Variegated Creeping Phlox - groundcover

Steps on How to Weed a Garden

A lot of work goes into weeding flower gardens. The results can be quite satisfying. I prefer weeding by hand. My rationale is that I don’t want to risk killing plants that have spent years getting to the stage of growth they are now at.

There are different ways to garden. One of them is the way I garden. Another way to garden involves tanning while gardening. That’s ok if hazards are minimal. I will discuss my way of gardening. But when you finish weeding anyone can be proud of their accomplishments.

1. Best Clothes to Wear

Know which clothes are best to wear. I cover as much of my body as possible to prevent sunburn, as well as, in case I deal with poison ivy or a snake. Try not to get in the garden during snake mating season. There is always a possibility of running into a snake though. From experience, when you garden alone, nobody hears your screams. A hat keeps the sun off your face. Tie hair back or put it in your hat, whatever prevents hair from getting in your face. This is work, not a beauty pageant.

2. Tools Are Helpful

Some tools can be helpful. A hoe, a rake, and small clippers work wonders and save energy. You need gloves. Bottles with screw tops, spray bottles, and funnels for herbicides. Label bottles and funnels. Sometimes you may need something to cover plants you don’t want a herbicide to contact.

Metal tools can be stored in a bucket of sand and kitchen oil to prevent rust. If this works for you, great. I’ve never been able to keep up this process. It seems to be a good idea.

3. Weed or Not Weed

Know the difference between a weed and a garden owner’s plant. Workers may destroy plants if they lack knowledge. Only garden owners can provide some of this information. A weed, to one person, could be a nice specimen, to another person.

4. Use Groundcovers

Don’t remove groundcovers. Some people use mulch. I have chosen to use plants as groundcovers in most places. After you weed groundcovers plants are better able to take over. Some weeds prevent plant groundcovers from doing their job. Know the difference between groundcovers and weeds.

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Variegated Creeping Phlox - groundcover
Variegated Creeping Phlox – groundcover
Creeping Phlox - groundcover
Creeping Phlox – groundcover
English Ivy - groundcover that grows quickly and climbs tall objects.
English Ivy – groundcover that grows quickly and climbs tall objects.
White Clover - groundcover
White Clover – groundcover that adds nitrogen to the soil and makes great bracelets for children. Good for bees.
Monkey grass (Liriope), not variegated - grows quickly.
Monkey grass (Liriope), not variegated – grows quickly.

5. Clear Area to Be Weeded

Remove small objects if you can. Put them back in place after weeding. This prevents you from having to weed around objects unnecessarily. It makes weeding easier.

6. Pull up Roots of Weeds

Most weeds can just be pulled up. A weed should be pulled up roots and all. Some plants grow back slowly. Other plants grow back quickly.

Pulling Weeds, roots and all
Pulling Weeds, roots and all

7. Yard Grass in the Garden

Bermudagrass looks wonderful in yards. It can be a pain for any type of garden. The liquid herbicide Ornamec is commonly used to kill grass in flower beds. Read the directions carefully. Groundcovers and edging help keep yard grasses out of gardens. A garden edging can be many different materials or a plant. Its purpose is to keep the garden separated from the lawn area.

Monkey grass (Liriope), not variegated - grows quickly. Makes a good edging.
Monkey grass (Liriope), not variegated – grows quickly. Makes a good edging but needs to be divided regularly.

8. Dealing with Johnson grass

If you have Johnson grass in your garden, I’m sorry. Pulling it up by the root does not work. Johnson grass roots break off easily and leave more roots in the ground and it grows back quickly. Johnson grass seed head heads which spread it to nearby areas. Removing the seed heads helps it from spreading.

Identifying Johnson Grass

JohnsongrassLeaves Close-upStems Close-up
Johnsongrass
Johnson grass
Johnsongrass, close-up of leaves
Johnson grass, close-up of leaves
Johnsongrass, stem close-up
Johnsongrass, stem close-up

Using Roundup on Johnson Grass

This year I’m trying Roundup, a liquid herbicide on my Johnson grass. Roundup needs to be handled carefully. Mix it using the directions and try not to let it touch your skin. I put a portion of the mixture in a small container. Swipe, using a Q-tip, only on the leaves of the plants that you want to die. Roundup kills the whole plant, including the root. It takes several days for the total effect to take place. As a side note, Roundup ready cotton was developed several years ago. Farmers could spray their entire crop without worrying about it hurting the cotton. This was a very useful development for farmers.

9. Poison Ivy Removal

Try to get rid of poison ivy and try to stay away from poison ivy. It’s possible to become allergic to poison ivy. I know from experience.

Poison ivy is a vine that will climb up anything tall, that it’s close to. If you are allergic to poison ivy, it helps to learn as much about it as you can about it.

Identifying Poison Ivy

  • Older poison ivy vines look woody and almost furry with a lot of tendrils on either side of it. Cutting the vine will kill the plant from the cut forward if there are no more connections to the soil.
Poison Ivy climbing stem
Poison Ivy climbing stem
  • Poison ivy has three leaves. It looks very much like the five-leaved Virginia creeper. They may grow in the same place.
Virginia Creeper - a fast-growing vine with five leaves. Looks like poison ivy.
Virginia Creeper – a fast-growing vine with five leaves. Looks similar to poison ivy.
  • Poison ivy tends to get brown “worts” on it.
Poison Ivy with "worts"
Poison Ivy with “worts”

What Happens and What to do

  • It releases oils that cause a skin reaction that looks like hives and is very itchy, in allergic people. Just rubbing against the plant can cause the oils to be released.
  • Washing clothes and skin immediately after suspected contact helps. Using alcohol to help clean skin may help. I’ve seen where scrubbing with a cloth helps to remove the oil.
  • Roundup sprayed on the leaves of small plants in the spring should help kill it.
  • See your doctor if you have a bad reaction.

10. How to Handle Some Dying Perennials

A dying plant may need special care.

  • Tie up daffodil leaves after the plant blooms. To tidy up a garden, Daffodil leaves can be cut when they seem to be dying. Anything more may kill the plants over time.
UntrimmedTrimmed
Daffodils before trimming
Daffodils before trimming
Daffodils (buttercups) after trimming
Daffodils (buttercups) after trimming
  • Daylily leaves should not be totally removed.
  • Daylilies are hard to distinguish from Johnson grass.
  • It is hard to distinguish between daylilies that are done blooming and daylilies that have not bloomed yet.
DayliliesBudsDying Plants
Daylilies
Daylilies
Daylilies with buds
Daylilies with buds
Daylilies before trimming
Daylilies before trimming
  • Cut Iris leaves in a fan shape after the plants have bloomed.

Dividing these plants improves the plants and flower production.

Maintaining a garden lasts all year. In this article, we reviewed spring Maintenance in the perennial flower garden. Maintenance continues throughout the year.

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