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How to Prevent Weeds From Growing in Xeriscapes

Weed control is always a hot topic for gardeners. Whether a Victorian garden or a xeriscape, the weeds just keep growing. Fortunately, there are a number of proactive methods of weed control that are relatively simple to implement by the home gardener. The easiest way to eliminate weeds is during the installation of the garden; however, these remedies are also applicable to an established xeriscape.

Plan the xeriscape around existing features to avoid disturbing the soil whenever possible. Digging up the entire garden encourages weeds to sprout in the freshly turned soil.

Sprinkle a pre-emergent weed control product onto the bare soil, per the package directions. If you are treating an existing landscape, rake back the mulch and apply the pre-emergent, then rake the mulch back over the soil.

Roll weed cloth over the soil before planting the xeriscape. Cut holes in the cloth for the plantings.

Add 3 to 4 inches of mulch to the xeriscape. While mulch does not eliminate weeds, it limits weed growth.

Install a drip watering system. Discourage the weed seeds from sprouting by applying water only to the roots of your desired plants.

Pull weeds by hand before they can go to seed. Weeds produce thousands of seeds. Removing them prevents reseeding into your xeriscape.

Apply a herbicide to the weeds. Cut the bottom out of a large coffee can. Set the coffee can over the weed, then spray into the can. This prevents the herbicide from drifting to your landscape plants. Do not pull the weed after spraying; leave it in place for a week, so the herbicide reaches the roots. When the weed is completely dead, pull it up by the roots.


Consult the local agricultural extension office for more information about weeds and appropriate weed treatment in your area.


Always follow package directions when you apply weed control products.

Do not use herbicides on a windy day. The mist may drift to your desired plants.

Pre-emergent products may prevent desired seeds from sprouting. Do not use pre-emergent herbicides in naturalized landscapes where you are scattering seeds, especially native species.

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