The Q&A Archives: weed control under rocks

Question: We moved into this house and the landscape really needs some help.I keep on pulling weeds all the time in the rock area, and it just looks horrible. I don't know how to fix this problem and I am afraid it is going to be really hard work. I have most of the weeds pulled and I have the tarp paper to put down,but I don't know how to do it and if it is worth doing?

Answer: It can be really difficult to regain control of a neglected garden area. Pulling weeds is a good first step but of course you realize there are probably lots of weed seeds just waiting for the opportunity to sprout. There are a couple of ways to take control. One is to remove all of the desirable plants in the area and kill the weeds with a product such as Round Up, wait the prescribed amount of time and replant the plants. The other is to spot treat the weeds as they emerge. You might even consider using a weed flamer. A flamer is simply a propane torch with a long metal piece that you gently pass over the tops of weeds. You don't actually incinerate the weeds, just heat them up enough to cause the fluids within the leaves to burst. This usually kills the weed, roots and all. The third approach is to do what you are planning - after removing the weeds, lay a barrier such as tar paper, cardboard, folded newspapers or weed barrier fabric over the area to keep weeds from growing back. I don't know what your rock garden looks like so I can't make specific suggestions, but one or all of the above weed control processes should give you the upper hand in the weed control department. Good luck with your project!

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