How to Effectively Kill Weeds in Flower Beds

Unwanted plants and weeds can ruin your garden no matter how beautiful they are. When weeds pop up in your flower beds, they can steal water and nutrients. They have to go so that your flowering plants can be healthier and happier. You can hire trusted local landscapers or simply go down the DIY route. 

Pulling them by hand is an old-fashioned way to eliminate them. However, you can get blistered hands and aching backs after a manual weed removal. The good news is that there are a lot of tricks for killing weeds in flower beds. With the right tools and techniques, you can go after weeds while still protecting your flowers.

Consider these methods for beating weeds and prevent them from growing in the first place:

Start Early

The trick to quickly eliminate these invaders is being proactive. Remove weeds as soon as you see them. As they grow, they become bigger and harder to deal with. Make sure you get rid of them before they flower and go to seed. Young weeds have small roots, so you have less work in pulling them off the ground. If the weeds have matured enough to flower, use a grass catcher and destroy the clippings.

Use a Weed Barrier

A weed barrier is a geotextile with a meshed texture that looks like burlap. This landscape fabric is commonly used to reduce the amount of weed infiltration by blocking sunlight. Made of biodegradable materials, weed barriers can still allow water, fertilizer, and oxygen to filter through to the plant.

Before planting your garden, lay down weed barriers in your flower beds to stop weeds in their tracks. Most ready-made weed barriers can be laid easily by following the manufacturer’s instructions. You may also use strips of black plastic or cardboard as alternatives.

Apply Mulch

Even if you’ve removed weeds out of your garden, they can grow again without you noticing. In fact, they can grow 2–3 inches in 24 hours with the right set of circumstances. You can keep them from coming back with a 3-inch layer of mulch. Pine needles, straw, wood chips, and bark dust can block sunlight and suppress weed growth.

Mulch is most effective when applied on top of weed barrier cloth. You can simply cover your planting areas with mulch and let it do its job. Aside from preventing weed seeds from germinating, organic mulch can retain moisture, prevent erosion, and improve the appearance of your landscape.

One mulching technique you can try is called sheet mulching or lasagna gardening. First, you need to blanket the area with mulch to smother weeds. This method is applicable if you want to start a flower bed that has nothing but pesky weeds. But if you already have plants in your flower bed, relocate them and add sheet mulches starting in springtime.

Use Compost

The composting process also naturally kills weed seeds. A hot compost pile can heat up to 140°F. When you turn the pile regularly, the organic materials can achieve the necessary heat to fully get rid of weed seeds. Hot composting can also kill other pathogens that are popping up in your garden beds.

If you add fresh infusions of good compost, weed seeds are less likely to germinate. After a month of exposure to heat, tougher weed species will be dead. You can use a compost thermometer to determine if your compost pile is hot enough. To maintain higher temperatures, do not forget to turn the pile from time to time. This helps oxygenate the compost and minimize cool spots.

Till the Soil When Necessary

This is the process of turning over and breaking up the soil. Tilling is a form of deep cultivation to prepare your garden beds for plant growth. When you till the soil, you can get rid of the weeds that will make planting a lot easier.

First, you need to till the entire planting area with a garden tractor. Start from the front to the rear of the garden until you form a back-and-forth pattern. Do not rototill wet soil because you might end up with compacted soil. After a light rain, you need to wait for one to two days before you till the garden.

To ensure that you have uprooted existing weeds, till in the opposite direction of your first pass. This further chops the weeds and suppresses new weed seeds from emerging.

When trying out this method, minimize digging and overturning the soil during cultivation. This can stimulate buried weed seeds to grow and lead to new weeds.

Apply Weed Killers

Despite your best efforts, weed growth is still bound to happen. The best way to solve this dilemma is to defeat them as soon as possible. If you have noticed a few weeds in your landscape, pour a mixture of water and vinegar on them. Wait a couple of days before you pull them up. A mixture of one cup of salt dissolved in 2 cups of hot water will also work. 

There are also weed killers in gel formulation that you can buy in the market. It targets the weeds without running off onto the soil or other nearby plants. Simply apply the gel across the weeds and see the weed die off after a few days.

Need Help in Removing Weeds?

At Midstate Landscaping, we can safely eliminate unwanted weeds so that you can have a quality lawn. Turn to us for residential and commercial landscaping, mulching, hardscaping, and other lawn care services. Let us cater to your unique landscaping needs! Contact us today to get a free estimate!