How to keep weeds from growing under fence

Removing Weeds From Tight Spots: How To Remove Weeds In Tight Spaces

Just when you think all your weeding is done, you go to put your tools away and spot the unsightly mat of weeds between your shed and fence. Tired and absolutely sick of weeds, you head straight for a bottle of herbicide. While this just might do the trick, there are other, earth-friendlier options for weed control in tight places.

Removing Weeds from Tight Spots

Some weed killers efficiently kill perennial and woody weeds after a couple weeks, or a couple application. These herbicides are absorbed by the foliage and root zone of weeds, eventually killing the weed off. However, in tight areas like along a fence, spray drift and run off can harm any nearby desirable plants, including your neighbor’s beautiful garden on the other side of the fence.

Whenever possible, pulling annual and some perennial weeds works best. In tight, hard-to-reach spaces, long handled or hula hoes may be your greatest ally. Once removed, weeds can be prevented with pre-emergent herbicides, like corn meal or corn gluten. Lay thick, contractor quality weed barrier fabric and cover it with 2-3 inches of rock or mulch for future weed control in tight spaces.

How to Remove Weeds in Tight Spaces

Hand pulling is not always possible in hard to reach areas. Before running to the hardware store or garden center for harsh chemicals, take a look in your kitchen for some other weed killing options. Bleach, table salt, vinegar and rubbing alcohol all kill weeds without stretching your pocketbook. All can be sprayed or dumped directly on the pesky weeds. When using vinegar on weeds, try to use one with an acidity of 20% or higher.

If you want to avoid using even household chemicals, then look no further then boiling water for getting rid of weeds near fences and other complicated areas. You can simply dump boiling water on troublesome weeds in tight spaces or you can hire a professional trained in using boiling water or steam machines for weed control. While you can also rent these machines, hiring a trained professional can save you some burns.

One last method of pest and weed control in tight places is soil solarization. Soil solarization is the process of covering the soil and/or weeds with a thick, clear plastic tarp. The sun then heats up the area under the clear plastic tarp to temperatures that kill weeds and other pests. Soil solarization works best when performed during the hottest part of the year and in locations that are mostly sunny.

Why Rent Plants For The Office When You Can Buy?

You may already have considered adding plants into your office environment – they’re a fantastic addition to your business for a huge number of reasons. Air cleaning, brain pleasing, productivity increasing plants are becoming a popular choice for office decoration – but if you’re considering purchasing a set of plants for your business you might not have heard about renting instead of buying. Office plant rentals are on the rise – but why would you hire plants instead of purchasing them outright? Take a look at our article below before you buy and see how you can incorporate plants into your business at a fraction of the cost.

It’s much easier on the wallet: You might think that hiring plants is more expensive in the long run – but in actual fact it saves you money and time. Businesses often think plants will be fairly cheap to buy – but they forget about the cost of the containers, any water systems or feed, and maintenance if you’re looking to hire someone to keep them looking beautiful and healthy. When you hire plants the need to fork out for these initial upfront costs is eliminated – so you are protecting your cash flow and boosting the aesthetic status of your business simultaneously! You also have the added benefit of advice on which plants to choose and why for practical and decorative reasons.

You can change your mind at any time: Once you’ve purchased a plant, that’s it – it’s yours for life. However if you rent a plant, you can give it back and try something new whenever you like. It’s important to keep things fresh when it comes to the office so don’t be afraid to change it up – a reputable plant hire company will offer a huge variety of plant species, sizes and packages to suit all budgets, requirements and preferences. So if you’re changing things round in the office, splurging on some new décor or just fancy a bit of a change of scenery, you can swap your rented plants with ease.

You have the advantage of our ongoing expertise: When you buy a plant, you go to the nursery, pick it up, pay the company and leave. However if you hire a plant you gain the benefit of on going support and advice plus maintenance to ensure that your plants are healthy and looking fantastic at all times. Plants do need a certain amount of expert love and attention to look their best. Your chosen company can also advise on the size, species and type of plant you choose according to your requirements or preferences – so you have full support right from choosing your plants to installation and care.

The pressure’s off: Because of the handy maintenance service plant hire companies offer, you don’t need to worry about caring for your plants yourself. It can be very time-consuming to care for plants properly – and very expensive if you have to employ someone on top of the initial purchase of the plants themselves – so this is a real bonus of plant rental.

