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ground cover dilemma

Posted by deee z8 midlands SC (My Page) on
Tue, May 30, 06 at 7:31

We recently had a landscaper develop a plan for our front yard. My husband did the planting and we were very happy with the results until just recently.

Our mulched areas used to have the ubiquitous southern look - black weed tarp covered with pine straw. Part of the new plan was to pull up the weed tarp and plant hundreds of asiatic jasmine for ground cover. The planting was done in February and March of this year.

Now that the growing season is in full swing, our mulched areas look horrible. The jasmine seems to be doing fine, but we are unable to keep up with the weeds and grass that are growing too. Every couple of days my husband goes out and pulls a giant bucket of grass and weeds but it barely makes a dent. I'm afraid that when we go on vacation the beds will be overrun with weeds and grass.

Can anyone give me some advice on how to keep the mulched areas looking nice until the jasmine fills in?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: ground cover dilemma

I had similar difficulties with some large areas I had planted with groundcover. It seemed that every time I pulled a weed, 10 more weed seeds would be raised to the surface, where they germinated and grew.

I started treating the weeds with Roundup, very carefully squirting each weed with a small amount. A windless day is best to avoid drifting of the herbicide. You can also put some roundup in a cup, and use a small paintbrush to dab the weeds, or dip a rubber-gloved finger in it and touch the plants. If they're too close to the Jasmine to spray, pull the weeds and sprinkle a bit of Preen on those areas.

Did you mulch between the Jasmine? If not, that will help keep weeds from sprouting and the ones that do sprout will be easier to pull.

RE: ground cover dilemma

Hi Deee & Jo/Saypoint,

This post is interesting to me because it's the Asiatic Jasmine that is already considered THE ubiquitous 80's-90's suburban Austin look! It's everywhere, and is used for many commercial landscapes. Actually, I've got the opposite problem - been here nearly two years and can't get rid of it.

Jasmine was planted in one large bed where it had strangled a few roses, and of course once it hit something vertical it climbed and turned into a twining vine. By the time we came, it had made cocoons of some flowering shrubs and encased the wooden privacy fence, wrapping around and through the spaces between the boards like wire. I think the previous owner hoped it could combat the Virginia creeper which pops up all over the shade areas of the yard, but instead, the creeper grows up through the jasmine, then heads for the lawn. In front, it was grown without edging, and has infiltrated the lawn area for many square yards, so Deee, I hope you have some edging or a trench.

I just keep digging it all up. I don't use Roundup anyway, but have read that Asiatic Jasmine has a sort of waxy cuticle(?) that keeps Roundup from penetrating and working, so if you do what Jo says, it might not hurt it much.

Around here the Asiatic Jasmine looks very tidy and dense when planted around a single tree, and when it is kept under control with regular mowing, whipping and edging.


RE: ground cover dilemma

Regular whippings. The dominatrix-gardener?



RE: ground cover dilemma

You are dealing with a common 'lazy gardening' southern landscape idea. As Annie mentions, this type of planting is supposed to be closely cropped to a height of about 6"-8" (or a height pleasing to you) every two weeks using a weed eater. When this is done the weeds do not show. No one ever pulls the weeds...just whack everything back to a uniform height.

RE: ground cover dilemma

  • Posted by deee z8 midlands SC (My Page) on
    Tue, May 30, 06 at 12:10

Nandina - 'lazy gardening" is right up my alley! Since I am a lazy gardener, I was hoping for some kind of landscaping "trick" to help keep back all the weeds and the grass until the jasmine fills in.

I just went out and filled a large drywall bucket of weeds in about 5 minutes. I'm too lazy to figure out exactly how much area I'm talking about, but I wanted to cry when I saw how quickly I filled up that bucket.

I just mentioned to my husband that I can't believe that all the high end homes and fancy office parks in my area put up with a weedy mess while the jasmine grew.

RE: ground cover dilemma

Corn gluten keeps crabgrass seeds from sprouting and doesn't kill established plants. I sprinkle corn gluten around all my planted beds. Could help a little bit.

RE: ground cover dilemma

annieaustin had good advice and I am interested in what you actually have in place. Do you have a good layer of mulch? And is the grass random weed grasses, or invasion/remainder of lawn? Also the point about "pulling up" weeds often not being the best approach especially for large or tenacious weeds is correct, since it continually disturbs the soil and mulch interface and exposes more weed seeds, plus many weeds and grasses simply tear off at their tops and you haven't really removed them. So the approach described above with correct mulch material and depth and judicious use of Roundup is an important way to stay under control the first couple of years, and it has worked for me.

Groundcovers ARE often a lot of work to establish correctly and the payoff is delayed.

Memorial to a Live Oak

Dig, dig, dig, pull, pull, pull.
Eventually it will cover and crowd everything else. Thomasville, GA has many pretty landscapes with jasmine ground cover, kept whipped into submission.

The ground cover AND what looks like a large shrub on the right is all trachelospermum. When the big live oak broke off, hollow, I elected to leave the stump. Existing jasmine covered it in a season or two. It cannot compete with grapevine, holds its own with Virginia creeper, but will cover just about anything else, once it gets going. I do have to remove wild cherry, pokeweed and other strong seedlings sometimes.

One other thing: If you're prone to allergies, you don't want this close to your house. When it's in full flower, it will take your breath away.


RE: ground cover dilemma

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 30, 06 at 16:44

A pre-emergent herbicide will keep new weeds from sprouting without interfering with the spread of the jasmine. For existing weeds Round-up and/or pulling are your options.

RE: ground cover dilemma

  • Posted by deee z8 midlands SC (My Page) on
    Tue, May 30, 06 at 20:29

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. It sounds like we'll just have to suffer a bit until it fills in.

Frankie - we do have a layer of pine straw. Most of the grasses are weeds, not invasion of lawn grass.

I definitely will try the careful application of Roundup and a pre-emergent herbicide.

RE: ground cover dilemma

Roundup WILL kill your asian jasmine or at best stunt the growth. I picked up a product at callaway's nursery called. Ortho Grass B Gone it is in a green bottle. It works well and does not harm your jasmine.
In addition it takes about 2 years for the jasmine to really take off. Keep adding jasmine to your bare spots by either purchasing or clipping and replanting (do some web searches it will show you how). Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scott's

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