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Border overhaul

I am overhauling a border not touched in a long time ( neighbor reckons at least 40 years) i had a crack at a clear up at the end of summer, hoeing the weeds etc but within a week weed central again. Im wondering is it best to give up and put new topsoil on top, after getting rid of perennial weeds, or use weed control fabric with topsoil on top? If anyone has any better ideas all are welcome!


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,542
    please don't use " weed control fabric" it's awful stuff. the worms can't get to the surface and you'll still get new weeds germinating on top from wind blown seed. 
    Best to keep hoeing, mulch heavily and let the worms help you.
  • That was a comment i ment to make, to be as wuldlife and enviromentally friendly as possible! Thank you hostafan1 i think its going to be mulch mulch mulch!  :)
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I think it's a case of Hoe Hoe Hoe, isn't it? Happy Christmas.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,191
    edited December 2018
    If the border's not been touched for years there will be many years worth of weed seeds in it.
    Personally, I would try to curb my enthusiasm to plant anything for a while and spend this season getting rid of the weeds - persistence will repay you.

    You need to be doing more than hoeing. That won't kill any deep rooted weeds - those need to be dug out. Get in there with a fork and dig out every last weed you can find. Unfortunately, disturbing the soil will almost certainly lead to more seed germination so you will need to keep on and on with the weeding. But at least the new weeds will just be little seedlings and not thugs with 12" long roots...

    I wouldn't mulch until you've taken out weed roots - they will just re-sprout and grow through the mulch.

    You could consider using a systemic weedkiller when the weeds are actively growing and there are leaves to spray - but this is not the most environmentally friendly route - and is not always practical if there are nearby plants you want to retain. 

    I agree with Hosta to not use membrane. Deep rooted weeds will still grow through membrane, it's bad for the soil and will forever make maintenance and new planting more difficult.

    This first year will be all about the battle - next year will be all about enjoying a new border.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,542
     after getting rid of perennial weeds, or use weed control fabric with topsoil on top? 
    @Topbird, Richard did say he was going to get " rid of perennial weeds" so I taking it that he was asking for advice on what to do once he'd done that.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,458
    When I saw the title I thought it was another B****t thread. :D
  • I best get the weatabix in for the fight haha! Its a very diverse range weeds so i think ill "clean up" this year and add topsoil in autum then ready for a plantathon the following spring!
  • Richard, after digging out any perennial weeds and then hoeing for the rest of the season, I would recommend that you put down a 3 to 4" mulch, next autumn, on the surface using well rotted manure rather than topsoil.  This will keep weed seeds beneath from germinating and will be taken down by the worms over the next year to improve the soil.  The best stuff to use in this situation is the bagged manure sold in garden centres and by suppliers such as wickes.  In my experience, this doesn't contain weed seeds which can be a problem with stuff bought direct from farms and stables.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • That sounds good as my soil is clay so could do with a good doseorganic matter! Would it be a good  idea to cover the ground under neath tge manure with card board to suppress any weeds that are left?
  • I'd say best to put the manure in a thick layer directly on the soil, so the worms and little critters can begin incorporating it into the soil.  If you exclude light with your mulch you'll prevent the weed seeds from germinating.  And neither cardboard nor manure will prevent any perennial weed roots from re-growing - you need to remove those first, I'm afraid...
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
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