They don’t need replacing: If you do happen to accidentally harm (or worst case scenario, kill) your plants, you are then faced with the rather unpleasant task of disposal and the cost of purchasing new plants. Replacing a set of plants can be really costly – plus it can even happen more than once which causes a real drain on finances. If the unthinkable happens (such as a crack in a fault pot or a leaky container) you may be faced with a larger repair bill for flooring or furniture.

As you can see, there are huge benefits to renting your office plants. If you’re looking for something to freshen up your office, then plant rental may be perfect for you.

The best money we’ve ever spent on other people

At the very end of 2018, we started publishing an essay series called The Best Money I Ever Spent. Less a collection of musings on the best or most underrated or cheapest versions of products, it’s meant to be an exploration of what value means to different people. We’ve now released dozens of installations on everything from hand sanitizer to TSA PreCheck to a week with an alleged literary scammer, with many more to come.

Here, at the end of 2019, we wanted to depart somewhat from the format we’ve established. Instead, we asked writers to tell us about the best money they’ve spent on someone else, or that someone else has spent on them. The result is something like a reverse gift guide — while you probably won’t spend $12,000 on someone’s rent this holiday season, the spirit might move you to buy them (or yourself) a plant.

A $12 plant

I looked at the plant with some apprehension. I’d had a poor record with houseplants: two air plants killed in college; a pothos I murdered by smoking in my room; a grocery store orchid that, after dropping its final blooms, grew stringy and desiccated no matter how devotedly I watered it.

And yet. This plant, which C was now presenting to me — as a gift! — was small, its shiny leaves wavy and frilled, with beautiful deep green spots that looked painted on. With a gardening app, we looked up its name: Calathea. It was also called a prayer plant, for the way its leaves moved in response to light — flattening to catch the morning sun, standing straight up in the evening, the matte wine-red undersides of the leaves showing.

Later, C would tell me that I’d looked nervous. I was. Skeptical, maybe. We hadn’t been dating long then; it had been just four months. A plant wasn’t the same as getting a pet together, but it held, I thought, a similar significance — there was just too much room for metaphor. I worried about killing it, that I’d kill something of us if it failed to thrive in my hands.

But I was good at taking care of my Calathea, it turned out. In my south-facing windowsill, it flourished in the sun. New shoots sprouted up faster than I could count. I dusted its glossy leaves; watered it with care. When it outgrew the pot C gave me, I bought a new one, transplanting it in my living room. Bolstered by my newfound confidence in caretaking, I got new plants — a coin plant, a Phalaenopsis orchid. Managing their complicated watering schedules got me out of bed in the morning. I felt fluid and capable; gratified to be a plant mom. It was good to have beautiful, alive things around me, I understood. Good to be taking care of something.

Two years, two repottings, and a new orchid spike full of blossoms later, I’ve come to understand that C had never worried that I was going to kill the plant. The fear had come from me alone — I had believed I was incapable of taking care. That I was stuck where I was.

His gift to me was trust: that I could take care, that I could make room for beauty in my life. That I could allow something to grow.

— Larissa Pham, poet and critic

$850 Burning Man tickets

In 2015, I spent $850 for me and my siblings to go to Burning Man, the hippie-tech fusion festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. I’d just received a signing bonus from a fancy tech company I’d dejectedly decided to work for in a fit of post-college financial terror.

My younger sister is a festival queen and my older brother is in a bluegrass band. Going to Burning Man, for them, is nothing new. I’m kind of a square and require nine hours of rest in a bedroom that resembles a deprivation chamber, so the experience was a bigger stretch for me.

The first three days, I hated it and wanted to leave, but by the end I had fully transformed into one of those goes-to-Burning-Man-once memes and was rolling around in the dirt (I mean dust!) talking to strangers about how we were best friends. The last day, as my sister and I packed up the car to drive back to California and my brother got ready to head to Portland, I told him I would miss him and also that I really liked his shirt (it was long-sleeved and striped and looked soft).

He took it off and tearfully gave it to me, a symbol of how much he loved me and also how strung out we all were. It’s one of my favorites — a tattered piece of memorabilia that comes down to my knees that I still wear to sleep all the time.

— Zoe Schiffer, reporter for The Verge

A $275 meal

Our server approached the table as I told my girlfriend, “Order whatever you want.” It felt good to say this wild sentence aloud at what was absolutely a very expensive restaurant in a city neither of us had been to before. It felt especially nice to know I’d be able to pay for it.

