weeds in combination bulb-seed flower garden - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Sherilyn Clark
Massena, NY
Question by sclark0
August 30, 1999
Hi, I read the faq's but didn't quite get an answer to my problem. I have a small flower bed that I tilled grass into last fall and planted about 75 bulbs. In the spring I added lots of seeds(annual flowers). I have pulled tons of weeds but there are alot more. I have thought of the newspaper thing covered with cedar mulch when I pull the flowers,but what will that do to my bulbs? My Dad thinks I should retill, but do to health problems I don't think I can dig up and replant all those bulbs. Also what substance can I use to border garden from grass. I tried that little cedar fencing, but grass grew under over and through it!

Answer from NGA
August 30, 1999


TIlling will bring more weed seeds to the surface where they will germinate, so it won't really solve the problem. If the weed are annual weeds such as crabgrass you can stop them by mulching next spring. If they are perennial weeds such as dandelions you may be able to smother them with newspaper and a heavy mulch or you may want to spot treat them with a herbicide such as glyphosate. Keep in mind that newspaper and a mulchheavy enough to hinder perennial weeds may hinder your bulbs, so it would probably be better to apply it in spring after the bulbs are up so you can see where they are. Be sure, though to do it early enough before the warm season weeds germinate again. Keep in mind too that the weeds are always the worst the first year and decrease after that.

Edging needs to be continuous and needs to be buried in the soil to keep spreading grasses out. Another option is to keep a band of soil that is covered in newspaper and mulch between the lawn and the garden, or to periodically spray a bordering band with an herbicide. Further options are to hand dig a sharp edge or to use raised beds.

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