Using mulching to kill weeds without killing crocuses

hi guys

We have a large area - 30m^2 which is covered in beautiful crocuses, but also, horrific blackberry thorns, sticky weed, grass and other weeds.

We took over a property in need of a lot of work and this patch has been tough as it’s a steep bank - but also right at the front of the house.

I’m currently working through removing them from the ‘heart’ of the root, they are so deep and entrenched in the bank, I think it’s going to be tough to maintain. 

If I weed kill with strong fertiliser, I’m comcerned I’ll kill the crocus and blue bell bulbs which are widespread and bring the wild garden look that really fits with the property.

And so, to my simple question, if I mulch with the black weed suppresent material, for a year (maybe 2), will the crocuses survive laying dormant? The plan would be to bed a good number of bushes to take hold of the area within that 2 year period, and then remove the mulch and let the crocuses come back.

thanks, and sorry if this is a stupid question, I’m definitely a newbie gardener!!



  • Unclebob101Unclebob101 Posts: 4
    Sorry, just to clarify, when I mention ‘heart of the root’, I’m mainly referring to the thorns.

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 1,784
    I think it would certainly stress the bulbs.  They would attempt to put up growth under the cloth and mulch.  Even if they don't die, you will probabaly end up sacrificing several years of flowers as they regain energy.  

    In that difficult situation, I would probably spray with glyphosate.  It's impossible to dig out roots around the bulbs without causing damage and introducing rot.  Strim it all down low, give it a spray, and let it die back over several weeks.  Mulch with wood chips (the bulbs will grow through several inches worth) and just keep spraying any weed that pokes it's head up.  Plant up your bushes this fall, and enjoy the display in the spring.  Hand weed in the spring while the bulbs are green.. then you can spray again when all the tops have pulled away completely and the bulbs are dormant.  
    Utah, USA.
  • Unclebob101Unclebob101 Posts: 4
    Blue onion, legendary, thanks for the tips

    we’ll continue to manage the bulk of the weeds until autumn, but will then spray the real problem areas with phosphate as suggested. We will use mulch around the bush areas to help encourage growth by reducing weed growth in those areas. Thanks again!
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,306
    Crocus and bluebell foliage can now be safely removed. Spray now as weed killer works best when the plants are actively growing rather than the autumn. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,306
    And make sure you use the weed killer that goes inactive on contact with soil. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Unclebob101Unclebob101 Posts: 4
    Great shout - thanks Hogweed!
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