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How To Keep Weeds Out Of Flowerbeds Forever – 3 Simple Secrets To Stop Weeds!

Looking for the secret to stop and keep weeds out of your flowerbeds once and for all?

There is little doubt that keeping the flowerbeds around your home free of weeds can be frustrating and exhausting all at the same time. Especially when they often seem to come back quicker than ever right after you just weeded them!

For many gardeners, the same old “weeds taking over” story plays out year after year. In the early spring, you clear the weeds, plant a few pretty flowers, lay down a little mulch – and then make a vow to yourself that no matter what, this is going to be the year you stay ahead of the weeds!

Thistle in flowerbed
Weeds like thistle can be hard to get rid of when the establish in a flowerbed. To make matters worse, if they go to seed, they can multiply by the hundreds.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t usually end well. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for the weeds to start creeping in. And, unless you have endless hours to weed and re-weed, the problem seems to only multiply with each passing day.

By mid-summer, for many, the white flag goes up and they throw in the towel. Vowing that once again, next year will be the year they tackle weeds for good.

How To Eliminate & Stop Weeds In Flowerbeds For Good…

The good news is that you really can once and for all eliminate weeds in your beds. Even better, you can do so without constantly pulling them day after day. In fact, by following just three simple tips – you can keep your flowerbeds healthy, beautiful, and virtually weed free all summer long.

We can honestly say that with confidence – and from personal experience! All three of the tips below have worked incredibly well to keep all of our flowerbeds at the farm weed free for 10+ years now. Best of all, they help us to work less – and have a lot more time to actually enjoy them!

3 Simple Secrets To Keep Weeds Out Of Flowerbeds For Good

1 – Fill Your Flowerbeds With Plants – Not Mulch!

When most gardeners think about stopping weeds, they first think of mulch and using weed barriers or weed killing products.

Mulch is certainly a vital player when it comes to keeping beds neat, tidy and weed free. In fact, so much so that it lands at number two on our list today of top three weed ending secrets. So why is it not the most important? Because fighting weeds all begins with planting more plants and flowers!

keep weeds out of flowerbeds
The more plants you plant in your flowerbeds, the less chance there is for weeds to find a home.

The number one key to keeping flowerbeds weed free is to fill your flowerbeds full of plants – and not mulch. Think of it as planting a living weed-barrier. Mulch is a filler and should be treated that way. One thing is for sure, it should never be the most visible or used material in your flowerbeds. Instead, that honor should always go to your plants!

Unfortunately, flowerbeds usually have way more area dedicated to mulch than plants. And when that is the case, all of that open mulch space becomes an easy target for weeds to establish. Plain and simple – the more open space in your beds, the more weeding chores you will always have!

Why More Plants Are The Key To Success – How To Keep Weeds Out Of Flowerbeds For Good

Instead of mulch, fill your beds with perennials, annuals, and more. Plant small shrubs and bushes to help fill open voids. By allowing plants to grow together, it eliminates wide open spaces. And those spaces are exactly where weeds and weed seeds will find a home.

Planting your plants close together has other benefits for your flowerbeds as well. The thicker the covering of foliage, the less likely the soil is to dry out in the summer. That, of course, means less watering chores – saving even more time for you to simply enjoy your flowers.

Listen In Below To Our Podcast On Keeping Flowerbeds Weed Free!

Perhaps best of all, planting thick saves enormously on purchasing mulch. And the time it takes you to spread that mulch too. And before you start thinking that buying more plants can be costly – remember that by simply dividing the plants you already have each year, you can pack your flowerbeds almost for free. See: How To Divide Your Perennials For More Plants – For Free!

Dividing & Transplanting To Fill Flowerbeds – How To Stop & Keep Weeds Out Of Flowerbeds!

Both early spring and fall are great times to divide and split the perennials in your landscape. And with some plants like daylilies and hostas, you can even dig and transplant in the middle of summer. But don’t stop there, you can also swap starts of plants with friends, family and neighbors too.

