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weeds growing in bushes

Weeds growing in bushes

Plant ground cover around the shrubs. The ground cover will choke out the weeds. Choose a ground cover that has the same soil requirements as the shrubs.

Place a clear plastic sheet over the soil around the shrubs. Cut it to fit so the sheet covers from the base of the shrubs to the outer edge of the shrub beds. The plastic will keep the soil warm enough to kill weed seeds.

When you water and fertilize your shrubs, you also make the soil more hospitable to invasive weeds. Weeds not only make your landscape look untidy, but they also steal nutrients from the plants that you have worked so hard to cultivate. There are ways to keep weeds out of your shrubs without using herbicides that may harm shrubs or surrounding plants. You can also prevent weeds before they start by preparing the the shrub beds in the spring before the weeds have a chance to grow.

Spread 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the shrubs. Polyester landscape cloth can also be used. Mulch the entire area, but do not allow the mulch to touch the base of the shrubs. Mulch will keep the soil moist and cool and keep weeds from growing in the soil.

Fertilize shrubs sparingly. Unless your shrubs look unhealthy or you have poor soil, shrubs will not need fertilizers. Fertilizers will only aid the growth of weeds.

Install headers around the shrub areas. The headers should be buried at least 8 inches deep and stick up above the soil line. The headers will prevent weeds and grass from spreading from your yard into the shrubs.

Hand-pull weeds that are already growing around your shrubs. Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands. Make sure you get the roots as well as the part of the weed above the soil line, or it will grow back. You may need to dig out the roots with a trowel or soil knife. Clean the trowel or knife after use to avoid spreading the weeds.

Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.

Weeds growing in bushes

Landscape fabric is great for blocking sunlight, so weeds can’t grow. If you don’t want to purchase a ready-made barrier, try using strips of black plastic or even old carpet (a solid piece of plastic or carpet would prevent water from soaking into the soil). Cover them with an attractive mulch, if you like.

For weeds with longer roots, use a garden knife, dandelion digger or hand weeder, a long, slender tool that looks like a screwdriver with a forked tip.

However, glyphosates work only on growing weeds; they are not pre-emergents. And while they’ve been used in the U.S. for over 30 years, debate continues about whether they present health risks to humans. See the US. Environmental Protection Agency website for up-to-date news and additional information on using them.

Prevent Weeds by Covering Them 03:31

To reduce the strain on your hands, look for a hand weeder with an ergonomic design. Its narrow tip lets you pry out weeds without disturbing other plants.

But herbicide glyphosates are effective and work by spreading from a plant’s leaves to its roots. Available as liquids, solids or ready-to-use products, they eventually break down in the soil.

Spot Killers

To reduce the strain on your hands, look for a hand weeder with an ergonomic design. Its narrow tip lets you pry out weeds without disturbing other plants.

You can chop them up or yank them out, but that doesn’t always eradicate them. Some drop seeds that germinate in just a few days—or years down the road. Weeds with deep roots or big root systems can break apart and resprout from stems, runners or small pieces that remain in the ground.