Strategies for dealing with weeds?

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by Cayuga Morning, May 28, 2018.

  1. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Hi all,

    I would appreciate hearing from you all about how you deal with the ever present problem of weeds invading your garden. Specifically, how you deal with weeds in both vegetable gardens and in perennial beds.

    In the vegie garden, I use wood chips on the paths to keep the weeds down. I have discovered I can't use a mulch that is too thick because it becomes perfect habitat for VOLES! So I am reduced to weeding the vegie beds. Any ideas here?

    In my perennial/shrub beds I employed the strategy of planting thickly to give no room for weeds. Unfortunately it provides excellent cover for, you guessed it VOLES (and rabbits and chipmunks). Lately I have been using wood chips but they don't look very good. I also use used coffee grounds....they suppress the weeds pretty well.

    If I have an area that is heavily weedy (or filled with pachysandra), I weed wack the area, cover it with cardboard & then wood chips. But guess who loves it there? VOLES.

    Other ideas folks?
     
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  2. LIcenter

    LIcenter In Flower

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    I feel your pain Cayuga. I've been adding beds here and there to cut down on lawn maintenance, but now with the enormous amount of weeds popping up everywhere I'm having second thoughts.
     
  3. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Licenter so what do you do to cope?
     
  4. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    We have weeds, but mostly we have grass. Grass in the vegetable beds, grass in the flower beds and grass on the paths. We have mulched everything and grass pops up. The paths that we walk several times daily have weeds and grass coming up. The human foot is not a weed suppressant. About the only place we don't have an abundance of grass is on the lawn!

    I cultivate, hand weed, spray vinegar, and swear. Right now we are solarizing three raised beds that have had the garlic, onions, and lettuces harvested. We will plant cool weather vegetables there in the fall, and pray that the grass doesn't reappear. Maybe we ought to get a couple of sheep and let them graze . . . .
     
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  5. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Do you have voles moles or the dreaded shrew? I have been dealing with moles and shrews and have started setting mouse traps baited with peanut butter or rolo candies to trap the pesky varmints. I have them in my high tunnel for two years . I had shrews by the way. which are not rodents did you know? they are mammals. solitary (supposedly) of which I killed 5 in the same area. another several on the other side of the tunnel and one inside another tunnel. . keep setting traps for them... whatever you have. find a bait that attracts them specifically. vole are herbivores, moles are omnivores and shrews are (nasty, just nasty little foul odoriferous creatures) insectivores but can also eat small vertebrates.
     
  6. LIcenter

    LIcenter In Flower

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    For 90% of my bed weeding I use, what I call an action hoe. Some call it a hula hoe, or sterip hoe. The major plus of using this type of hoe is it does not dig down deep enough to disturb many other weed seeds that could be hiding below the surface. It's quick, and I don't have to bend all that much to get the job done. https://www.jcpenney.com/p/true-temper-2866300-5825-wood-handled-action-hoe/ppr5007706846?pTmplType=regular&country=US&currency=USD&selectedSKUId=62870270018&selectedLotId=6287027&fromBag=true&quantity=1&utm_medium=cse&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=garden hoes&utm_content=62870270018&cid=cse|google|004 - home furn leisure|garden hoes_62870270018&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9LPYBRDSARIsAHL7J5kZmzOL_zcXPzJOhFNuD9LC_aFVX4mECcowpM2OyTJTg4Hj95lkxY0aAjpCEALw_wcB&kwid=productads-adid^225616513383-device^c-plaid^334559805599-sku^62870270018-adType^PLA

    In a few of my other beds, which I don't consider proper beds I simply go in them with my lawn mower. Yes I'll lose that bed for the rest of the growing season, which is something I'm willing to sacrifice. This insures that the weeds will not be able to produce weed seeds for the next growing season. The following spring I'll hit it with the action hoe to get the weed mounds out. It's a not perfect solution for sure, but I'd rather go that route than use any chemicals at all.
    As far as my lawn goes, I don't get very many weeds except for dandelions in the spring. Again, simply mowing at least twice a week does the trick at keeping them at bay. Some like to grow their grass tall in hopes to crowd out the weeds, but the opposite seems to work best for me. As to the original question; I cope by consuming copious amounts of adult beverages. Happy gardening!:D

    Edit: Let me drop this video in here to show how the action hoe works.
     
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  7. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hello Vole-uga Mourning,

    After reading your note, my first thought was to invest in vole traps. chortle...but that was too flippant of course.

    Down to business:
    (1) -- Weeding in veggie beds....I use a variety of methods, but my most commonly used measure is the variety of specialized tools that I have for the purpose. I have a series of schoffels in various sizes shapes. Some you push, some you pull ans one has a blade with which you can push or pull, cutting those weeds going and coming, as it were. I have this "going and coming" schoffel in a short hand held model.
    This brings me to the next method of working: A schoffel you stand and work. The next group of tools you go down on your knees to work, or as my bride does--bend over. There are also a variety of tools for this type of working. Some are for scratching, some for hacking and some for going down deep to get pen-roots, like those that dandelions have for instance.
    Of course the most reliable method is always hand picking the entire weed out...I do this sometimes, but mate...you have to have a lot of time on your hands for this tedious method.

    Like in medicine, they say that the best cure is prevention (or something like that). That is where mulching comes in. Mulching with "root cloth". There are a variety of things that one can use to mulch with. I have my favourite and other folks have theirs. In my view, it isn't the type of mulch as much as it the thickness of the mulch. Voles, of course throw a spanner in the works.

