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Old 21-06-2004, 09:02 PM
Jay Chan
 
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Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

I see that home center sells some chemical weed killers that are
supposed to be used in a flower garden. Are they good? Can I safely
use those chemicals around plants that I have planted in the garden? I
don't hear much about this type of product. Seem like I hear mostly
about similar products that we use in lawn, but not in a garden.

I would like to find a way to keep weeds out of my flower garden in
order to reduce the never ending task of pulling weeds out from the
garden.

Thanks.

Jay Chan

----------------------------------------------------------
The following is the reason why I want to use weeds killer instead of
mulch. This is not directly related to this post. But I mention the
reason here just in case someone wonders why I don't use mulch.
----------------------------------------------------------

I know I could have put mulch to suppress weeds and to ease the task
of pulling out weeds. In the first year after I put mulch in the
flower garden, I found that the mulch really helped me to reduce weeds
in my flower garden. But a couple years later, the mulch is pretty
much rotted and decomposed to be similar to soil. This means it no
longer functions as mulch.

If I keep adding mulch, I will do more harm than good. The reason is
that the flower garden is a rised bed around the house foundation.
There is only 8" clearance between the mulch and the wooden structure
of my house. I am afraid that putting more mulch will reduce the
clearance to a point that I will invite termites into my house.
Actually, I may decide to remove the existing mulch from around the
foundation garden just to increase the clearance between the wooden
structure from the soil.

And I really don't like to use inorganic mulch (such as stones) in
areas where I will be actively doing planting every year.

I guess the other alternative is to replace the existing mulch with
new mulch, and do this every two years or so. This sounds like a lot
of work though; I probably prefer hand pulling weeds than replacing
the mulch.

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Old 21-06-2004, 10:04 PM
Sunflower
 
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Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

Mulch. You are not going to get a huge buildup as it breaks down over time.
Every 5-7 years, you can remove the top layer, but you are not going to get
a huge buildup by adding mulch annually.


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Old 21-06-2004, 10:04 PM
Sunflower
 
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Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

Mulch. You are not going to get a huge buildup as it breaks down over time.
Every 5-7 years, you can remove the top layer, but you are not going to get
a huge buildup by adding mulch annually.


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Old 22-06-2004, 12:03 AM
Warren
 
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Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

Jay Chan wrote:

I know I could have put mulch to suppress weeds and to ease the task
of pulling out weeds. In the first year after I put mulch in the
flower garden, I found that the mulch really helped me to reduce weeds
in my flower garden. But a couple years later, the mulch is pretty
much rotted and decomposed to be similar to soil. This means it no
longer functions as mulch.

If I keep adding mulch, I will do more harm than good. The reason is
that the flower garden is a rised bed around the house foundation.
There is only 8" clearance between the mulch and the wooden structure
of my house. I am afraid that putting more mulch will reduce the
clearance to a point that I will invite termites into my house.


Unless your raised bed around the house is sitting on a slab of
concrete, the soil and mulch will settle over time, and by the time the
mulch "no longer functions as mulch", you'll probably have enough
settling that you'll be able to put new mulch right on top.

You could also use a stone or gravel mulch right next to the house --
like the first 6-12" from the foundation, and start the organic mulch
away from the house. You shouldn't be planting that close to the house,
and you can probably find a stone that goes well with your organic
mulch. For example, red lava rock would work well in the back of a bed
mulched with a red or brown bark mulch.

--
Warren H.

==========
Disclaimer: My views reflect those of myself, and not my
employer, my friends, nor (as she often tells me) my wife.
Any resemblance to the views of anybody living or dead is
coincidental. No animals were hurt in the writing of this
response -- unless you count my dog who desperately wants
to go outside now.
Blatant Plug: Spend your Amazon gift certificates he
http://www.holzemville.com/mall/associateshop.html



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Old 22-06-2004, 04:02 AM
Bob S.
 
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Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

"Sunflower" wrote in message . ..
Mulch. You are not going to get a huge buildup as it breaks down over time.
Every 5-7 years, you can remove the top layer, but you are not going to get
a huge buildup by adding mulch annually.


Why do you suppose archeological finds are usually under 10-15 feet of
soil? They don't sink, they get covered up with mulched plant
material.


  #6   Report Post  
Old 22-06-2004, 06:03 PM
Jay Chan
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

Unless your raised bed around the house is sitting on a slab of
concrete, the soil and mulch will settle over time, and by the time the
mulch "no longer functions as mulch", you'll probably have enough
settling that you'll be able to put new mulch right on top.


