It’s almost 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. Buy weed in new York 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 potions 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.