weeds/prepare soil for a bed - Knowledgebase Question

Oviedo, Fl
Question by michaelpetti
October 25, 2009
Do you recommend using a strong weed killer in an area before we prepare soil for plants or will that kill future plantings providing we wait a good amount of time before planting?


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Answer from NGA
October 25, 2009

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If you use a product like Round Up to kill existing weeds you can plant in the bed within a week or so. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round Up, travels down into the roots of the weeds but does not translocate into the soil and therefore leaves no residue so you can plant within days. (Be sure to follow label directions.) If you use other types of weed killers, there may be some residual effect and there will be a waiting period. So if you decide to use a vegetation killer, be sure to carefully follow the label directions, including the waiting period. You can clear the area of weeds in other ways. One is to physically pull the weeds, roots and all; another is to suffocate the existing weeds by covering over the entire bed with several thicknesses of newspaper or cardboard. Without sunlight, the weeds will die. Of course any seeds left behind will sprout as soon as the cardboard or newspaper mulch is removed, so be on the lookout! I'd use the suffocation method and leave the newspapers or cardboard in place until February. Then dig or rototill it into the soil to help enrich the soil. You can then either cover the entire bed with weed barrier landscape fabric to keep future weeds from growing or you can plant in the bare soil and cover over the areas around and between your new plants with several thicknesses of newspaper and top it with organic mulch to help suppress new weeds. Good luck with your project!

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