You are right to say that the mulch will settle. The mulch in my
garden probably has settled by half of the original thickness after
three years. I probably can put in one more inch of mulch over the
existing mulch without reducing the clearance around the house
foundation by too much.

Thanks for pointing this out.

You could also use a stone or gravel mulch right next to the house --
like the first 6-12" from the foundation, and start the organic mulch
away from the house.


I have thought of that. But I have a feeling that the organic mulch
will spill over to the inorganic mulch and I will have a hard time
cleaning the mix of organic mulch and inorganic mulch. This is one of
the reason why I don't like to use inorganic mulch.

Seem like no one suggests using weed killer. Oh well...

Jay Chan
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Old 22-06-2004, 11:04 PM
Salty Thumb
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

(Jay Chan) wrote in
om:

I see that home center sells some chemical weed killers that are
supposed to be used in a flower garden. Are they good? Can I safely
use those chemicals around plants that I have planted in the garden? I
don't hear much about this type of product. Seem like I hear mostly
about similar products that we use in lawn, but not in a garden.

I would like to find a way to keep weeds out of my flower garden in
order to reduce the never ending task of pulling weeds out from the
garden.

Thanks.

Jay Chan

----------------------------------------------------------
The following is the reason why I want to use weeds killer instead of
mulch. This is not directly related to this post. But I mention the
reason here just in case someone wonders why I don't use mulch.
----------------------------------------------------------

I know I could have put mulch to suppress weeds and to ease the task
of pulling out weeds. In the first year after I put mulch in the
flower garden, I found that the mulch really helped me to reduce weeds
in my flower garden. But a couple years later, the mulch is pretty
much rotted and decomposed to be similar to soil. This means it no
longer functions as mulch.

If I keep adding mulch, I will do more harm than good. The reason is
that the flower garden is a rised bed around the house foundation.
There is only 8" clearance between the mulch and the wooden structure
of my house. I am afraid that putting more mulch will reduce the
clearance to a point that I will invite termites into my house.
Actually, I may decide to remove the existing mulch from around the
foundation garden just to increase the clearance between the wooden
structure from the soil.

And I really don't like to use inorganic mulch (such as stones) in
areas where I will be actively doing planting every year.

I guess the other alternative is to replace the existing mulch with
new mulch, and do this every two years or so. This sounds like a lot
of work though; I probably prefer hand pulling weeds than replacing
the mulch.


Try landscape fabric. It blocks a lot of weeds and makes pulling the
others easier. However, manufacturers recommend you cover the fabric
with X inches (cm) of mulch.

As for using herbicides, I never had to do it, so I don't know. (Have
had landscape fabric installed 2-3 years now).
  #8   Report Post  
Old 25-06-2004, 07:02 PM
Jay Chan
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

Try landscape fabric. It blocks a lot of weeds and makes pulling the
others easier. However, manufacturers recommend you cover the fabric
with X inches (cm) of mulch.

As for using herbicides, I never had to do it, so I don't know. (Have
had landscape fabric installed 2-3 years now).


Actually, I had already had landscape fabric installed before I put
mulch. As I said, it helps in the first one or two years. Now, four
years later, I find that the following things makes it increasing less
effective in blocking weeds:

- I like to plant new stuffs (such as annuals). Therefore, I keep
digging through the landscape fabrics; this not only making holes on
the landscape fabrics, but also causing soil to be spreaded on top of
the mulch and got all mixed together.

- As mentioned previously, the mulch has decomposed significantly and
become more like soil than mulch.

Moreover, I become less and less like to use landscape fabrics (and
mulch) because it prevents me from easily adding fertilizer or other
goodies directly to the soil. Seem like the only way to add fertilizer
is using liquid fertilizer.

Thanks.

Jay Chan
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Old 25-06-2004, 07:04 PM
Doug Kanter
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?


"Jay Chan" wrote in message
om...
Try landscape fabric. It blocks a lot of weeds and makes pulling the
others easier. However, manufacturers recommend you cover the fabric
with X inches (cm) of mulch.

As for using herbicides, I never had to do it, so I don't know. (Have
had landscape fabric installed 2-3 years now).


Actually, I had already had landscape fabric installed before I put
mulch. As I said, it helps in the first one or two years. Now, four
years later, I find that the following things makes it increasing less
effective in blocking weeds:

- I like to plant new stuffs (such as annuals). Therefore, I keep
digging through the landscape fabrics; this not only making holes on
the landscape fabrics, but also causing soil to be spreaded on top of
the mulch and got all mixed together.

- As mentioned previously, the mulch has decomposed significantly and
become more like soil than mulch.

