queenbee_1(7)April 27, 2012

How do you handle the weeds in your rose beds?

I have 78 and planting more--in wide rows beside our drive way. It took me 4.5 hours today-- pruning, spraying and weeding my beauties.. I have mulch (rabbit manure/pine shavings) about a ft around each one.. It works nicely to keep the weeds down but between the 'girls' I am getting lots of grasses and other weeds... Thank goodness, I have a great pair of pruners, a good pair of gloves and a wonderful hoe...

Thanks for any ideas/suggestions.

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buford(7 NE GA)

When I'm pruning and my roses are bare, I take out any weeds growing and put down fresh mulch and fertilizer. The last two years I've used Preen (you can put it over the mulch) it prevents weed seeds from germinating. If you want to go organic, there is an organic version of Preen which I believe is cornmeal.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 6:50PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I get down on my hands and knees and pull them...repeatedly! It's still the best way I know of to control weeds. Using a small hoe when they are very small also works well but I don't like leaving them lie there so I end up crawling around to pick them up anyway.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 7:33PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I also pull them by hand--and then put down about 3 inches of mulch. Some weeds will try to grow later in the mulch, but they won't be able to develop decent root systems, so then it is really easy for me to zip along and pull those critters out with no effort at all. Fortunately, the heavy mulch keep out most of the weeds.

It is important with that spring weed pulling to make sure you pulled the weed out by the roots. If the roots are still in the ground, that weed will return and not even 3 inches of mulch will make it any easier to pull out that weed.

For those who don't want to do the heavy mulch, then do it the old fashioned way my father did in his weed-free vegetable garden. With his hoe, he religiously cultivated the soil EVERY WEEK between the vegetables. As a result, the weeds never had a chance to develop roots and he could whiz down those rows in no time at all.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 8:17PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I walked most of the lower yard area outside of the veggie garden with my faithful Hoe. Mom liked the "morning glories" a few years back...boy do I hate tangle weed!

I had enough of some kind of weed in the upper yard that I skimmed off the top two inches of a dirt pathway in the upper garden and hauled it down for the chickens to enjoy pecking them up. The chickens better do there work (I dumped them in an area I can easy get them if the chickens dont)

And then there are the boysenberry runners. And the figs and then feverfew and the.....

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Yea, I pull the larger grass/weeds and hoed out the small ones... I wanted to get them all out before they seeded. IF my math is correct-- I prevented a million other little weeds! LOL.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 8:06AM
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Campanula UK Z8

actually, there is an argument to remove the smaller weeds while leaving a few larger weeds such as lambs quarters, purslane, nettle and dandelions to reach a goodly size. The arguments for weeds can be summarised thus - they fiberise the soil, leaving rootmass which is used by microlife. They aid in the aeration of compacted soils, even breaking up hardpan. They can extract nutrients from subsoil and may be composted at the end of their lifecycle, thereby removing no nutrition from the ecosystem. They allow the passage of water both ways by capillary action alongside the tunnels made by questing roots. I have an enjoyeable little booklet supplied by the small farms archive by a Mr.J.Concanneur - will find online address and post links.
Basically, try to love your weeds - they are not the villains we once believed.
try this link:

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Well, then, Camp, I appear to be a weed's best friend. I never seem to stay caught up. My problem is I can't seem to get them out before they go to seed, and here in Florida they will overwhelm your plants and roses because they come up by the thousands--and they get big, really big.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 4:54PM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

My worst weed is Bermuda! Wow that stuff is hard to get rid of!!! Give me nut sedge any day!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:00PM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

My worst weed is Bermuda! Wow that stuff is hard to get rid of!!! Give me nut sedge any day!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:15PM
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caldonbeck(UK (8))

Campanula is correct, and some of them attract insects that other plants wont, but I still pull them out lol.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Around my roses weeds are not a serious problem, as I decided the Oxlalis can stay, but around my Paeonia I have grass including quack.

I take a sand shovel or one can use a a smaller flower garden equivalent and put the shovel in at a shovel width or at least five inches away from the flower.

Do not just dig the dirt out but break a chunk loose with each shovel thrust, then after you have finished the cirle around the bush, take a smaller shovel or a trowel and (depending on how solid your dirt is) pick up each chunk and put it in a wheel-barrow or something similar.

