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Flower Gardens & Weeds

By Nannette Richford ; Updated September 21, 2017
Flowerbeds add beauty to your yard.

Weeds are noxious little plants that grow so profusely in your garden, you wish they were the plant you are trying to cultivate. Not only are they invasive, they grow rampant in any weather, robbing your flowers of nutrients and moisture. Keeping them in control is a never-ending battle, but it can be won.

Definition

Dandelions are invasive.

Weeds are defined as any plant that grows in an area where you do not want it to. Plants that may be grown for ornamental or medicinal reasons in one garden, like dandelions and nettles, may be considered a dreaded weed in another. Defining a weed becomes difficult at best and downright impossible at its worst.

Weed Barriers

Use mulch as a barrier to weeds.

Weed barriers are one of the easiest ways to control weeds. Mulch or landscape fabric provides an excellent barrier for most weeds; some, like burdock or other large invasive weeds, push their way through mulch with ease.

Herbicides

Herbicides kill all plants, not just weeds.

Herbicides are an effective means of controlling weeds but should be used with caution, because they kill flowers as well as weeds. Once the flower garden is established, it is difficult to use herbicides without damaging the plants you want. Spot herbicides can be used selectively to rid your flowerbed of offending weeds.

Cultivation

Cultivate the soil to prevent weeds.

Cultivating the soil around flowers with a sharp hoe or hand tiller uproots young weeds before they threaten the health and beauty of your flowerbed, but it requires care not to disturb the roots of your flowers. Dispose of weeds promptly; many will simply reroot and continue to grow if left in the soil.

Removing the Root

Pull weeds with large roots in fall or early spring.

Some weeds, like burdock, milkweed and dandelion, are perennials with thick roots that extend deep into the ground. To eradicate these weeds, the root must be removed. Although difficult to do during the growing season, once foliage has died back in the fall, these can often be pulled from the soil, removing the offending root. If they resist your efforts, wait until early spring before new growth appears and pull them free. Soft moist soil makes the job easier.

Weed Seeds

Weeds that go to seed reproduce quickly.

Weeds grow quickly and produce seeds shortly after blooming. Many, like dandelions, spread their seeds to other areas of the garden, resulting in hundreds of new weeds. Removing weeds before they have the opportunity to go to seed and reproduce is vital to a weed-free flowerbed.

 

About the Author

 

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.