My garden is overgrown with perennials and weeds. The garden just doesn't seem as vibrant as it should. Do you recommend I start over or try to fix what is there?
If the majority of the garden needs help it is time to start over. Dig the plants you want to keep and either pot them up or heel them into a temporary location in a vacant spot in the landscape.
Add 2 to 4 inches of organic matter such as compost, aged manure or peat moss to the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. This will improve drainage in heavy soils and increase the water holding capacity of sandy soils.
Avoid piling extra soil over the roots or deep tilling under the canopy of shade trees. This can injure or even kill some trees.
Be sure to kill any weeds and unwanted perennials before replanting the prepared site. Use a total vegetation killer to kill existing weeds and unwanted perennials before amending the soil and if needed before planting. Whether using traditional or new environmentally friendly products read and follow label directions carefully. All these products are plant killers and can injure or kill your desirable plants as well as the weeds.
Solarization, covering the garden with clear plastic for 4 to 6 weeks during the summer, after preparing the soil or mulching the newly planted garden with several layers of newspaper and woodchips can help reduce the weed problem without the use of chemicals.
Mulch new and existing gardens with shredded leaves, twice shredded bark, or other organic material to conserve moisture, reduce weeds and improve the soil.
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