Growing up, there was an entire week we ate chicken and yellow rice for dinner, the portions getting smaller as the week progressed. One evening my father announced with sincere frustration that “Beanie Weenies weren’t a meal,” but they had to be, because that’s all we’d been able to afford that night.

As an adult, I fed myself the way I’d learned as a child: shopping for groceries at convenience stores, deciding that chips and crackers could constitute dinner if that’s what I could manage. It was easier to make jokes about what I ate than to concede that I fed myself garbage not only because I couldn’t afford good things, but because it was embarrassing to admit that I didn’t know how to take care of myself.

“Pick whatever you want,” I said to my girlfriend. “Order for both of us, get whatever sounds best.”

As she selected our food and wine, appetizers and desserts and espresso, I didn’t sit and worry over the bill. I watched with growing delight as she fed herself, as she enjoyed the meal I was able to provide. Feeding her all that expensive food felt pleasurable to me: I was taking care of a person I loved. Not only that, I was allowing her to take care of me. We shared all our plates.

It was the first nice meal we shared together, but it would not be the last. Feeding each other means we’re not only splitting the food – we’re splitting the goodness that comes with loving another person. When I pick up the check, I’m paying for her food, but I’m also investing in the two of us. I’m investing in myself.

— Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

A $30 toner

I’m a skincare aficionado, which is a fancy way of saying that I spend way too much on tiny bottles of moisturizers and serums for my face.

It was a habit that started young. Since middle school, my mom has encouraged me to meticulously follow a skin routine, and over the years, my collection has expanded from a small makeup pouch to multiple shelves of products. It’s a problem, especially when brands are so keen on commodifying self-care (and when I’m so keen on buying into it).

Right before my move in January from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, I ran out of toner — the second step in my face regimen where I splash on a pleasant-smelling, pore-refining substance. As a going away gift, my best friend Kenny gave me a $30 Missha toner. I was initially grateful, but it wasn’t until a few weeks later, when I pulled the bottle from my stash of moving boxes, that the gift struck a sentimental chord.

A toner is used to further purify the skin after you first wash it with soap; it’s like a fresh start for your skin. My first three months in DC were hard: I struggled with homesickness in a place where I virtually knew no one, and I was reeling from the end of a two-year relationship. Applying the toner was refreshing, occasionally painful, and soothing. It felt pure — somehow divorced from the capitalist culture of skincare because it was purchased for me, not thrust upon me through product recommendations and targeted ads. Most importantly, it was a gentle, routine reminder from a friend to take care of myself.

— Terry Nguyen, reporter for The Goods

$12,000 in rent

I’m a saver. A saver of all things, really, but especially funds. My childhood was rife with in-fighting over bills and excessive purchases and the words “can’t afford.” It’s not that we were always cash-strapped and uncomfortable; it was more that penny-pinching was recommended over spendthrift behavior. When combined with a work ethic that had me chasing extra hours and promotions at every opportunity, by the time I was 25, I had accumulated what others might call a rainy day fund.

This is unlike my parents, for whom savings are a long-ago dream. I didn’t talk about how much I had in savings, because I had afforded myself the opportunity to just … not. It wasn’t much, relatively speaking, but it was more than most people I knew. At least my savings existed.

My mom in particular has long suffered from the economic downturns that have made it harder and harder to earn a living wage in this country. Taxes and bills don’t stop just because an income does, and eventually, holding onto my childhood home had become literally impossible. That was a frightening proposition for my mom, even as she lived alone and we’d been struggling to keep that house for almost a decade as it was. The thought of her not being able to find anywhere else to live — not having the money for a down payment or first-and-last-month’s rent — became scarier to me than losing the only home I’d ever lived in.

So when she needed to move, ASAP, I decided to dig out those savings. And I gave it all to my mom: $12,000 to get her into an apartment. This was more of a loan, since selling our old house would give her the chance to pay me back. But being able to make sure your mother is safe and housed is, to me, the best way to spend your own money, no matter how scary that was for me to see my account balance drop to empty.

— Allegra Frank, associate culture editor for Vox

A $355 “engagement ring”

My spouse Matt and I married in 2014, when they were still identifying as a man, and when I, feminist as I was, still had the idea that it was their job to do the proposing. I had provided them with my great-grandmother’s diamond with which to make a ring, and teased that if they didn’t propose soon, I was going to do it. It never dawned on me that, by giving them a diamond specifically for marriage, I had perhaps already proposed. We had both internalized that somehow it wasn’t real until they asked me.

