Perennials are plants and flowers that grow back each spring without having to be replanted. They add lush foliage in the spring and fall, and carry bright and delicate colors over the middle of the growing season. Keep your perennials healthy and strong by maintaining a weed-free flower bed with a barrier or mat beneath the soil.
Benefits of Weed Mats
Start your flower bed right by removing all weeds before laying a weed mat down on the soil. Remove all weeds and weed parts that you can see; weed seeds can lay dormant for a long time before developing beneath the ground and can grow from a piece of root, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, so take out every piece that you lay eyes on.
Perennials require sufficient nutrients, water and space to grow well. When weeds clutter the soil and take away water and room that the perennial roots must have to grow, your perennials can become weak and possibly die out. Weeding the garden bed is the best way to prevent the problems weeds may cause, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Program. Most gardeners realize that weeding a flower bed takes up precious time and requires constant maintenance over the entire growing season. The use of weed mats can keep weeds from taking hold, greatly shortening your gardening time while keeping your perennials healthy.
Types of Weed Mats
Weed mats come in a variety of materials including plastic, rubber and organic. Organic weed mats are beneficial because they do not add chemicals or harmful materials into the ground around your plants. Some weed mats are even biodegradable, using recycled waste paper as a mulch mat. In addition to warding off weeds, this biodegradable design can keep moisture within the soil and help maintain soil temperatures, according to Gardener's Supply Company.
Planting with Weed Mats
Once the weeds have been removed from the soil, place the weed mat down onto the flower bed. Cut the weed mat with scissors until it fits the border of the garden loosely; the mat will shrink slightly from the heat of the sun. Secure the mat with garden stakes while allowing a small space between the ground and the mat for air circulation. Cut out a small circle for each perennial to fit through.
You may also place a weed mat onto a new flower bed and let it kill off overbearing weeds like crab grass by starving them of nutrients. After a period of at least two to four months, remove the mat from the soil and till the garden bed. Rake out all bits of dead weed and then dig holes for your new perennial plants. Place a new weed mat down on the soil and cut small holes in the mat over the spots where the ground holes are located. Plant your new perennials through the small holes in the weed mat material. Stake down the mat after the plants are in the ground to allow for measurement errors. Water and feed your perennials as needed.