Weeds - Knowledgebase Question

San Francisco, CA
Question by CY827
August 27, 1999
I planted many different kinds of flowering seeds in the backyard about 2 months ago. It was nothing but an abandoned backyard with nothing in it, not even weeds. Now my plants are growing fine but then this strange weed plant started popping up on the surface among my flowers. They start out as 3 tiny circular shaped 'dot' leaves and then grow into something much larger with some dark purple shades on it. I'm thinking of using something like Round-Up but I might destroy the plants, too. Please, any suggestions?

Answer from NGA
August 27, 1999


Weed seeds can live for years beneath the soil surface and the minute you turn the soil (as in planting), and add water, those little seeds can spring to life. Sounds like the seeds were just waiting for the smallest gesture of encouragement on your part. The best way to keep weed seeds from germinating is to add a thick layer of mulch over the bare soil between your plants. This will eliminate light and discourage the sprouting of weed seeds. Using an herbicide such as Round-Up near desirable plants isn't a good idea. Your new plants can be damaged or killed by accidental overspray. A better approach is to pull the weeds by hand as soon as they appear. Don't allow them to flower or they will set seeds and soon you'll have a bed of weeds to deal with! Once you've gotten all of the weeds out of the bed, add a layer of mulch to discourage other weed seeds from sprouting. As soon as your plants are mature enough to spread out a bit, they will shade the soil surface and further discourage weeds.

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