A few years ago, Matt came out as non-binary, and as our relationship evolves, it has brought further questioning and undoing of the assumptions of who does what in this relationship, one aspect of which is who is the gifter or recipient of sparkling things, who gets to ask and who gets asked. I never got to surprise Matt with my intentions in a grand, romantic way. They never got to be given something beautiful, and their wedding band is much plainer than any of the jewelry they have come to wear.

So I went to a jeweler we both loved, chose a ring that fit their style — glamorous and bold and a little goth — and the second it came in the mail I sat them down on our couch and asked if they’d continue to honor me with their love. I wanted them to have that moment, and to have something as pretty as my engagement ring. And honestly, I reveled in being the asker.

— Jaya Saxena, staff writer for Eater

A $16.95 book

Gift-giving wasn’t always a strong suit for my last boyfriend, a generally thoughtful man.

He had a tendency to make elaborate plan-promises instead of presents, and the scheduling of these plans would be left to me. When this became a source of friction, I started telling him exactly what to get. This would have been fine, except that follow-through remained an issue; I remember yelling through tears about the birthday desk chair I’d asked for months earlier because our dining table chairs were causing me back pain.

As a spoiled only child, it’s gross but true that gifts are part of my love language (ew/sorry/ew). I find it embarrassing to place a high importance on gifts from my partner — especially when you share concerns about consumerist culture, whoops — but I felt like an after thought when he didn’t come through. Unfulfilled promises are difficult to navigate in a relationship, what you let go and what you don’t, and it was frustrating to both of us to have the same fight over and over.

On our last Christmas together, he beyond pulled it out: tickets to a Neko Case show, a sampler of my favorite candles, a tarot deck, and a copy of David Grann’s book, Killers of the Flower Moon.

The book is so good; Grann is my favorite longform journalist, the practitioner of a style of research and narrative skill I can’t even comprehend, and good books are always welcome. More than that, I didn’t even know it existed (I’m a lousy fan), so it wasn’t something I knew to ask for. I felt seen, cared for, planned for, which is what any good present should do. The real gift was someone changing for the better because I’d asked him to.

— Meredith Haggerty, deputy editor for The Goods

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Noxious Weed Removal Using Goats

Mother Nature created a perfect weed eating machine in goats. Noxious weeds are extremely aggressive, invasive and difficult to control. Herbicides have been used with limited success, but repeated use of chemicals is expensive and

environmentally problematic. In addition, repeated use of chemicals can cause weeds to mutate and actually increase in density and endurance.
Since goats prefer weeds over grasses they will always seek for weeds and consume them first. Managed goat herds snap off and consume all the flower heads, then pick off the leaves, leaving a bare stock. Because the flower is eliminated immediately, it cannot go to seed and without leaves it cannot photosynthesize and build a root system.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that goat grazing is a highly effective means of reducing seed head production. Goats have been used successfully to control Yellow and Purple Star thistles, French, Spanish, and Scotch brooms, European annual grasses and a list of other noxious plants that degrade both plant and animal habitats.
Knowledge of a weed’s growth and reproduction cycles is crucial when prescribing a grazing treatment. Living System’s staff understands that precisely timed grazing / browsing of a weed in conjunction with other methods can eliminate the weed’s ability to reproduce, kill the weed, and ultimately lead to its eradication in a managed area.

Goats, Sheep, and Thistle

Goats and Sheep provide a practical method for the reduction and mitigation of invasive plants including the extensive list of non -native thistles which degrade habitat and spread prolifically.
What makes the goat and in many cases sheep(depending on the breed) a superbly effective tool in the reduction and elimination of thistle infestation and monocultures, is the ruminant animals ability to both reduce seed production, alter soil chemistry and finally, the ability kill the plant altogether.
First, how does a goat reduce seed production? Grazers target plant seed heads as they contain the highest nutritive value for the animal. If a plant has produced a seed head the goat will find this part of the plant most palatable, and consume it first. Second, How does a goat effect soil chemistry, and why is this advantageous? Through the elimination processes goats alter both soil ph and N, K, P levels. Certain varieties of thistle thrive under certain conditions; for example—Italian Thistle, a resilient invasive annual thistle prefers potassium deficient soils. Understanding the unique/peculiar preferences of invasive/undesirable plants allows insight into intensity and duration of grazing application, as soil dynamics can be changed through animal impact so as to promote specific conditions, favorable or unfavorable to different plants and microorganisms.
Finally, and most essentially, a grazer can kill a plant. The mechanical process of grazing can destroy a plants ability to deliver nutrients to itself, to photosynthesize and can damage a plants ability to derive a store nutrients and water from itself and the soil.
It is because the grazer works on multiple biological and physical levels that grazing is effective. What’s more, is a grazers ability to stimulate desirable ecological conditions such that soil, plant community and hydrological conditions are conducive to balance.