Then clean up the circle with what ever digging tool you are using going as deep as is safe, leave a fairly verticle outer wall and fill the hole with mulch.
It will do the plant good and make removing future weeds easy for many years.

Depending on how wide your bed is, away farther away from the roses, scrape away the mulch, do as many shovels full as need and simply invert each shovel full putting it back into its own hole.
If you are digging a hole each time roughly as deep as the shovel, few weeds can or will survive.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:26AM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

When I bought my house in '04, the soil on the house pad level was dead. The previous owners were in their 90s and killed the soil, put down weed barrier and covered the whole thing with decorative rock.

The first year the rock was removed, hardly any weeds grew. As I started creating the garden and mulching the planting beds, the other areas were pretty much ignored. Over time, the nature of the weeds has changed. The first volunteers have been crowded out by other weeds and now, in the uncultivated areas there are more grasses growing. However, there are still areas where even weeds won't grow.

It takes years to bring soil back to life.

Last fall, due to a shoulder injury, I didn't get down my normal fall mulch. The weeds this year in most of the yard are simply awful. I did whack them back before they went to seed and am able to do the labor to mulch again, but it's going to take a while before they are under control.

I may hate weeding, but at least the soil is coming back.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:50AM
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Campanula UK Z8

hold your nerve, floridarose - only SOME will get really big. Many of those little weed seedlings will be thugged out by other bigger weeds. Let the weeds actually do some of the work for you - treat annual weeds as ground cover but most of all, use every single weed by either using it as a 'trash' mulch, digging it under the soil or composting - including seeds and roots - get a big enough heap and give it time to rot and nothing of value will be lost from your soil.
10 years of vicious (losing) battle has given me a more pragmatic attitude to the horrors all over my allotment.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Campanula, that's a very interesting take on weeds. I never thought of them that way. I am a weed-phobe and scthe tiniest weed cannot escape the scuff of my foot. Maybe I'll let a few live now.

We have mulched heavily over the years to reduce weeding among the roses. Not just around the bushes, but the whole rose garden (40 bushes).

Here is a link that might be useful: weed linky

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:01PM
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seil zone 6b MI

You know Campanula may have something there. I do know that a lot of things we consider to be noxious weeds here are grown as potted plants in places where they're not native. I have a very good friend who spent a year in China for work. She found dandelions potted up, like gerbera daisies would be here, in the nurseries! Apparently they don't grow wild there. Jeesh! I could make a fortune with all the ones in my lawn, lol!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:03AM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


Maybe we should go into business together. Yesterday, I killed a dandy that could have won a trophy. It was two feet tall. And I have a whole crop of them coming up in the Linda Campbell bed. Oh ... and there are more up on the house pad level. No shortage here.

I've allowed a few other "weeds" to just go ahead and seed themselves throughout the yard ... feverfew and California poppies are popping up all over. I decided that if I had to have weeds, I might as well have weeds I like.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I'm a groundcover person. I've got small areas of different 'test' groundcovers around my beds. I also like some perennials that keep the weeds back.

Veronica 'Crater Lake'
Veronica 'Waterperry'
Catmint 'Walker's Low'
Clover 'Dancing Dark'
Snow in Summer
Mother of Thyme
Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'
Lamium 'White Nancy'

All are excellent at keeping weeds down. Not all are in use under or around roses, but are just the ones I have so far. Another summer, another couple new varieties to try.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)


Nothing like having some daisies behind those roses, the feverfew. We have it popping up all over too, it so easy to pull, it is a good weed here.

Same with the CA poppies, I was digging up baby tiny seedlings all over from the self sown seeds from fall. I guess I might worry about it some day, but for now they are welcome to pop up.

The calendula comes up like mad too, also easy to yank out when you discover the gopher is using it at cover from the neighbors cat...my bed looks a bit bare for now.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:24PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I have to laugh because I bought several packets of CA poppy seeds to plant in my garden. Not a single one came up, lol! See, for you a weed, for me a garden plant.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)


I have planted the seeds for years, only a few here and there ever made it. A couple of years ago I decided that rather than spend my gas $$ on hunting CA Poppies in the hills here, I would buy a few at the local nursery. One of those plants has bloomed or been alive almost since that time. And drops seeds, I hit the seeds with the leaf blower and...my own poppy plants. I keep digging a few up and moving them, the next year I have a new batch of babies that pop up.