    I do not use root cloth in the beds but most certainly do on the paths, with the wood chips on top of that. Weeds may mat find a toe-hold at the margins, but do NOT come up through the root cloth. I have used root cloth, cardboard and wood chips on top of that. That worked fine, but not better than without the cardboard.

    (2) -- Weeding in the Flower beds:
    Veggie beds get more personal Rx than do the flower beds simply because the weeds; however small and whatever the type, take away nutrition from the plants from which one hopes to harvest. Whereas if a flowering plant produces a flower or two less, it is not realized.
    The type of weeding I do in the flower beds is much more of an "industrial handling", you could say. Not that I use chemicals, as I do not...but in the sense that I roughly remove weeds in a manner in a merciless way. I pull and jerk those weeds and at the same time go deep with this long tool that I have to pry. Some weeds I strim and then schoffel and further dig out with a trowel or spade.

    Perennial beds:
    It sounds like you have a good technique for that. The only other thing that I might do with the probs that you have is to clip leaves off the lower few inched of your plants to make it less appealing to your unwanted guests and...it is good for air circulation.

    The weedy pachysandra bed: You may well have to bite the bullet and "go to town" in that area with some heavy tools and get up close and personal...knee-work. I have had to do that (in this awful heat that we are having.) but the result is remarkable and very pleasing. It was a patch that was infested with ground elder, mare's tail and bind weed. Special measures were required.

    I do not know if this epistle helps you at all, but if you want to chat further about tools and so forth we can do that and I can show you specific tools.
    anyhow, good luck with the weeding issue--it is never easy and rarely completely thorough. You just have to accept this and simply try and contain the weeds...unless you spray with chemicals that is.

    Addendum: I watched LIcenter's vid and noticed that we here have different tools. The philosophy that he uses different tools for different soil conditions and weed types is the same as what I believe.
     
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  8. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I would suggest Napalm but that's just for the weeds I have in my gardens. They are resistant to pretty much everything, growing through cardboard is their major achievement and they delight in repeating it as often as I give them a chance.
     
  9. Islandlife

    Islandlife Young Pine

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    I use white vinegar (the cheapest), salt and Dawn dish soap. 1 gallon vinegar, 1/2 cup salt and a generous squirt of soap. I stir it all and put it into my sprayer and on a bright sunny day I spray the weeds. I do tend to do this all the time and soon as the weeds have their first 2 true leaves. This concoction will knock them right back.
     
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  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    @marlingardener i just bought a giant jug of vinegar . I'll try it on our brick terrace where the weeds come up between the bricks.

    So where you live in Texas is part prairie??? All those grasses?!

    @carolyn I do plan to pick up some mouse traps for the voles in the garden. They do so much damage to my perennials. In my community garden plot I have reduced them by trenching around the garden a good 8 inches deep. They don't like to cross the trench. I plan on adding hay as a mulch...hope that doesn't encourage them again. I did buy some sticky glue traps but on further consideration, that seems just too cruel. A mouse trap would be quicker.

    Shrews? Do they do damage to your plants? Wouldn't they go after your moles/voles? They do sound vicious: sharp gnarly teeth.

    @LIcenter I like the look of that action hoe. Perfect for my community garden plot. Thanks for that video. That arrow shaped hoe looks like one of Sjoerd's schoffels. RE our lawn & the mowing, suffice it to say our lawn mowing is my husband's job. We mow the lawn but that's about it. We have the worst looking lawn in creation. It just hasn't been a priority.

    @Sjoerd I haven't seen one of your schoffels on this side of the Atlantic. What do you think of the action hoe Licenter spoke of? Similar idea, huh? Cutting off the weeds at the roots, coming & going. The regular garden stores here don't carry that action hoe, but I can order one. I agree whole heartedly with you that different weeds & different conditions require different tools. Spoken like a true gardener, yes?
    Thanks so much for your "epistle" as you call it. You make a good point that weeds are more harmful to the vegie gardens than the perennial beds. I actually have been doing the opposite, going after the weeds at home because they are more visible. ...not thinking about the reduction in produce potential in the vegie garden!

    I think I'll also try mulching with hay & setting vole traps.

    @toni , I love you!! Napalm!
    @Islandlife does this concoction damage your plants? The soil?
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  11. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    the damage is the tunneling. I am glad you reconsidered the glue traps. those are a horrid invention. snap traps are far more humane. the hay or straw is a good mulch but it will encourage tunneling but the mulch is important. since you already have dug the trench why not line that with chicken wire. staple it to the side of the box if it is wood.


    try the "stirrup" hoe. It is bent like a saddle stirrup and you pull it towards you and you cut off the weeds at the soil surface. it works great my only thought is that it could be improved to adjust for the users height. I have one I like more that the other.

    and keep your tools sharp. that makes for a far better tool than anything else.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  12. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Cayuga, we are in the "blackland prairie" region of Texas. There are as many kinds of grass as there are bugs here. I fight both, and regularly lose the battles.
     
  13. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    @carolyn thanks for your advice. good as always. I plan on getting an action hoe/stirrup hoe. Lining the trench with chicken wire is a good idea too.

    @marlingardener Well no wonder! A prairie. You know what I fight on my home property in the woods of New England? Ferns. Hay scented ferns. They are beautiful & smell divinely but they pop up E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!
     
  14. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    Me!!! &#@%$ Weeds!!!
    I have to depend on my fingers and they the weeds grow faster than my fingers can pick!!!:smt013
     
  15. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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