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Using Weed Barrier in the Landscape

I recently purchased a home that has wood chips around the trees and shrubs. The previous owner did not lay a weed barrier under the chips and we have grass and weeds coming through?  What product can I use to control them? Should I put weed barrier down before adding more chips?

Do not place weed barrier under woodchips.  As the wood chips break down they create a perfect environment (compost) for unwanted plants to grow.  I have pulled weed barrier out of landscapes where the sod, shrubs and weeds have grown right through the composted mulch and weed barrier.  Plus the weed barrier prevents the composted woodchips from improving the soil and helping your trees and shrubs grow.  Save the weed barrier for use under rock mulch.  

In the meantime pull the weeds you can - it's better for the environment.  Spot treat the remaining weeds with a total vegetation killer.  Or try one of the more eco-friendly products that use vinegar, soaps and plant oils to burn off the tops of the plants.  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.

Maintain a 2 to 3 inch layer of woodchips around your trees and shrubs to reduce weed growth.  Keep the mulch away from the trunk of the trees and crown of the shrubs.  A little weeding every year usually will keep the unwanted plants out of your planting bed.


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