It doesn’t have to be just morning glory. Any weed or vine type of plant (weed) that is growing in your landscaping or flower beds that is causing problems can be eliminated without a great deal of difficulty.
Wild Morning Glory Elimination.
First things first. Let’s understand that all weeds are plants, living things. In order to thrive they need the same things that desirable plants need for survival.
We can’t take away their water source because they are drawing water from the same soil that your desirable plants are. We can’t take away their nutrition for the same reason. They are getting nutrients from the soil as well. That only leaves us one thing we can control and that’s the amount of sunlight that the weeds, Wild Morning Glory in this case, are receiving.
Our Mission is to Sunlight Starve Wild Morning Glory and other Undesirable Weeds and Vines in the Landscape.
These are the steps we need to take.
1. Since these vines tend to climb into and all through the plants in our landscape we first need to pull them out of the shrubs but not necessarily break them off at the ground or attempt to pull up the roots. Chances are you’ve already tried to uproot them with little long term success. In this case we are really trying to untangle them from the desirable plants without harming them. Sounds crazy doesn’t it.
Just untangle them and lay them out horizontally on the soil, roots still happily attached in the soil.
2. The next step is to cover them with cardboard or a fairly thick layer of newspaper. In this situation cardboard is best, but if you don’t have it use newspaper at least 9 to 15 pages thick. Keep in mind, our goal here has two purposes. We want to smother the living weeds and at the same time make certain that no sunlight reaches the soil where they are growing and where ungerminated seeds might be lying in wait.
3. As you layout the cardboard or newspaper start at the back of the bed and work yourself out of the bed. But do only one section at a time, maybe 24″ to 30″ wide, then apply a nice thick layer of mulch over the cardboard or newspaper. Apply mulch at least 2″ thick, 3″ is better. The mulch will hold down the covering material, pressing it firmly against the weeds and the soil and at the same time it will also help to block any sunlight to the soil.
Do one section, apply the mulch, then do another section. Make sure the covering material (cardboard or newspaper) overlaps by at least 3″ at each seam.
4. Continue this process until the entire bed is covered with a covering material and a thick layer of mulch.
You Have to Take the Time to Get it Right!
Remember, this is a mission. You can’t be in a hurry. Each step has to be done precisely and thoroughly. Step #1 one is the most critical. If you leave weeds growing up against the stems of the plants, or don’t get the covering material or mulch up tight around the stems of the plants, the process will not be successful.
The Death of these Undesirable Weeds has to Be Painful and Agonizing.
Wow! That sounds cruel. If you pull the weeds and break them off at the ground before you start you are setting in motion a recovery mission on their side of this battlefield. If broken off they immediately go into repair mode and work vigorously to get new growth exposed to sunlight. If we smother them in the manor that I’ve describe here they don’t know how to react.
True? Not true? I honestly don’t know. I believe it to be true.
5. Step number five is an option depending on how you like to garden. Once you have completed steps one through four you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide like Preen to keep weed seeds from germinating in the mulch that you’ve applied. That’s what Preen does. It casts a vapor guard over the surface to which it is applied and as soon as a weed seed germinates it nips it in the bud. Literally.
Most people have poor success with a product like Preen because they fail to properly prepare the flower beds before they use the product. If you do the preperation as described above the beds should stay weed free for weeks. If you want to use Preen it might be better to wait a few weeks then apply it. It only works for a few weeks once applied, probably no more than 12 weeks, so if you wait a few weeks before applying it that will buy you more time into the season.
6. Yes, there is a step number six. This step is all about due diligence make sure that not a single weed shows up in the bed that you’ve done all this work on. You should be out there at least twice if not three times a week policing the grounds. If you see even a single weed, deal with it right then and there. You can pull it. Or you can pull the mulch back and cover it with cardboard or newspaper and put the mulch back in place.
If You Do this. It Will Work.
Not forever, but hopefully you will chase away the worst weeds in the landscape.
Pam and keep our beds mulched and we keep up with the weeding. We never have flower or landscaping beds that over run with weeds at home.
Questions or comments? Post them below and I’ll happily answer them for you.
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