Many native perennials (forbs and grasses) and weeds exploded  this summer  due to the wetter and/or warmer than usual weather.  Often times seeds and plants  germinate in moist decomposing mulch. I  recommend using a string trimmer (weed wacker) or Dutch Hoe to trim weeds or perennials in unwanted areas instead of weeding by hand.

If taller perennial plants are  invading your paths or larger areas outside your garden, cut the stalks  before they get too tall with a string trimmer or Dutch hoe.  Use the cuttings as mulch or compost if they ARE NOT invasive weeds  (for example: garlic mustard ). Repeated trimmings for several years will zap the energy of most perennial weeds  since you are preventing them from photosynthesizing.

Veggie Garden before using String trimmer (mulched paths with weeds)

Also use the string trimmer to trim the lawn lawn bordering your gardens to  keep a neat edge and  to prevent the lawn from creeping into your gardens.  Note:  Also edging your gardens each year with a sharp spade is a must.

I sometime use the string trimmer or Dutch Hoe to trim some of the weeds  taking over my new garden beds.  Be careful not to unintentionally trim down the native plants in your garden areas unless you want to selectively control a specific plant from spreading or seeding . You want your native plants to fill in all the bare spots since bare spots are an open invitation for weeds.

Mulched paths after using string trimmer (salad greens in veggie garden are not weeds).

A string trimmer can also be used to control weeds after seeding a new bed the first year or two or to trim away last years  or dried plant material in early spring  if you cannot burn.  See Prairie Nursery’s Post Planting Management notes online for more info.

I prefer an  electric trimmer because they are cleaner and easier to use but the cord can get in the way. Gas or propane trimmers are useful for larger yards.  Make sure  the model you choose  is not too heavy to carry for any length of time, and follow all safety instructions.  Also ask your family & friends to stay clear of the area you are trimming since flying debris such as mulch and rocks can hurt. Ouch!

One last tip: If  you  have native plants spreading into unwanted areas,  dig them up while young and share them with others.  It’s an easy way to share these wonderful plants, especially with friends and neighbors.

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