Grazing Technique

Modern Grazing technique employs a different methodology than traditional grazing. What’s more, modern grazing technique employs the holistic model which emphasizes sustainable practice in favor of production based, sustenance practices.
Contemporary grazing techniques are based upon the premise that grazing animals can be utilized as a tool for the maintenance and restoration of lands. Furthermore, modern grazing technique has developed through the application of grazing as a primary means to balance and attend to lands ecologically— different from traditional production based “non’-ecological models which derive mainly from confined system grazing systems which are essentially “non- sustainable” and not economically viable.
There are a variety of techniques graziers can utilize to mange lands sustainable including; bioregion specific grazing timing models, that target specific plants. Additionally, design of enclosures and/or exclosures based upon terrain, vegetation type, and strategic placement of water and supplemental feed, have a considerable effect on animal impact, and are important techniques every grazer should be aware of and utilize.
Similarly, graziers can modify feed supplementation to target certain types of vegetation, can utilize mixed or multi-species grazing to target or focus grazing activity, and can employ a variety of other simple feed supplement based techniques that focus and target grazing activity.
These are examples of some of the techniques involved in modern managed grazing systems. It is important to distinguish modern grazing activity from “traditional pastoral system grazing” , as modern grazing is a more ecologically oriented, precise and effective way to treat lands compared to “traditional system”.
Through the application of these techniques which also include behavioral and psychological animal husbandry techniques, grazing becomes a tenable and effective tool for resource management.

Riparian Managed Grazing

Our primary management concern in a riparian grazing setting is preservation of habitat and mitigation and containment of source and non- point source pollution. Grazing Management in Sensitive habitats, particularly in riparian areas or functional watersheds requires certain additional layers of animal management and planning than areas which are less susceptible or more adapted to animal impact
Managed grazing involves careful and intelligent management of grazing impact.
There are a variety of methods that can be employed that minimize the possibility of ecological damage as a result of riparian and watershed grazing.
Some of the most common and effective methods for managing grazing impact are: larger paddocks for larger herds, coupled with short duration grazing can minimize the buildup of fecal material (which is already negligible with goats and sheep) and allow for a less concentrated distribution of animal waste. Grazing Exclusions– In areas where animal waste is likely to enter either directly or indirectly into waterways, exclusions, which are fencing subdivisions can be constructed to prevent or further control animal access to certain areas. Grazing Timing; certain seasonal vegetative and weather and climate patterns can mitigate the flow, absorption and distribution of animal waste. Soil temperature, moisture content and climate determine the viability of bacteria colonies. (such as many Fecal Coli forms) Grazing Timing can provide an additional control, inhibiting bacteria from reproducing by providing conditions unfavorable to the bacterial colonies. Adequate vegetative cover can reduce the ground flow of water and capture and collect animal waste. Grazing in certain types of soils, which are not already saturated with water from rain or runoff can ensure rapid and increased absorption of animal waste, improving the delivery and containment of N,P and K .

These techniques are effective under most conditions and allow for the positive effects of grazing without compromising the delicate ecological balance in riparian areas. One important point to consider about managed grazing especially in sensitive ecological areas is that;” traditional confined system grazing” and “managed rotational system grazing” are wholly different and should not be confused. Many people unfamiliar with managed rotational grazing systems, which are appropriate in riparian zones, may have the false ideation that all grazing has the result of feedlot or small farm type grazing operations (confined system, which is inappropriate in riparian areas) . In fact Managed grazing is based on ecological principles that enhance natural systems. Managed grazing involves proper timing, distribution and density of animals (Grazing Allocation), which avoids the possibility of overgrazing, erosion and polluted watersheds.

