Asked on Sep 28, 2020

Weeds coming thru mulch?

BetsyMorgan McBrideJohnavallance82


How can I do away with weeds? Last year I got rid of grass on one area of my backyard by laying heavy cardboard on the ground then covering with mulch. Love it. However, starting last month, weeds started to popup. How can I control that? Should I add more mulch, add weed killer?

19 answers
  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    on Sep 28, 2020

    We had something similar happen in our yard. We raked the rocks to the side, used weed killer on the weeds, covered with new weed fabric and them moved the rocks back.

    on Sep 28, 2020

    These are likely very shallow weeds that have grown from seeds that have blown onto your mulch. They're usually pretty easy to pull. There's not really an 100% no maintainance solution

  • Cheryl A
    on Sep 28, 2020

    I use weed killer myself ~ that is the best way to control weeds they can grow through most anything it seems.. I spray the weeds then add mulch and that does the trick for me

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Sep 28, 2020

    If you don’t have any plants in the area, you can spray with a weed killer. Either one you make or purchase will work. The issue is not with your prep but that seeds are blown in the wind. That’s how you get those pesky weeds popping back up.

  • Vimarhonor
    on Sep 28, 2020

    Hello. It is a common and frustrating situation- we order near 200 bags of mulch and weed and mushrooms always do you pop through. The decomposing mulch... organic material does host seed germination which are blown around from weeds in our lawn and our soil.

    Sometimes just stirring up the mulch bed with a hand rake is enough to turn over disturb roots and kill the weeds. Tedious handpicking is also possible.

    There’s possible danger using chemicals that may influence trees ( roots) and other plants around it.

  • I use straight vinegar in a spray bottle, but be strategic, because it will kill everything it touches. But it does work!

  • Maura White
    on Sep 28, 2020

    The cardboard boxes work great - but only for about one season. You need to get some weed barrier fabric that will last more than one season:

  • Oliva
    on Sep 28, 2020

    Preen applied as directed will suppress weed growth for at least 3 months. It's also available in a more cencentrated form, to last 6 months. Application is easy. When done, water it in. It does not affect plants but may affect seed germination. It's available at Costco for a great deal less than you'll pay at home stores and garden centers. The trick to avoiding mushroom growth in mulch is to regularly fluff it with a small rake.

  • Mogie
    on Sep 28, 2020

    Okay here is a red neck way to do this. We had some old carpeting and put that down and covered with pea gravel. To date we have zero weeds and we did this over 15 years ago.

    The carpet doesn't break down as fast as card board and lets water pass thru so there is no pooling.

    If you do have weeds pop up spray them with a combo of Dawn, salt and vinegar in the morning on a warm sunny day.

  • Annie
    on Sep 28, 2020

    You just need to cover the area again, either with removing what is there or easier, just layering more carboard on top. Then wood chips or some other nice looking mulch.

  • Lindsay Aratari
    on Sep 29, 2020

    YOu could try round up and then putting down more mulch

  • No chemicals used at my house. Dangerous for young children, pets and wildlife.

    White vinegar is all I use. It's water soluble and safe for use around wildlife. A quick spritz is all you need. But be careful, vinegar can kill almost anything it touches. I have quite a few areas that are gravel, rock or mulch and takes just a few minutes ever so often to keep things neat and tidy.

    All the chemicals get into our groundwater and causes permanent damage in the long run.

  • Hi Brenda - The struggle is real, isn't it?!? This is the most effective all-natural weed killer DIY that we use. It's even been featured on Hometalk and pinned thousands of times! Hope this helps! Hugs, Holly

    PS - We have a FREE eBook with recipes for all of my homemade and all-natural cleaners. You can download it here -->

  • Jeremy Hoffpauir
    on Sep 30, 2020

    White vinegar is the safest way to get rid of them, but takes some elbow grease (work).

  • Weeds are inevitable and impossible to ever get rid of. They’re now growing in the mulch atop your cardboard. You can pull them but ultimately you’ll never be weed-free unfortunately. Weed killers are bad for everyone, please avoid them.

  • Janice
    on Oct 1, 2020

    Your cardboard blocking last year was a great idea, however, the cardboard eventually disentegrates and if there's soil there's always the possibility of weeds. The best way I've found for a longer term solution is to apply white viengar/salt solution to the area (if you don't want anything to grow), then cover with black plastic or hardware cloth. The weeds won't grow if there's no sun!

  • Johnavallance82
    on Oct 3, 2020

    Hello Brenda,

    Hand pull the weeds as they probably only have shallow roots or use a chemical. You will never get rid of weeds entirely as the seeds are n the air and settle and grow easier than plants you want to grow!

  • Morgan McBride
    on Oct 3, 2020

    You can use weed and feed or hand pull

  • Betsy
    on Oct 5, 2020

    Hi Brenda: The good news is that your cardboard is probably cutting down on the weeds, but as it deteriorates, the weeds will pop through. The bad news is that although you put a barrier down, that doesn't inhibit weed seeds from growing in the new dirt that's on top. Use weed killer, mostly the vinegar/epsom salts/dish soap and spray only the weeds. That way, the chemicals don't go down and kill your plants. What? What's the recipe you ask? :) Well, here it is:

    1 gallon of white vinegar

    2 cups of Epsom salts

    1/4 cup of dish washing detergent, like Dawn.

    Mix the vinegar and salt until the salt is completely dissolved.

    Mix in the Dawn until mixed well, but not all fuzzy and sudsy, sort of swirl it around.

    Put in a spray bottle and spray the weeds liberally, in the morning after the dew has gone. Then, by evening the weeds should be dead or on their way out. Don't spray anything you want to keep or it will die too. I have used this and it works quite well. Also, it's good for making an edging as it kills only what it touches. If you have something like a piece of cardboard, hold it up and down, edgewise, and spray the area you want as an edge. Just be careful not to spray your flowers and/or bushes. Good luck

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