Is mulch the best for weed prevention? I know pea gravel is good for other plants but what about roses?
Personally, pea gravel is a pain in the butt. I use a layer of newspaper covered by either wood chips or hay. The last time I chipped, I put it down so heavily, it's taken two years to rot down and become ineffective. It usually only lasts a year.
2-3 inches of mulch--after you have pulled out all the weeds--will keep down the weeds, but not completely eliminate them. However, the few that manage to root in that mulch will pull out real easy. If the roots go down under the mulch into the dirt, that means you didn't pull them out completely in the first place.
The 2-3 inches of mulch also mean that your beds won't dry out so fast, so there will be less watering.
Definitely, mulch is the direction to go. Pea gravel can't do most of the things mulch does.
There are products that say they will keep your garden weed-free all season. Says so right on the package. I strongly suggest that you not use any kind of chemical like that, that you don't believe everything you read on packages, and that you search the product by name in GW.
I don't care for mulch or anything else myself. I'm a barefoot gardener and I don't like walking on it. Besides that it washes away on me and that gets too expensive. But a lot of people use it and they love it. I also know some people who use stone and pea gravel and they swear by it. So it's more like a matter of taste.
Just wondering if anyone has had luck controlling weeds with strong vinegar?
I like to tuck little flowers in among my roses (violas, pansies, vinca, etc) so mulch works much better for me -- digging in pea gravel is a pain. Mulch is also easier when you apply fertilizer (if you like to mix it into the topsoil).
My tip is to apply fresh mulch in the fall. The worst weeds in my garden are those that germinate in fall and during mild spells in winter. Touch up the mulch in spring as needed.
Don't use gravel. Use bark, leaves, wood chips, or shredded lawn waste. These will improve the soil a great deal over the course of the years.
Organic mulch (composted shredded trees, bark, compost) is for flower beds.
Gravel is for parking spots. It is a good mulch for desert plants such as Agave, Cacti, Yucca, that can be left undisturbed for a decade or more. Digging around with gravel present mixes the gravel into the soil. Mess results.
I've tried vinegar for weeds. It works best on the tiny ones. Repeated treatments required for larger weeds, which makes it easier just to pull them.
Like Cecily, I like to tuck flowers between the roses...but I also add alyssum, which shades out the weeds and bring in beneficial bugs. Works great in the vegetable garden, too :)
Has anyone tried the corn gluten meal? I have used it for years on the lawn, and I am happy with the results. I have not used it on the roses as I grow roses from seeds in the same beds that I have mature roses. I am afraid that the corn gluten meal would inhibit the growth of young roots on the seedlings.