NGA Articles: Cultivating the Garden

Cultivating the Garden (cont)

By: National Gardening Association Editors

Cultivate Perennial Beds

Perennial flower gardens and shrubs also need periodic weeding. However, since you're not working the soil as much as you do with an annual bed -- which brings weed seeds to the soil surface to germinate -- perennial beds won't have as many weeds. Usually the biggest problem in more permanent plantings is perennial weeds, such as dandelions, burdocks, and quack grass. These weeds will need to be dug out, often by hand, removing as much of the root system as possible. Use a weeding and planting knife to remove these deep-rooted weeds. Mulching the area around shrubs and flowers after weeding will help prevent new weeds from germinating. Spread a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of shredded bark, pine straw, or bark chips with a draw hoe. Not only will this help prevent weed growth, the mulch will conserve soil moisture, make for less watering, and give the beds a neat and tidy look.

Cultivate the Lawn

Lawn weeds are commonly removed by applying herbicides. However, a safer and more long-term control is to create a healthy lawn where weeds can't get a foothold. Mow the lawn grass higher than normal, fertilize and water regularly, and remove dead grass to make your lawn an ocean of green grass. Use a lawn rake or scarifying rake in spring to clean out dead grass and aerate the lawn. Unless annually removed, dead grass can create a layer of thatch that inhibits the growth of the lawn.

Cultivate Paths

Paths made of stones, wood chips, brick, or other materials will also need yearly maintenance. Weeding your garden paths may seem like an odd concept, but often weeds will grow in between bricks on pathways or creep into paths from the garden beds. If not maintained, your garden path can turn into a weed patch. Hand pull individual weeds from mulch paths, maintain a clearly defined path with a lawn edger, and dig out individual weeds between pathway stones with a garden scraper.


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