how to prevent weeds from growing in mulch

Mulch can make weeds less prevalent and make it hard for weeds to sprout. However, weeds are very resilient and some will come up through your mulch if you don’t handle things right.

Many gardening stores will sell weed barriers and you can also easily order them online. This is typically a type of plastic material that will prevent weeds from being able to grow and it isn’t that expensive at all.

Many gardeners also cut these “X” holes in their weed barriers for plants that they have just planted from seeds. You could cut “X” shapes where the new plants are supposed to go and everything should be fine. It’s easy to do and it generally isn’t going to add much time to this little project.

Ensure That You Remove Weeds Completely.

It isn’t possible to keep weeds from growing indefinitely but you can keep them at bay for long periods of time. Just use your weed barrier before placing your mulch and you’ll be in a good position.

Having weeds sprout up in your gardens will certainly be problematic. This is something that gardeners have been dealing with since the old days and you’re always going to be battling weeds.

Of course, many people dislike using these weed barriers because they aren’t all that environmentally friendly. If you’re one of the millions of people who are opposed to using plastic items, then you can use an environmentally conscious weed barrier instead.

It’s also important to note that some weed barriers work better than others. For example, clear weed barriers might not work as well as black ones.

Now you get to figure out the best trick for keeping weeds from sprouting up through your mulch. You want to install what is known as a weed barrier on your soil before you lay down your mulch.

Making a weed barrier yourself or buying a commercial weed barrier isn’t a difficult task. The toughest part of doing this is likely going to be taking the time to remove all of the weeds from your gardens fully.

Make Use of a Weed Barrier Underneath Your Mulch.

When you’re shopping for weed barriers, it’s going to be wise to look around for a good deal. You can find weed barriers that are very cost-effective if you take the time to peruse.

Don’t rush it; try to be as thorough as you can when removing the weeds. Remember that if you fail to get the weeds by the roots when you’re removing them, things won’t go as well.

The best thing to do is to go ahead and remove those weeds completely. You need to take a trowel and start pulling up the weeds by the roots. This might be a bit time-consuming but the results will be worth it once you see how things look later on.

You might be interested in clear weed barriers because it’d make it easier to see how your soil is doing underneath but it isn’t a good idea. Clear weed barriers allow sunlight to get through and this can wind up promoting weed growth.

Making Your Own Environmentally Friendly Weed Barrier.

You might be worried about your plants and whether this barrier will negatively impact them. It’s easy to take steps to allow your plants to grow through this barrier.

Once you’re done, you’ll be able to lay your mulch down as usual and you won’t have to worry about weeds so much moving forward.

Your homemade weed barrier might not last as long as a commercial product, though. You’ll likely need to replace your weed barrier each season but most people change their mulch out semi-regularly as well.

You just need to cut “X” shapes in the barrier that will allow your plants to grow through everything. Strategically cut these “X” shapes into the barrier so that all of your plants will be able to poke through the holes.

You’re going to have more problems with weeds if you use clear weed barriers and a better experience if you use the black ones. Even so, using a clear weed barrier would be much better than not using a weed barrier at all.

Yes, you can. Synthetic landscape fabrics provide a physical barrier to weeds yet allow air, water and nutrients through to plant roots. Spread the fabric over bare soil around trees and shrubs; overlap several inches of fabric at the seams. Anchor the material with U-shaped metal pins, then conceal it with 1 to 2 in. of mulch, such as stone or bark chips.

Left unattended, weeds will quickly fill in unplanted areas and any open ground around plants. Mulch spread over the soil surface blocks the sunlight most annual weeds need to take hold. Weeds that do sprout are easy to pull because soil beneath mulch remains loose and moist. Coarse chipped or shredded bark is a good choice for large areas between trees and shrubs because it decomposes slowly and doesn’t easily blow away. For paths, a thick layer of sawdust provides good weed suppression because it depletes nitrogen in the soil.

Controlling weeds is a fight you can’t win entirely because they always grow back. But you can keep weeds under control by depriving new ones of the conditions they need to take root in the first place. Let’s look at how to prevent weeds from growing.

Water Grass Infrequently and Deeply.

