How to block weeds and improve your garden

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BvilleBound

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Here is a tip to block weeds in your flower beds - and grow better plants!

The hill behind our house was a mass of weeds, nasty vines and grass. We hired a gardener to plant native, flowering plants that would attract butterflies and bees. He was an expert and picked good plants - but couldn't finish the job. He did give me some good tips, however.

(1) Rake back any mulch that's covering your flower beds, to expose the dirt.

(2) Install a sheet of Vigoro 'Heavy Duty' landscape fabric, with holes cut for existing plants - about 8" around the base of each plant. Make sure the Vigoro sheet is tucked tightly against any edging and the side of your house - because weeds will find any gaps. Overlap joints about 6". Here is a link to the product at Home Depot; all of the links below are for HD but Lowes and other stores carry these standard products.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Vigoro-...ndscape-Fabric-4-Pack-VPNM45085-4PK/316849216

(3) Make a ring from Vigoro black plastic edging, that matches the diameter of a hole for one of your plants. You will need heavy duty shears to cut it, or sheet metal snips. Overlap the joint by about 3", hold the ends tight together, then drive a 3/4" stainless steel screw into the outer layer - in the middle of the joint, about 3/4" up from the bottom. (With a battery powered driver-drill.) This will hold the ring together securely; the pieces cannot rotate because of the tabs on the bottom. See the photo below.

Then dig a 2" deep trench around the perimeter of your hole and plant, and place the ring in the trench. Rotate the ring to seat it down in the dirt, and position the overlap to the back. Note: If you have large plants with a narrow base, you may have to fasten the ring together after you circle it around the base. Then drive one Vigoro black nylon spike into one of the holes in the bottom tabs - at a 45 degree angle outward, away from the plant - and a second one on the opposite side.

Here are two photos; and links to the Vigoro edging and spikes below.

1720394410474.png

The spikes go through a hole in the bottom tab:
1720394488409.png

Vigoro plastic edging: There are two sizes; get the smaller one for plants. The larger one has a round edge at the top and is great to separate you flower bed from your lawn, or edge a walkway, etc.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Vigoro-...No-Dig-Edging-Tall-Wall-3221-60HD-3/322280215

Also pick up their matching black plastic spikes; you will need two per ring:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Vigoro-...andscape-Spike-24-Pack-1985-24HD-16/302766747

Why go to this effort with rings around every plant? (1) This extends your shield against weeds, (2) Creates a ring you can use to fertilize your plants, and (3) Creates an 'irrigation circle' around every plant so you can easily water the base. Did you know that you shouldn't water most plants by spraying water on them - which encourages fungus growth? Always fill the ring with water at the base, and try to keep the plant dry.

(4) Scatter Osmocote fertilizer on the soil ring around the plant. Osmocote is amazing stuff; it slowly releases through the season so only one application is needed, and it never 'burns' your plants. I even scatter it on our lawn at the beginning of the spring. Note: If you plant new annuals or perennials, also scatter Osmocote on the bottom of the hole before you place the plant. You've probably noticed that nursery plants often have a thick layer of roots at the bottom - because the plastic pots sit in a fertilized liquid solution at the grower, to boost growth and flowers. Scattering Osmocote at the bottom of the hole replaces this solution and feeds the roots.

Osmocote: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Osmocote-Smart-Release-8-lb-Indoor-and-Outdoor-Plant-Food-274850/204687709

(5) Fill the ring with pebbles. This blocks weeds around the plant, let's you easily scatter more Osmocote next year that will disappear into the pebbles so the birds won't eat it, and reduces the threat of fungus damaging your plants. Home Depot carries bags of pebbles too:

Pebbles: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwe...ping-Driveways-and-Walkways-02-0069/312665824

(6) Replace / place mulch to cover the landscape fabric and fill in around every ring.

Each of your plants should look like this when you're done. This area was completely filled with weeds last year; we didn't pull all of them, but simply cut them down and covered everything with the landscape fabric, which killed them:
1720394883716.png

I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thanks for posting this, BvilleBound! It'll prove helpful in the endless fight against weeds.

If I may be presumptuous and make a suggestion: For week blocking fabric, as much as I hate using had to recycle plastics, I go to the fabric store's end-of-bolt table and buy un-dyed polyester or nylon fabric. Last time I did this, I paid 50 cents per foot for 54" wide polyester sheer curtain material. It lasts forever. (Landscape fabric is also plastic based.)
Fortunately, our recycling company will take the plastic.

Unbleached cotton is much more earth-friendly, but only lasts a season. I use it on the planter boxes & areas that I'll dig up in spring.

Paul
 
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Thanks for posting this, BvilleBound! It'll prove helpful in the endless fight against weeds.

If I may be presumptuous and make a suggestion: For week blocking fabric, as much as I hate plastic, I go to the fabric store's end-of-bolt table and buy polyester or nylon fabric. Last time I did this, I paid 50 cents per foot for 54" wide polyester sheer curtain material. It lasts forever. (Landscape fabric is also plastic based.)

Unbleached cotton is much more earth-friendly, but only lasts a season. I use it on the planter boxes & areas that I'll dig up in spring.

Paul
Dear Paul: I agree that plain cotton is better - for locations that are changed every year. Poly fabric is definitely less costly than landscaping fabric; however, is more porous (for weed roots) and fragile. So if you can afford landscaping fabric, that's a better choice - vs dig-up-and-replace. If cost is an issue, your suggestion is a good option.
 

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