How to Prevent Weeds in Flower Beds

No one likes to see weeds sprouting in their flower beds. After all, you plant flowers to enjoy a profusion of beautiful, colorful blooms. But if weeds are ruining your flower beds, here’s what you need to do.

weeds in flower bedsMileniumphoto/Shutterstock

No one likes to see weeds sprouting in their flower beds. After all, you plant flowers to enjoy a profusion of beautiful, colorful blooms. But if weeds are ruining your flower beds, here’s what you need to do.

Check out our ultimate guide to a weed-free landscape.

Prevent Weeds in Flower Beds in 5 Steps

1. Dig judiciously.

Weed seeds are everywhere. If you disturb a large patch of soil when you only need to dig in a small area, you’ll simply be spreading around a lot of weed seeds that will burst into life. These are our 15 best tips for digging holes.

2. Plant flowers close together.

Ever wonder why big pots of flowers never seem to get weedy, yet your spacious flower beds do? The flowers in pots are planted close together, while many people carefully space out the flowers in their large beds. But, open space gives weeds an opportunity to germinate. So plant your flowers close together, digging down deeper than normal to give their roots room to grow down, not out. Here are some recipes for perfect, colorful container gardens.

3. Cover the soil.

Once you’ve planted your flowers, immediately cover the soil with eight or nine layers of newspaper or cardboard. Don’t use landscape fabric or black plastic. It’s expensive, and when weeds start growing through it, they’ll be harder to remove. Newspaper and cardboard are cheap, plus enrich and soften your soil as they decompose.

4. Mulch generously.

Cover the newspaper with about three inches of mulch. Mulch deprives weeds of the light they need to grow. Plus, weeds are easier to remove when rooted in loose mulch compared with soil. If you use organic mulch, it may even contain insects that actually eat weed seeds!

5. Remove weeds ASAP.

Despite your best precautions, weeds may still pop up in your flower beds. Don’t worry. Just remove them right away. Dig out weeds after it rains, when the soil is soft. If they’re too difficult to remove, chop off their heads. What kills weeds but not flowers? You can apply a small amount of weed-killer directly on weeds. If you do so, use one with a targeted applicator so the spray doesn’t drift and kill your flowers, too. You can also try one of these natural ways to get rid of weeds.

Don’t miss out 10 favorite flower bed designs for the front of your house.

Want to light up your flower beds? These are some of our favorite flower bed lights.

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Melanie Radzicki McManus
Melanie Radzicki McManus is an outdoors enthusiast specializing in travel. She has won many awards for her writing, most notably four prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards, considered the Pultizers of travel writing. McManus is the author of "Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail." Her work has appeared in Backpacker, the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, How Stuff Works and dozens of other publications.