Many flowerbeds, especially when they are new, contain plants dotted within an area of prepared bare soil. This is a rather unnatural situation, normally areas of good soil are rapidly colonised by surrounding plants and emerging seeds. In our gardens we try to prevent the natural colonisation of the bare soil to provide space for the things we have planted, and so the plants don’t have competition for space, light, water, and nutrients.
Once the desirable plants are established, they may occupy and cover all the soil, so that no bare soil remains for weeds to establish and compete with them. However, this can take years of growth, or you may prefer the specimen plant look. In either case you will be faced the ongoing task of preventing unwanted plants (weeds) colonising the spaces between your desirable plants.
How to Keep Your Flowerbeds Clear of Weeds
Prevention is Better than Cure
Take the time to make sure you clear all the weeds, including their roots from the flowerbed when you are preparing it for planting. Dig over the soil of your empty bed and remove all root fragments. A garden sieve will help filter out the roots and will also improve the tilth of the soil.
Some safe organic herbicides like Weed Weapon Natural Power are registered for use in fruit and vegetable plots. It can also be used in flowerbeds and can be used to kill young weeds that might emerge from any seeds in the soil; after clearing the soil and sieving, leave the bed for 2-3 weeks and wait to see what seeds germinate. Spray the seedlings with the Natural Power. Such fatty acid type herbicides do not affect the soil or the plants you will be planting.
For more established weeds use rapidly effective Weed Weapon Extra Strength or Rapid Action. These will also not leave any residual effect in the soil, and planting can be done immediately after the weeds are dead.
Suppressing Weeds with Mulch
A thick layer (5-10 cm) of well-rotted compost or other organic material can help suppress weeds. Make sure the material is not a potential source of weeds seeds or fragments. A mulch layer can be very efficient around more mature plants, but it might make planting seeds or seedlings difficult, as a trench will need to be made in the mulch to expose the soil below for the young plants.
Preventing Weed Growth
Kiwicare Weed Weapon Preventer is a granular pre-emergent herbicide that stops weeds emerging in your flowerbeds for up to 3 months. It can be sprinkled on the soil around mature plants without harming them. The herbicides are active on shoots emerging in the soil, and not on the roots of existing plants or of those mature plants that might be planted.
It is particularly effective applied below a layer of weed suppressing mulch.
Regularly Tend Your Flowerbeds
Weeds are always easiest to get rid of when they are immature. Young weeds can be manually removed with ease.
Herbicides like Weed Weapon Extra Strength, Rapid Action and Natural Power can be used to carefully spray the weeds, but care must be taken to apply in such a way that the herbicide will not drift onto the desirable plants.
If the Weeds Get Out of Hand
Perhaps you have gone away on holiday for 2-3 weeks, and on your return the rapid growth of weeds has taken over your flowerbeds. If the weeds have developed large roots, manual removal may be more difficult, and it may damage the desirable plants. Identify the weeds with our problem solver and then determine the best solution for safe removal.
Keeping weeds out of your flowerbeds will help you ensure your plants will have all the nutrients, water, light, and space they need. And pests and disease will not be hiding in the weeds ready to infest or infect your plants.