Weeds can’t survive without moisture. In areas with little or no summer rain, drip irrigation or soaker hoses help prevent weed seeds from sprouting by depriving them of water. These systems deliver water to the root zone of plants at the soil level. The soil surface and area surrounding the plants stays relatively dry. In contrast, overhead sprinkler systems spray water over the entire soil surface and supply both garden plants and weeds with water.

Tips on how to keep weeds out of the garden, add the right amount of mulch over weeds, and 6 mistakes to avoid to keep your garden weed-free.

Lee Valley Tools Ltd. Box 1780 Ogdensburg, NY 13669-6780 800/871-8158 Telescoping Crack Weeder.

Preemergence herbicides, such as those containing oryzalin or trifluralin (look on the label for these chemicals), or nontoxic corn gluten meal, kill weeds just as they germinate and will not eradicate established weeds. For a preemergence herbicide to be effective, you must apply it to soil cleared of visible weeds; also, you have to water most of these herbicides into the soil.

Denman & Co. 401 W. Chapman Ave. Orange, CA 92866 714/639-8106 Ball weeder.

In the process of trying to eliminate weeds, people often make mistakes that lead to more weeds. Here are the most common:

Think it’s an overstatement to call it the war against weeds? Here’s what you’re up against.

Smother Weeds with Mulch.

As with most types of prevention, discouraging weed seeds from sprouting requires some extra time now so you can save a lot of time later.

Photo by Saxon Holt.

Irrigation & Green Industry Network 916C N. Formosa Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046 www.igin.com 323/878-0318.

Check the label to determine if it is safe for use around the kinds of landscape plants you have and effective against the weeds normally present.

Spread Landscape fabric and cut it to fit around plants. Photo by Saxon Holt.

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(For those of you who already have weeds attacking your yard, read our article on How to Get Rid of Weeds.)

Mowing too low weakens turf by reducing the ability of a grass leaf to produce enough nutrients. It also lets light hit the soil surface, which helps crabgrass and goosegrass seeds sprout and grow. Check with your local extension service for the recommended range of mowing heights for your grass type. Then mow at the highest level—usually between 2 and 4 inches.

True Temper Hardware Box 8859 Camp Hill, PA 17011 800/393-1846 Scuffle hoe.

Any weeds that grow through mulch are easy to pull because the soil remains loose. Photo by Saxon Holt.

You can get in-depth information on drip irrigation from the Irrigation and Green Industry Network in the “Where to Find It” section.

This Preemergence herbicide, made from corn gluten, is nontoxic. You can safely use it near all of your vegetables as well as around ornamental plants. Photo by Saxon Holt.

Spread a layer of black plastic weed barrier over the planting area. If you already have plants growing in the area, cut holes in the black plastic to fit over them.

Overlap the strips of black plastic weed barrier so weeds can’t sneak their way through the edges of the material.

Weeds are the enemy of gardeners around the country. These pesky plants decrease the beauty of your yard and rob vital moisture and nutrients from your flowers, vegetables and lawn. Mulch helps minimize weeds but also retains more moisture and helps moderate the temperature of your soil. The trick to keeping weeds from growing through your mulch is to put a layer of weed barrier underneath.

Things You Will Need.

Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch over the entire surface of the black plastic weed barrier. Spread the mulch over the edges of the weed barrier so the black plastic doesn’t show.

Pull up any weeds that are already growing in the area you want to mulch. Use a trowel to help you remove the roots of the weeds, which will decrease how many try to grow back.

Use several layers of old newspaper in place of black plastic weed barrier if you want a more environmentally friendly way to reduce weed growth through your mulch. Lay the newspaper down and cover with a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch. You’ll have to replace the newspaper and mulch more often, however, because the newspaper will biodegrade over time. Fabric weed barriers are another option, though they aren’t always as effective as plastic in preventing weeds from growing.

Cut small “X” shapes into the weed barrier if you want to plant new plants in the area before laying the mulch. Dig a hole in each “X” shape and place one plant inside each hole.

Black plastic weed barrier.

Rake the area smooth and remove any old mulch, rocks or debris that could poke a hole in your weed barrier.

Don’t use clear plastic weed barriers because they aren’t as effective as black plastic. Clear plastic lets more sunlight in, which can encourage weed growth. Don’t use plastic weed barriers around trees and shrubs because it prevents their roots from getting adequate water.

Warning.