The Q&A Archives: shrub problems

Question: What is the best way to control weeds and crab grass that keep sprouting up in my flower beds and bushes without killing the bushes. It seems like as soon as i pull them they sprout right back up- so frustrating. also in the beds with bushes, is it better to put soil down or mulch? when we bought the house a year ago, the beds had soil with black plastic underneath. this seemed to work ok for a while until it gradually washed away. Thanks for the help. Jessie

Answer: The safest approach is to dig the plants out, then eradicate the grassy weeds, roots and all. When the planting bed is clean, replant the plants. If that isn't an option, hand dig the weeds and then, to keep grass and other weed seeds from germinating, cover the bare soil with several inches of organic mulch or use a weed barrier (or several thicknesses of newspaper) and cover it with a decorative mulch of bark chips or rocks. While this approach is labor intensive, you'll be rewarded with healthy plants and a weed free garden bed. Enjoy your garden!

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