Moreover, I become less and less like to use landscape fabrics (and
mulch) because it prevents me from easily adding fertilizer or other
goodies directly to the soil. Seem like the only way to add fertilizer
is using liquid fertilizer.

Thanks.

Jay Chan


Your last paragraph is exactly right. Gimmicks get in the way eventually.
So:

Get yourself a good weeding tool that allows you to do the job WITHOUT
KNEELING. With the right tool, it's effortless. And, weeding slows you down
long enough to notice things happening (good or bad) in the garden. The
trick is to make the whole thing easy.

www.smithandhawken.com
Go to tools, digging and cultivation. Check out the Precision Weeder hand
tool (for on-the-knees weeding - an AMAZING tool), and the Long-Handled
Weeder. I've been using these two tools for years. Not only do they take
care of weeding, but they also fluff the upper layer of soil slightly, which
helps it retain moisture. Keep a sharpening stone in the garage to touch up
the blades when necessary.

No experience with this one, but a friend swears by it:
Cape cod weeder:
www.seedsofchange.com
Go to the tools section, and then to the Digging and Cultivating section.


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Old 26-06-2004, 05:03 AM
nswong
 
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Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

"Jay Chan" wrote in message
om...

Moreover, I become less and less like to use landscape fabrics (and
mulch) because it prevents me from easily adding fertilizer or other
goodies directly to the soil. Seem like the only way to add

fertilizer
is using liquid fertilizer.


If you using mulch and without landscape fabrics, adding fertilizer in
the mulch are better than add it to soil. I read some articles about
this before, but sorry had forgot the details.

I prefer to add fertilizer to my compost than soil or mulch, it will
buffer up the nutrient and mix up better in the compost.

Regards,
Wong

--
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m




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Old 26-06-2004, 11:02 AM
Salty Thumb
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

(Jay Chan) wrote in
om:

Try landscape fabric. It blocks a lot of weeds and makes pulling the
others easier. However, manufacturers recommend you cover the
fabric with X inches (cm) of mulch.

As for using herbicides, I never had to do it, so I don't know.
(Have had landscape fabric installed 2-3 years now).


Actually, I had already had landscape fabric installed before I put
mulch. As I said, it helps in the first one or two years. Now, four
years later, I find that the following things makes it increasing less
effective in blocking weeds:


- I like to plant new stuffs (such as annuals). Therefore, I keep
digging through the landscape fabrics; this not only making holes on
the landscape fabrics, but also causing soil to be spreaded on top of
the mulch and got all mixed together.


When I add something (which is rare) I usually just make a slit with a
razor or if it's big, I cut a V shape or similar, leaving part of the
fabric attached. (I think instructions recommend an X shape.) Bulbs
don't seem to have a problem pushing the flap and mulch aside to grow
through the opening. I do get a some soil on the fabric, but I usually
leave it unless it's big pile, then I just scoop it up, push it back into
an opening or throw it in the lawn.

If you've got too many open holes to patch, you should probably just
throw the fabric out, even though it should last 15 years. Especially
if you perpetually find yourself with more plants than openings.

- As mentioned previously, the mulch has decomposed significantly and
become more like soil than mulch.


I'm using large pine bark nuggets and haven't noticed a problem with
that. What kind of mulch are you using?

Moreover, I become less and less like to use landscape fabrics (and
mulch) because it prevents me from easily adding fertilizer or other
goodies directly to the soil. Seem like the only way to add fertilizer
is using liquid fertilizer.


I don't add stuff to my flower bed, but I guess you could make more flaps
next to your plants and stick stuff in a pile under them. If you're
feeling the need to mix things in, well that's another story.
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Old 26-06-2004, 11:03 AM
Salty Thumb
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

"Doug Kanter" wrote in
:

Moreover, I become less and less like to use landscape fabrics (and
mulch) because it prevents me from easily adding fertilizer or other
goodies directly to the soil. Seem like the only way to add
fertilizer is using liquid fertilizer.

Thanks.

Jay Chan


Your last paragraph is exactly right. Gimmicks get in the way
eventually. So:

Get yourself a good weeding tool that allows you to do the job WITHOUT
KNEELING. With the right tool, it's effortless. And, weeding slows you
down long enough to notice things happening (good or bad) in the
garden. The trick is to make the whole thing easy.


The other day, I weeded my flower beds, which consisted of bending over
to pull a total of 4 weeds with my bare hand (no glove even). The weeds
were reasonably sized, 3-5" across but had the root systems of a 2 day
old pansy.

