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Don't want to mow the area.

Posted by sjt2900 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 18:00

I have an area off our deck I'd like to plant next year, but am tired of mowing now. I thought I'd remove the grass and use wood mulch for the time being. But then I came home from a 3day trip to find a million tiny tree seeds growing in the mulch under a tree I've under planted. The other bed would be much larger and I'd hate to have to clear all these seeds from that area. I'm sure it's going to take me several days to pull these tiny plants from under the tree. I guess my question is, if I mulch this area, do I just have to deal with the tiny tree seeds, or does anyone have any other suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 19:26

Spray with weedkiller.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

I "second" cat's suggestion.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

I'm liking this idea! The weed killer won't harm the plants I have growing under the tree?


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

Weed killers/herbicides can be non-selective. In other words, they can kill everything they come into contact with.

If you've got your tree under-planted, pulling tree seedlings is your best option. Most of them will die off if sprouting mainly on the mulch surface. And once any survivors develop a true leaf or two, they're quite easy to pull.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

If you want to kill the plant, spray it with weed killer. If you don't want to kill the plant, do not get any weed killer on it. Mainly we'd be talking about Round-up ... a general purpose non-selective weed killer. Usually, one must pull weeds that are close to other plants and limit spraying to the weeds that are not so close to the desirable plants. Account for wind as it can have an impact.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

Sometimes raking thru the mulch disturbs the seedlings enough to kill them or you can take a large piece of card board and bend it in a circular, half tube shape, to hold in one hand to shield your plantings from roundup as you spray the weed sprouts.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

Thanks! I was wondering if I could try raking the mulch. The more I thought about it I knew I couldn't use weed killer so close to existing plants. I like how everything's looking and just don't want to take a chance. It would have to be roundup, wouldn't it? Because the seedlings aren't weeds.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

I use Round-up under my shade trees, for close to shade plants I get close and let a tiny drop get on the weeds. After a while you should get less weeds. I am hoping to eventually have groundcover plants take over as my trees get bigger. If I do weekly maintenance it isn't hard to keep up with the weeds, unless we get tons of rain, then sunshine. When we have that it gets a bit weedy fast. Basically what others have suggested I guess.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

My Texas Ash makes millions of seedlings in a mulched area too. I do something similar to frankielynn when I'm dealing with poison ivy. I have some 5 gallon buckets with the bottoms cut out, and I placed those over the poison ivy before spraying.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

The trick is to know your adversary. You're too late for this year but next year the tree seedlings will appear about the same time. Seeds develop a root first. It is after the germination process starts and before there is a root to sustain the plant that it is most vulnerable. Careful observation can determine when this occurs.

For microscopic seeds at the surface, merely sweeping the surface with a broom at the right time, followed by drying can eliminate better than 90% of the weeds. For larger seeds the critical time can be weeks ahead of seeing surface sprouts. Even for tree seed, raking and drying can be effective if done at the right time.


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RE: Don't want to mow the area.

Have you looked into using a hola hoe , also known as a shuffle hoe ?
It usually runs easily under a bedding of mulch and cuts the weed in half,
If the soil is soft enough you can go a little deeper and really sever the weed.

Most hand pump sprayers have a nozzle that you can adjust the spray pattern to so that you limit the spray to just a 'point'.
But if overspray is an issue you might try doing what the California vineyards do and that is to wrap a cotton pc. of cloth around the end of the spayer and just swab the weed with the moist end of the cloth. No over spray.


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