On our old farm, we had a little over 1800+ plants in the flowerbeds. The crazy thing is, nearly 95% of them were free! Most of the flowerbeds on our new farm have been filled entirely from transplanting and dividing as well.

By simply using starts from existing perennials and dividing, we have already created hundreds and hundreds of plants for free. And here is one final tip – start your beds small. It’s easy to pack small beds full of plants. And as you can divide, then simply expand your bed space as you do.

#2 The Power Of Mulch – 3 Secrets To Weed Free Flowerbeds

So now that we have covered plants over mulch – it’s finally time to talk about mulching! More than anything else, if gardeners make one mistake with mulch, it’s failing to put down enough to do the job.

open space - mulch
All of the open space between plants in this bed will make it difficult to keep it weed free. In addition, with just a few inches of mulch down, weed seeds can germinate quickly and easily. To be effective, you need at least 4 to 6 inches of mulch in your beds.

Placing down an inch or two of mulch around perennials, annuals and shrubs is not enough to keep out weeds. It won’t keep weed seeds buried in the soil below from germinating – and it certainly won’t keep seeds that blow in from finding a way down into the soil to sprout and grow.

Mulch in flowerbeds should be kept at a minimum depth of four inches. We actually mulch our beds at six inches in depth. Again, because we have little square footage with all of the plants, it doesn’t take a lot.

Mulch should be put down thick in the spring as a single, heavy coat. By applying it heavier from the start, you can both suppress existing weeds and keep new seeds from going to the soil below. See: The Four Biggest Mulching Mistakes Gardeners Make – And How To Avoid Them!

This doesn’t mean you can’t add mulch later if needed. But it is important to start your beds off right with the protection they need. It will decrease your weeding chores significantly, not just in the spring, but into the summer and fall as well.

Using Weed Barrier Cloth – How To Stop & Keep Weeds Out Of Flowerbeds For Good

So you might be asking, what if I use weed barrier cloth? Unfortunately, weed barrier cloth almost always ends up creating more work than it saves. Especially in a year or two when weeds begin forming above the cloth in the decomposing mulch. In fact, once weeds begin to weave through the fabric, they can be even more difficult to get out than before!

weed cloth
Weed barriers can often make flowerbed chores more difficult in the long run.

But there are other issues with weed barrier cloth as well. It can also hinder plant growth and plant health over time. Although weed barrier cloth does allow moisture through, it can easily become filled with decaying matter that blocks water and nutrients from easily passing through.

Instead, use a deep covering of a good hardwood or bark mulch that can protect your soil and allow nutrients and water to get to the roots of your plants. And finally – once you get that mulch down – as secret #3 will reveal, leave it alone!

3 – Don’t Disturb The Mulch! How To Stop & Keep Weeds Out Of Flowerbeds For Good

The 3rd and final tip actually will allow you to work less in your flowerbeds. The simple fact is, the less you disturb your flowerbeds by working in them, the fewer weeds you will have. Especially when it comes to raking and stirring up your mulch.

Many gardeners like to stir up faded mulch every week or two to freshen up the look of their beds. Unfortunately, every time mulch is raked and turned, weed seeds are turned under towards the soil and “planted” as well.

On the surface, the seeds have little ability to germinate. But once turned under, they can easily find the soil they need to sprout. And the next round of weeds begins!

weed free flowerbeds
The more you disturb the mulch, the more likely you are to have weeds appear. To help stop and eliminate weeds in your flowerbeds for good – never rake your mulch!

In addition, don’t till or excessively dig beds in the spring before planting. This only serves to plant more weeds too. Instead, create planting holes that are only the size needed, and leave the rest of the soil undisturbed.

A Little Every Day…

Finally, and this is a huge tip to success, walk your flowerbeds every day or two to stay ahead of any small weeds that might appear. It’s easy to pull a small weed seedling here and there on a 5 minute walk around your beds, but let those weeds go for a week or two, and it becomes a ten or twenty fold problem!

A few minutes each day never seems like work. But four hours on a hot Saturday because you waited 7 days sure does! Here is to planting more, working less, and most of all – having weed free flowerbeds from spring till fall! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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