soil tests and then amend your soil based on the results and in view of what you want to grow.

Your plant selections will depend on the soil type, and equally important, on the amount of sun or shade in that location. Your Penn State cooperative county extension should be able to help you with testing the soil and amending it as indicated by the results, and suggesting what might do well in that location.

You might also want to read up on landscaping, soil preparation, plant selection, planting, and maintenance. A book I like, because it is straightforward and includes plant lists, is "Gardening for Dummies" by Michael MacCaskey, ISBN 1-56884-644-4.

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