Erosion is a function of many variables including but not limited to a soils ability to absorb water, vegetative cover, non-vegetative organic cover, flow and distribution of rainfall over soil horizon, slope and many other overarching factors effect or prevent erosive activity. On a fundamental level erosion can occur whenever a system is out of balance. A stable soil system in a riparian area will contain a certain type of vegetation that allows water to move through vegetation quickly and can also sustain itself through periods of heavy rainfall or drought. Native sedges and grasses are common sign of stable watershed function as these plants are primary and functional in riparian corridors. Grasses build and maintain soil structures, increasing a soils ability to absorb and distribute rainfall. Additionally grasses provide protective cover during the rainy season. Sedges filter and stem the flow of water and have similar function to grasses in a watershed.
Through the process of grazing and controlled animal impact, invasive plants such as Himalayan blackberry, French broom, and even our native poison oak can be controlled without the application of herbicide. What’s more, grazing leaves root systems intact providing a layer of stability to soil structure while shifting the ecotone towards more functional vegetation, such as grasses forbs, native plant cover and native trees. Mechanical removal of the aforementioned plants can disturb the soil at various levels. Short term managed grazing opens up the canopy created by opportunistic invasive plants that inhibits grasses and native herbs and forbs from establishing themselves in the riparian zone.

Many riparian areas contained largely non-native vegetation; plants that compete and impede functional and native plants ability to derive nutrients and light from their environment. Managed Grazing helps to reestablish more functional vegetation in watersheds and to mitigate the effects of non-native vegetation.
Grazing these corridors can invigorate the dormant native systems, and will increase the possibility for endemic systems to reestablish themselves. Plants require adequate light, which large stands of broom inhibit. Plants require the right balance of nutrients, broom, poison oak, vinca and Himalayan Blackberry diminish soil quality and directly effect the viability of functional/native riparian vegetation. Grazing produces an instant spike in N,P and K levels, nutrients all derived through the process of grazing invasive plants, which hoard these resources.

Living Systems Land Management, LLC
36034 Highway 33

Coalinga, California 93210

Have you discovered grass growing under or around your fence? A fenced-in yard offers several benefits. It creates a safer play area for children and pets; it creates a more private landscape; and it can potentially increase your home’s value.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for grass to grow around fences, making it difficult for homeowners to maintain. So, how do you prevent grass from growing under a fence?


Of course, you can always use a weed-eater to eliminate any grass, plants or weeds that emerge around your fence. Also known as a weed-whacker, it features a monofilament line that rapidly spins while chopping down brush.

Ideally, you should run the weed-eater as close to your fence as possible without actually touching the fence. This will remove the greatest amount of grass while protecting your fence and weed-eater from damage.

Vinyl Strips

A lesser-known tactic for keeping outdoor fences grass- and weed-free involves the use of vinyl strips. Assuming you have a traditional chain fence in your yard or landscape, you can apply a thin strip of vinyl underneath to discourage grass from growing. The vinyl strip only needs to be about 6 inches wide, running the length of your fence.

Spray It

Another option is to spray an herbicide against the base of your fence. This will kill any grass, plants or weeds, without damaging your fence. Roundup is highly effective for this purpose, or you can make your own herbicide using salt and/or vinegar mixed with water.

Whether you use a store-bought or homemade herbicide, though, you should apply it only in areas where you don’t want grass or weeds to grow. Spraying even small amounts on your healthy lawn will likely result in patches of brown, dead grass, so use it with caution.

If the grass isn’t bothering you, you could always ignore it. This isn’t always the best solution, though, as it typically spreads and grows into thicker brush if not addressed.

You can mow your lawn, but unfortunately you can’t easily mow around a fence. Given enough time, grass is certain to emerge from under a fence. Thankfully, though, there are ways to keep it under control. As outlined above, some possible solutions for keeping grass at bay includes weed-eating it, applying vinyl strips underneath, or spraying it with an herbicide. With a little bit of work, you can regain control of your lawn.

The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.

If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or

After a deluge of early summer rain my garden has exploded with growth. The veggies look as if they are on steroids and so do the roses. Unfortunately, so do the weeds, which are making a takeover bid for the entire garden. Urgent action is needed to stop them in their tracks.

Weedy orange alstromeria flowering in the berberis. Photo Jennifer Stackhouse

The keys to successful weed control are fast action and persistence. The fast action is needed to get them out of the picture before they set seed while persistence is required to get rid of the original weed and its progeny.

Grass heads poking up through the lavender hedge. Photo Jennifer Stackhouse

For annual weeds, it’s a quick fix. Pull them up before they flower and set seed and they’re gone. Easy-to-remove weeds include flickweed, milk thistle, petty spurge and cleavers but act fast as they move swiftly from flowering to spreading their seeds.

