Many gardeners use mulch as a material to protect their flower gardens and enhance their landscaping. That weeds inevitably pop up through the mulch is a painful reality that all gardeners must contend with. After spending hours, days, and even years perfecting the appearance of your property, you heartbrokenly discover that weeds have grown up through the mulch you so carefully laid down. So, how do you keep weeds from growing in mulch? Learn about preventing weed growth in mulch with these easy-to-follow tips and suggestions.
Using Gardening Fabric
If you are using wood chip or rock mulch in your landscaping, the easiest solution for controlling weed growth is to lay down landscaping fabric under the mulch. Landscaping fabric—which is also referred to as landscape fabric, gardening fabric, garden fabric, and geotextile—prevents weeds from growing by acting as a barrier between the earth and the mulch. Because landscaping fabric is porous, water also does not accumulate on the surface and form marshy patches in which mosquitoes and other pests thrive. The biggest con of gardening fabric, however, is that this material photodegrades, which means it must be replaced every five to ten years.
To use gardening fabric to keep weeds from growing in mulch, begin by removing or flattening the plant growth in the area on which you will lay the fabric. For example, while building a rock border around my house, I simply stomped on the grass and weeds along the side of my home to flatten them before putting down the landscaping fabric. Then cut and lay down enough fabric to cover the entire area. If you need to use more than one piece to cover a space, make sure to overlap the fabric sufficiently to prevent weeds from growing up between the cracks. After the landscaping fabric is in place, spread a thick layer of mulch over the surface. If you decide to plant any plants in the mulch, simply poke holes through the fabric to get to the soil.
Treatment with Herbicide
Another option for keeping weeds from growing in mulch is to treat the mulch with a chemical herbicide. In addition to the chemical herbicides that are guaranteed by manufacturers as dependable weed killers, organic herbicides can also help prevent and kill weeds in mulch. For example, Preen makes a number of herbicidal products including weed preventers and mulches that are pretreated with weed preventer. To use any type of herbicide, carefully follow the directions on the package. Herbicides kill weeds and can therefore be toxic to humans, pets, other animals, and other plants. If you really want to ensure the prevention of weeds, you can use a combination of landscaping fabric and mulch treated with an herbicide.
Although fighting weeds may seem like a constant battle for some gardeners, learning how to keep weeds from growing in mulch can be much easier with these simple tips and instructions. Using landscaping fabric and treating mulch with herbicides are surefire ways to keep weeds out of mulch.