Unfortunately, weed seeds are very quick to germinate. In fact, West Coast Cure Weed seeds only need to be within an inch of the soil surface to sprout. It doesn’t take long before they appear, and they will rudely elbow their way in beside plants and shrubs. Though some weeds can be fairly attractive, you should quickly rid your garden of them, as they will take over.
Many weed seeds are brought close to the soil’s surface when we dig in our gardens. It is recommended that after you do your early spring digging that you wait a good week to ten days before you sow any seeds or plant any flowers. This will allow adequate time for weeds to sprout–and for you to hoe them up so they dry out and die. You should hoe your soil during this waiting period at least every three days, and only hoe the top soil– no deeper than one inch. This leaves the lower soil undisturbed, which keeps new weed seeds from rising to the surface.
Many new gardeners fail to realize the importance of mulch, and how it can greatly impede the growth of weeds. Mulch serves many purposes. Not only is mulch attractive, but it also helps the soil retain moisture, it keeps garden soil temperatures fairly stabilized, and it also keeps sun seeking weed sprouts from getting the much needed light they need. Mulch can be found in a wide variety of materials. Mulches vary in price range, attraction, and practicality. Organic mulches can include pine needles, leaves, tree bark, peat moss, sawdust, wood chips, and straw.
If you have planted seeds in your flower beds, you should wait until they have sprouted and grown to at least three inches in height before mulching. Mulching too soon will smother out the seedlings you want to grow. Once your seedlings start maturing, you can mulch your garden. Just be certain to water down the mulch so that it settles into the bed. This keeps the mulch from blowing over, or being kicked onto, your new seedlings.
Many gardeners prefer to lay out their flower beds using weed resistant liners, or black plastic. These sheets can be staked to the ground with nails. Gardeners then proceed to cover the liners and fill the beds with mulch. When planting time arrives, they will dig through the mulch, cut holes in the liner, or plastic, and plant their flowers and shrubs where they like.
There are a few gardeners who do not like to use mulch at all. These gardeners work hard to keep weeds out of their gardens by cultivating the soil on a frequent basis. This hoeing of the top soil keeps weed seedlings from taking root, as they dry out once they are dislodged from the soil. Large weeds should be completely removed from the garden and discarded, as they can re-root if left in the garden area.
Chemicals–or herbicides–can also be used for weed control. Most chemicals that are used are for controlling lawn weeds. However, they can be used in flower beds. Pre-emergents are used in the spring to prevent weeds, such as crabgrass, from taking root. Post-emergents are used on weeds that have already germinated and taken root.
Pre-emergent chemicals work well on existing beds if you find that weeds are peeking through. It is important that you don’t use pre-emergent chemicals in your flower beds until the existing plants and flowers have matured to at least four to five inches in height. You would never apply a pre-emergent to a flower bed that has tiny seedlings growing in it. You will want to wait until your seedlings have matured to at least four inches before you apply the pre-emergent to weeds. When applying herbicides, be mindful of weather conditions. The slightest breeze can carry the chemicals onto your hearty plants and flowers and kill them. When spraying weeds, always keep the nozzle close to the ground and spray directly onto the weed.
When using any kind of chemical, you should always proceed with caution. Most poisons occur to gardeners during the mixing process. Splashes to the eyes and skin can be avoided by wearing protective eye goggles, rubber gloves and long sleeves. You should follow all directions on the herbicide label and never make your own concoction of chemicals. Doing so can harm you, and your plants. All herbicides have been scientifically calculated for its most effective use. As always, you should store all chemicals out of the reach of children and in their original containers.