Creeping phlox- weeds out of control

basilno(4)June 10, 2014

We bought a house 4 1/2 years ago with neglected perennial beds/ trees etc. I've successfully battled paccysandra and goutweed but I can't keep the weeds out of the creeping phlox. Any suggestions? Or do I just tear it out and start over?

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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I see this all the time in old beds of creeping phlox. I suppose you could carefully paint each weed with Roundup being really careful not to get any on your phlox, but I think it would be easier to pull everything out - get rid of the weeds - carefully and thoroughly pull every weed out of the clumps of phlox and replant. It should recover quickly and in a year you probably won't even notice the bed was redone.

In the future (and you probably know this), pull every weed when you see it.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:39PM
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I fold my Phlox back to the central stem and pull the weeds. It is easier than trying to dig through the plant and get at the weed's roots. Easy-peasy.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 11:31PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have a lot of large patches of phlox. I mulch heavily under them and for the most part that is working. I have one patch that is showing grass coming up through it and I have no idea where that came from because it's not near any grass. I've been busy with other things, but I will just have to get to it this week and I'll do as Linda does, fold back to the center, pull all the weeds out, then replenish the heavy mulch. If I had persistent weeds coming through, I'd probably lay down some thick cardboard under bark mulch to keep it from coming back.

edit: Not that Kevin's suggestion to dig them up and weed and put back has no merit. I can think of some types of weeds that if their root system was intertwined with the roots of the phlox might require his suggestion. But I would still try my way to see if that wouldn't take care of it first, before I would dig them up and replant.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Wed, Jun 11, 14 at 5:52

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:50AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I agree with Linda and PM2. Phlox is pretty easy to just push aside or lift up, and you can weed that way. If the weeds are too entangled with the roots of the phlox, then you may have to take Kevin's suggestion to dig up the entire thing, clear the weeds, and then replant the phlox. But I would try lifting and weeding first.

If your creeping phlox is near the lawn, you may want to consider putting in some kind of physical barrier - edging, etc. - after weeding to help keep the grass out of the phlox. And while I never thought to mulch my phlox, that's not a bad idea at all, to help keep down the weeds underneath.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 8:41AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

at worst.. in fall ... when there are cool nights ... ID individual plants ... and trim the back ... dig them out.. remove all them weeds growing thru the roots ...

renovate the bed ... replant.. and mulch heavy ...

like all of us.. you want the easy way out.. sometimes ... its all about some hard work ...

try what they suggest ... for this summer.. if you lose.. get to work ...

or just get rid of the whole ...

you didnt favor us with a pic .... so we really dont understand how bad it all is ...

MOST perennials ... 99%.. can be dug and moved ... mid summer isnt the best for all plants ... depending on your experience level ... [i could do it now.. and not care if i lost half the plants.. and that is the key ... lol ... not that i would do it better... its that i would NOT have a stroke if i failed ... anything would look better than it is now ... never fear your failures... you wont learn anything.. nor get anything done if you dont try .]

as an experiment.. you could do half the bed now ... see how well you did.. by fall ...

then do half in fall ... and see if you do better... comparing next spring ...

and you instantly become.. the new CP expert on GW ...

never forget.. failure.. and empty spot in the garden bed .... is just an opportunity for something new ... its called gardening ...


    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 9:51AM
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Thanks everyone!
The weeds are too solidly there to just pull up and remove (but it's nice to know that with better maintenance it could be like that).
I'll likely move them and then find some way to get rid of the weeds (any opinions on round up vs a few weeks of black plastic??- I don't really like using roundup but occassionally do in small amounts)
(And it will likely be the fall anyway since there will be more space in the vegetable garden to plant it temporarily then.)
(I'll try to get a pic up at some point, it's right in some granite ledge and that makes it a little more complicated in terms of mulch not washing away).
(I'd probably have torn it out and thrown it away years ago if it didn't look so nice this time of year.)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 3:29PM
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