How to Prevent Weeds From Growing Through Your Mulch
Landscaping your yard can be a challenging, but rewarding achievement. It takes hard work and patience to clear the area and put in the plants of your choosing. After all that hard work, weeds are one of the last things you want to see sprouting through your beautiful landscaping.
Not only do weeds steal nutrients from the soil that your other plants depend on, but they also take away from the overall appeal. Although these weeds seem relentless, there are preventative measures to minimize the chances of their growth.
Get Rid of Existing Weeds
The first step to having a great landscape is to clear the area of existing weeds. Weeds can be manually pulled out of the ground, but make sure to take out the roots while doing so. Consider pulling weeds after it rains. After it has rained, the ground will be softer and you can have an easier time getting the roots out.
You can also use a glyphosate product, such as Roundup, to kill undesired weeds; however, be careful with how you use it to prevent it from spreading to your plants. Vinegar is a cheaper, eco-friendly alternative to glyphosate products. Vinegar does not kill all weeds, but it works best on younger plants.
If you try any of these methods, keep in mind that they will only be effective if they reach the roots of the weeds. This process usually takes a few days, and you may be better pulling them out by hand.
Prevent the Growth of Weeds
Once you have cleared the area of pre-existing weeds, you can move on to the prevention stage. Weed growth prevention is important to slow or stop the growth, which will help protect your landscaping for a longer period of time. Preventative techniques include physical barriers and pre-emergent products.
These physical barriers can be layers of plastic, paper, or cloth that lie between the soil and mulch. When choosing a barrier, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you being environmentally conscious?
- Do you have a long-lasting barrier?
- Do you need more airflow for your soil?
- Does your soil have easy access to water?
While plastic barriers work quickly to kill the weeds in the ground, it has other risks for long-term use with your landscaping. Due to plastic’s lack of permeability, you need to make sure that your plants are getting enough water through the soil. This could be done through drip irrigation, which provides water directly to the desired plants.
One inexpensive way to create a barrier is to use old newspapers. Although the newspaper will break down faster, it is also a more eco-friendly option.
If you choose a physical barrier, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Pull up all of the visible weeds.
- Remove any debris that would be able to pierce through the barrier, such as rocks and sticks.
- Place the barrier down, and secure it in place with pins or heavy rocks.
Pre-emergent products are another form of barrier. While glyphosate products work from the surface of the plant, down to the roots to kill existing weeds, pre-emergent products work in the soil and prevent the seeds from germinating.
Using Mulch to Stop Weed Growth
With or without a barrier, using mulch correctly will help decrease weed growth. By covering the ground in 2-4 inches of mulch, weeds will not have sun exposure. The better you are at maintaining that same depth of mulch, the better you will be at preventing weeds from growing through.
When searching for the right mulch, choose a reputable supplier of quality mulch to make sure seeds are not hidden throughout it. If you need help choosing the right mulch, check out our mulch recommendations.