For others however, seeds are just one part of the overall survival plan. The eradication of perennial weeds needs long-term commitment from a persistent gardener. For weeds such as oxalis, onion twitch, a grassy plant that grows from a bulb, and orange alstromeria, which are all feral in this garden, persistence is required often for years.

Arum lily and weedy daisy: get rid of weed flowers before they form seed.
Photo Jennifer Stackhouse

Think like a weed

Getting rid of weeds also requires cunning. The successful gardener needs to think like a weed to understand how they grow. Weeds are opportunists – if they spot a piece of bare earth they’ll grab it, and they’re hard to shift once they’ve moved in. Leaving bare soil invites weeds in, so cover bare patches with mulch or generous plantings.

Unfortunately, weeds also like to grow among other plants often growing among the roots of shrubs and going unnoticed until they flower.

Most weeds have more than one survival strategy so dispersing seeds is just one angle. The most successful weeds also multiply by reproducing in other ways – such as with underground bulbs or corms or by sending out runners that form new plants. Some also allow their tops to come away leaving their root systems intact to regrow.

When persistent weeds are disturbed – for example by desperate gardeners, who are trying to get rid of them – they take the opportunity to spread. While it may be possible to remove the odd small weedy outbreak by carefully digging it out, larger infestations of persistent weeds need a planned campaign for a successful attack.

The oxalis experience

Our garden has been invaded by oxalis. The invasion began long before we arrived so the oxalis was well established by the time it was my turn to deal with it. I’ve tried many strategies including digging out small clumps, excluding light with newspaper and mulch, and finally the ‘lawn’ solution.

Getting rid of oxalis needs a long-term approach

Digging doesn’t work and oxalis can grow through paper and heavy mulch. The lawn solution has proved to be the most successful strategy to date but it’s a long-term approach.

To rid the vegetable garden of oxalis – which grew so lush and tall in the summer that it engulfed the vegetables – I removed the vegie beds, leveled the site and turned the area into lawn. The cunning plan is to keep mowing the lawn and any emerging oxalis to weaken the bulbs and prevent flowering. The repeated mowing stops the weed from storing energy in its bulb. By not cultivating the soil, the bulbs are not being disturbed, so they are not spreading and, without flowering, they are also not setting seed.

After two years the oxalis has been slow to emerge among the lawn although it has popped up vigorously where there’s no grass. Despite the promising early results, it’ll be a long time before I’ll make a garden bed in that area again.

I had the space to move the vegetables to another area. In a smaller garden, they could be grown in raised vegetable beds or pots in the same area, while an eradication project is underway. To keep the oxalis from invading new beds, lay a root barrier before filling the bed with an imported organic garden mix.

A weed with an honourable history

I have also waged a campaign against tradescantia (formerly called wandering jew). This lush weed known botanically as Tradescantia alba had spread through many shaded parts of the garden, weaving its way under shrubs and around the base of trees. It causes skin irritation in dogs, which was one of the reasons I was keen to eliminate it from my dog-friendly garden.

To rid your garden of Tradescantia alba requires careful and persistent weeding

Tradescantia spreads by stems and runners. Even the smallest piece can form a new plant. As it grows it creates a network of rhizomes under mulch and in the top of few centimetres of the soil to fuel regrowth. To remove it permanently it’s important to remove all of the plant including the fine and brittle parts under the soil and mulch.

Careful and persistent weeding brings this green nuisance under control but continued follow up is vital. Even three and a half years down the track I regularly spot new outbreaks, which I carefully pull out, put in a bag and place in the garbage bin.

The plant is named in honour of plant hunters Englishmen John Tradescant the Elder (1570s-1638) and his son, John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1662), who both collected plants in far-flung places. Magnolias and the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) are among their introductions. Tradescantias weedy nature perhaps wasn’t realised when botanists named it in their honour. For gardeners who encounter this weed, the Tradescants are unlikely to be forgotten.

This article was originally published on Garden Drum and is republished here under Creative Commons.

About Jennifer Stackhouse

She was editor of ABC ‘Gardening Australia’ magazine and now edits the trade journal ‘Greenworld’ magazine and writes regularly for the Saturday magazine in ‘The Mercury’. She is often heard on radio and at garden shows answering garden queries.

Tagsgarden gardening Lifestyle weeds

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