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Mulch for weed control

Landscaping with mulch around the house often involves a number of considerations.  One of the most important is weed control and not having to spend a lot of time keeping up with it. One of the most unsightly things around the house can be a mowed lawn surrounded by weeds. A well prepared and installed stone or bark mulch application can keep the need for weed control to a minimum. It can also make mowing easier around trees and plantings.

New bedding areas should be prepared prior to mulching. It is not a good idea to count on the mulch to kill and control what is already present if there is currently vegetation where you are going to be creating a decorative and effective mulch bed.  By fully eliminating all growth you will prevent work and maintenance in your landscaping for some time to come. Most times a project comes up and you want to get it done so tilling or hoeing the area to mechanically remove all growth is the usual means. If there is time to plan ahead and wait for a weed killer to work it would save the effort to mechanically clean out all vegetation. Based on the time frame available make sure you do one of the above steps to get all established growth out of the area.

Mulching controls weeds from getting started in the landscaping by depriving the weeds with what they need to grow. They need nutrition, a suitable growing medium, water, sunlight, and to prosper. Of these three key survival needs, the easiest one to control is the sunlight. Applying the mulch deep enough is the first way to prevent weed growth. In addition to this some people install a weed prevention fabric before the mulch.  With an ever-increasing interest in recycling a great use of newspaper is to put that down from 5-10 sheets thick as an added barrier to sunlight germinating the seed. This will break down over time and help the organic soil content. Check our mulch calculator to see how much mulch you may need.  If you use a large chunk type of bark mulch you should go deeper so you do not loose the affect of blocking sunlight to the soil.

Black plastic

Using black plastic under mulch to create a weed control barrio can be very effective but has some other things to consider. If the ground is slopped the mulch may wash off with a heavy storm. The plastic will not normally degrade so if something changes it will have to be removed. 

  Pre-emergent weed killer

 Depending on your feelings on weed killers an additional step can be to apply a Pre-emergent weed killer that acts on the young seedlings as soon as they sprout. They distort the plants ability to grow and or it’s metabolic process.

Application of the mulch

When the area to be mulched is ready apply the mulch as soon as possible. Leaving the landscaping tilled and exposed to the sun provides the available seeds a chance to germinate.  Tests have shown that 4” of wood mulch is very effective in controlling weeds over time. Do it right and you will be able to enjoy a decorative area of your landscaping that will remain weed free for some time to come.

Maintenance or the landscaping area that is mulched can be to add more over time as maintenance as the lowest part of the chips tends to degrade. Additionally adding a pre-emergent weed killer can supplement the weed control affect of the mulch.  If you are more inclined to staying all organic just keep up with replacing the mulch as needed and an occasional spot weeding of the mulched beds.

An envirementaly safe way to maintain mulched beds is to use vinegar on new growth if it starts to get established. Young growth weeds are more susceptible to weed control than  established well rooted plants. Vinegare with a high acid content can be effective click here for more information.

Enjoy a weed free year with a properly installed and mulch planting area. A little more effort up front can result in a nice looking mulched, manicured property that is pleasing to the eye and the environment



News Flash

Rooted in royalty, organic gardening blossoms

Excerpt below;
“Organic gardeners prize a healthy, interwoven ecosystem. They enrich the soil with compost and other organic matter instead of synthetic fertilizers. They control weeds the old-fashioned way - with mulch and elbow grease - and consider most insects good guys, not "pests" to be nuked.”
Original article

Will that vegetable garden save the Obamas money? 


Peter Grier of the Monitor’s Washington Bureau speculates that one of the goals of the much-publicized White House kitchen garden is to save the first family money on its grocery bills. If so, they’re part of a growing trend. The ranks of those growing their own veggies have increased by 20 to 30 percent over the past two years.

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