Gardening Wisdom from Mike Mc Groarty
It's spring, so the big question is what to do first?
Take a look at your perennials. Do they have a lot of
dead foliage on them still from last year? If so, cut it
or pull it off. Clean up all of last years growth so the
new growth will look clean and fresh.
Get rid of all the weeds in your gardens. Yeah, yeah,
I know, that's no fun, but if you get all of them out
now you can maintain a weed free garden all season long.
Well, almost weed free. Weed control is an all summer
task, but it shouldn't be difficult or overwhelming.
Most people fail at weed control because they never get
it completely under control. So here's what you do.
Start loosening the soil and removing all the existing
weeds. Then put down newspaper at least 8 pages thick
and cover that with about 2" of mulch. You can also
use brown paper grocery bags, they work great!
I don't like those weed barrier fabrics that you can
buy in the garden stores because . . . when I was in
the landscaping business I pulled out miles of that
stuff. Why did we pull it out? Because it was a
horrendous mess with weeds growing up through it!
You couldn't pull the weeds because they were all
tangled up in the so called weed barrier material.
That's why I like newspaper or paper bags. They go
away! And that's really important in your gardens.
Don't put things in there that won't go away.
Newspaper and mulch are biodegradable.
What about all the magic weed control products that you
can buy? Do they work? Yes they do. But most people
don't use them properly so they get really poor
results. Products like Preen and other pre-emergent
weed control products are just that, pre-emergent.
That means they only control weed seeds. Controlling
weed seeds is important, but if you don't have all of
the existing weeds and weed roots under control first
your pre-emergent weed control is doomed from the start.
So you have to completely clear out all of the existing
weeds from your gardens then apply the pre-emergent
weed control formulas. I still recommend the newspaper
because the pre-emergent weed controls will not control
weeds that come from roots left in the ground. The only
way to control the weed roots from growing is to starve
them of sunlight and you do that with newspaper and mulch.
If they can't get sunlight they cannot grow.
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