I got a 6 pack of different colored poppies, those I have had no luck with babies, but they are busy blooming like mad after a year in the ground. Along with the columbines that did next to nothing for a year.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:16PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

CA poppies don't like to be transplanted and all of the commercial seed I tried never took. So, one year I harvested a plant from a vacant lot, planted it in a container .. knowing it would die .. and placed the container where I wanted the poppies to grow. I figured that as a last gasp, the plant would throw seed to continue the species. It worked !

Last year, I harvested the seed pods just before they were completely ripe and threw them down in the weed patch in one of my street beds. Today, I saw several small poppy plants down there, so I guess I am going to have to water the weed patch to help them get established before the triple digit temps hit.

btw .. I found out that if you cut off all of the seed pods, the poppies re-bloom.

In the photo I've attached, the first batch of poppies that grew from seed from my dying plant can be seen behind 'Ralph's Creeper'. Of course, I now have poppies coming up all over the yard, but that's fine with me. I like them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Poppies and Ralph's Creeper

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:49AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Very pretty!

I have had pretty good luck moving the poppy babies, but I have to make sure I dig deep and get all of the tap root. The juice in the root is just as orange as the poppies. I just transplant the ones that are in places they will not make it, like in the middle of a walk or something similar.

I just took mine and cut the tops short, new growth is already on the way up.

I did put the tops in the green bin, I figured I did not need them in the compost and on in to the garden next year, just in case those seeds are hardy.

Like Roseblush, I put a bunch of seed in on a low wall where I wanted the poppies, I had a few sprout and that is the source of some of my babies this year.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 1:14AM
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Oh, Camp, I do have an area where I dump all my weeds and let them compost down. Here in Florida, though, let's use chickweed as an example. Before I had my knee surgery, I had to let everything go. The chickweed climbed up into and virtually covered the top of Pink Pet, Martha Gonzales and Gourmet Popcorn. They were sticks underneath all that chickweed. They did recover once I pulled it all out. We have a weed commonly called Soda Apple. It has prickles worse than any rose and can take over an entire pasture in a master of months. You can imagine what would do in a rose bed if allowed to go to seed. The list goes on and on. I am surrounded by orange groves and pastures so someone who lives in an urban area cannot imagine the weed seeds that blow in here.

Do Shirley Poppies grow in California? They are easy to start from seed and often reseed--although come to think of it, so do California Poppies here.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:04AM
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dan_keil_cr Keil(Illinois z5)

A good thick mulch is the secret. In my garden I use bark mulch and I have it 1-2' thick. I have a Green Ash and many Silver Maple trees that like to cover my beds with seeds. I also have a 90 acre park behind me with a zillion dandelions in it. Considering all that I have very few weeds in my beds!

For all of you with grass problems.Google grass killers. These products will not kill broadleafs just grasses. I'm not sure who puts it out. I saw the product on a store shelf last year.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Dan, I do mulch heavily. While it does cut down on weeds, it doesn't totally stop it.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 7:03PM
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The organic version of Preen is NOT corn meal, but corn gluten. Big difference. It is generally sold under the name Concern and you will probably only find it in a seed and feed store. It doubles as a fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:58PM
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dan_keil_cr Keil(Illinois z5)

Yeah, no matter how thick the mulch is dandelions will grow thru it!!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Dan, was that 1 to 2 FEET? That is a lot of mulch.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:59PM
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The only weed I cultivate is nettles in a place of their own. We love nettle soup and can hardly wait for the nettles to regrow after picking. When they are over in a few weeks we leave them for the butterflies. All other weeds are eradicated. I wish. I don't bother with lawn weeds, though. The lawn stays green in drought as weeds are tougher than grass.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:34PM
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I top off the mulch as soon as it's down to an inch and rarely have any weeds. I am quite tolerant of Virginia creeper, the occasional wood violet and that tall white wild aster (looks like boltonia).
I also have pinks, catmint, purple setcrease, salvias and many other low growing spreaders occupying the spaces between the roses.
I think nature hates a monoculture and if you don't diversify your rose garden-- well, Mother Nature will do it for you!!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 3:49PM
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