The Q&A Archives: Weeds in flower beds

Question: I have some stubborn creeping weeds right next to my plants in the flower beds. When I just pull them out, even though I think I'm getting the roots, they quickly come back. It's difficult to spray without hitting the plants and killing them as well. Do you have any suggestions for these stubborn runners?

Answer: The problem with creeping weeds is that they usually have underground runners and large root systems. Digging them out, roots and all usually results in some of the roots being left behind. These little pieces of roots invariably sprout into new plants. Without knowing what the weed is, I can't really suggest a selective weed killer that will take care of the weed without harming your perennials plants. As you've discovered, a non selective weed killer will harm your plants along with the weeds. At this point, take a sample of the weed to your local garden center or cooperative extension office for identification. Once you know what you're dealing with you may be able to find a selective product to help control the weed. In the meantime, pull out what you can see and then place a weed barrier (or several thicknesses of newspaper) over the bare soil around your plants and cover with a mulch. If you eliminate sunlight, weed seeds won't sprout and your creeping weed won't be able to grow. Good luck with your garden!

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