Weeding and Mulching

Spring has definitely sprung.  Warmer day and cool nights. Lots of rain. Lots to do. Weeding and Mulching.  Let’s get our gardens ready for Summer!

Weeding

As there has been rain, weeding is not too hard. Hand weeding is a must. It takes longer but it is much more beneficial to the soil and environment. Even if you think you spot spray the plant, there is always residual spray. When weeding, remember to remove all roots and bulbs. Many people will just pick the tops off which is just a waste of time. Use a weeding implement (there are many tools out there.  It comes down to comfort and preference) to ensure all bulbs and roots are eradicated.

As the above photos show, roots can be varying lengths.  This is why using a tool of some sort is advantageous.

Some examples of weeding tools:

Mulching

Another way to help with weed suppression is mulching.  There are many types of mulches: inorganic – such as plastic, gravel, landscape fabric; Organic mulches such as shredded bark, compost, straw, pine or cedar bark chips, stones or river rock and living mulches, such as plants. There is a plethora of information out there for both inorganic or organic mulches.  Again, it will come down to preference.

Some things to keep in mind. If using inorganic materials, this can sometimes kill everything including plants that may have been overlooked, as in perennial bulbs and other “mislaid” plants. Small stones can also be very messy.  They can be raked but it can be time consuming and the pebbles can get everywhere.

Straw can also be messy.  Birds like to peck at it.  If using pea straw, peas will grow, which can be a source of nitrogen, however, peas sprouting up in your perennial beds may not be the look you’re after.  If using small particle mulches, this can break down too quickly.  And, if it is spread to thickly, it can form fungal diseases in the soil.

Mulching helps suppress weeds plus keeps moisture in. Remember not to put too much mulch around the existing plants as this may suffocate them or promote fungal disease. Choose your mulch properly. Sometimes it’s good to get a combination mulch and compost which adds nutrients to the soil as well. Or use an organic mulch.  Large particle mulch will last longer. Don’t choose coloured mulch as it holds not nutrients and it will fade. It’s also not good for the environment.

Depending on why you want to mulch, sometimes, it can also be beneficial to plant a ground cover.  Some of note are the following:

  • Dichondra repens  – A good lawn alternative also
  • Campanula – Bell flower
  • Erigeron glaucus – Seaside Daisy
  • Viola hederacea – Native Violet
  • Carpoborotus rossi – Native pigface
  • Brachycome multifida – Rock Daisy
  • Eremophila ‘Kalbarii Carpet’
  • Xerochrysum bracteatum – paper daisy
  • Geranium ‘Brookside’ – Cranesbill
  • Stachys byzantine – Lambs Ears

 

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