  #13   Report Post  
Old 28-06-2004, 04:02 PM
Jay Chan
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

I'm using large pine bark nuggets and haven't noticed a problem with
that. What kind of mulch are you using?


I use shredded cedar chips mulch. Seem like large nuggets that you use
work better than shredder chips because they last longer. I even found
two groups of termintes in the shredder cedar chips after I had put
them in the flower garden for just two years. This is one of the
reason why I want to remove the mulch (but I keep delaying doing this
for one thing or the others). I probably need to remove them and put
them in a compost pile (that I should have done one year ago).

Do you think termintes will bother large pine bark nuggets? How long
do you think the large nuggets will remain effective in keeping
termintes out?

I don't add stuff to my flower bed, but I guess you could make more flaps
next to your plants and stick stuff in a pile under them. If you're
feeling the need to mix things in, well that's another story.


Sooner or later, you will need to put amendment to the soil, right?
How do you get away from doing this?

Jay Chan
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Old 28-06-2004, 05:02 PM
Jay Chan
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

If you using mulch and without landscape fabrics, adding fertilizer in
the mulch are better than add it to soil. I read some articles about
this before, but sorry had forgot the details.


Why will this work? Does this have something to do with the mulch may
absorb the liquid fertilizer and slowly release it, or something like
that?

I prefer to add fertilizer to my compost than soil or mulch, it will
buffer up the nutrient and mix up better in the compost.


I heard that we need to add fertilizer or blood meal into compost pile
because the composting process uses a lot of nitrogen or something
like that. Is this one of the reason why you add fertilizer into your
compost pile? In fact, I have already been doing this.

The problem is that there is no easy way to get the compost into the
soil without removing the mulch and the landscape fabric. So far, I
can only use my compost into the vegetable garden. But I cannot use it
in my flower garden near the house foundation because it is covered
with mulch and landscape fabric. So I end up dumping all the remaining
finished compost into the vegetable garden, and I have to use liquid
fertilizer onto the flower garden. Well, at least, the green peppers
are doing well (and they taste great too).

Jay Chan
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Old 28-06-2004, 08:05 PM
nswong
 
Posts: n/a
Default Use Weeds Killer to Keep Weeds Out of My Flower Garden?

Hi Jay Chan,

As a guy work by project basic in software development, I got a habit
to scan through all the available information, pinpoint and go into
the detail what are applicable to the project, but ignore all the rest
that is not relevant.

Since I will not supplement nutrients by top dressing, so I donot try
to memorize or keep notes on this. What I recalled may not be
reliable.

My English vocabulary are computer line oriented, I know very little
about English in other field. So I may use wrong words.

Sorry about this. :-(

If you using mulch and without landscape fabrics, adding

fertilizer in
the mulch are better than add it to soil. I read some articles

about
this before, but sorry had forgot the details.


Why will this work? Does this have something to do with the mulch

may
absorb the liquid fertilizer and slowly release it, or something

like
that?


For what I know, nutrient availability are mainly affect by two
factor:
1. Lost by leaching, erosion(with soil), volatilization(nitrogen)...
2. Fixation/bind with other nitrient.

Mulch and the life form(fungus, insect...) in it will hold the
nutrient from fertilizer(reduce the nutrient lost), and slowly release
it(reduce nutrient binding).

I prefer to add fertilizer to my compost than soil or mulch, it

will
buffer up the nutrient and mix up better in the compost.


I heard that we need to add fertilizer or blood meal into compost

pile
because the composting process uses a lot of nitrogen or something
like that. Is this one of the reason why you add fertilizer into

your
compost pile? In fact, I have already been doing this.


What I try to say are, if the nutrient from material that make up the
compost are not enough to supply what plant needed, we can either add
the fertilizer(synthetic/organic) to soil/mulch or compost heap.

Add fertilizer to soil may cause lost and bindup. Add to mulch, it
will not distribute evenly, and will cause mulch decompose faster if
it contain nitrogen(mulch suppose to be long lasting). Add to compost
heap, it will mixed up nicely by man(turning the compost) or other
life form(moving/carry around).

The problem is that there is no easy way to get the compost into the
soil without removing the mulch and the landscape fabric.


You can top dress the compost/fertilizer on the mulch, the nutrient
release will bring down to plant root by rain water in liquid
form. But somehow this will also encourage weed grow on top of your
landscape fabric.

I donot and will not use landscape fabric. I do adding new mulch on
top of old mulch to maintain the thickness of mulch.

HTH,
Wong

--
Latitude: 06.10N Longitude: 102.17E Altitude: 5m




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