How to get rid of weeds or small tree seedlings in flower beds?

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This long stretch of fence line now has a flower bed. Last year no problems, but this year many of the trees around us has dropped their seedlings into the mulch and they are growing like crazy. I have used Preen weed preventer, but that has not stopped these things! There are way too many to pull up by hand. I have Amaryllis planted along the back that are now coming up. I want to replant in front of them but don't want to kill them trying to get rid of these small tree seedlings! What can I do?

q how to get rid of weeds or small tree seedlings in flower beds

Fence line flower bed

q how to get rid of weeds or small tree seedlings in flower beds

My problem

q how to get rid of weeds or small tree seedlings in flower beds

These dang things are everywhere along this 90 feet of flower bed!

  17 answers
  • Try a product called Preen. I've used it before with success. If not, pulling them by hand is the best way to get rid of them.

  • Judy in Canton. Judy in Canton. on May 09, 2021

    Since you think these are the results of tree seedlings I would consider raking or moving the mulch around. This would stop the seedlings from rooting and they would die in place.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on May 09, 2021

    It's a major pain but - pull them. If they are truly tree seedlings, you have to get the tap root out or it will keep growing.


    You can spritz them with white vinegar IF they aren't too close to the flowers. The vinegar will travel to the roots and kill them - spray on a sunny day! But, don't be surprised if they come back stronger if the tap root isn't killed.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 09, 2021

    Raking through the mulch might be just enough to rip up the surface weeds, that is what I do when they are first starting out in my garden. The larger plant looks like it may have come from a bulb and will probably spread, I would dig that 1 up and throw it out in the garbage, not the compost because it could take off from there.

    Just plain white vinegar will kill to the root, but you have to be careful because it cannot tell the difference between what you want to grow and weeds.


    If you'd like a more formal weed killer, here's the recipe for a sprayer, but remember, cover where you do not want it:


    1 cup vinegar

    1 cup salt

    2 gallons water


    Give it a mix and put it in the sprayer.

    • Karen Karen on May 11, 2021

      The larger plant is an amaryllis. I have about 12 planted along the back of the fence line. I don't want to kill those...LOL.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on May 09, 2021

    Hello. HAnd pulling is always an option. Even though we too—do use landscaping fabric and mulch weeds tend to pop up. Usually the easiest time to meet us after rainfall and try to obtain the entire root.

  • Mogie Mogie on May 09, 2021

    I know it is a lot of hassle but pulling the weeds is really the best option. Then after you pull the weeds time for a good base covered with weed barrier. I spray with vinegar and salt but only within a few feet of my plants. The weeds up close I have to hand pull.

  • William William on May 09, 2021

    If there is no landscape fabric under the mulch you need to rake up the mulch, put down some landscape fabric, mulch on top. You can cover the seedlings with the fabric. it will smother and kill them. Cut "X" slits for you plants and any future plantings. Do not use vinegar/salt recipe it will kill everything. Soaks into the soil. You can try boiling water on the seedlings

  • Karen Karen on May 09, 2021

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I applied Preen before we put down the mulch. There is no tap root from a tree as these are seedlings from neighbor's trees. There is also landscape fabric under there. It really doesn't matter what you do, these things blow in the wind as tiny little specs, then start growing on top of the mulch and fabric. I guess I will keep puling them by hand or try raking the mulch. The original question lady - Karen

  • Betsy Betsy on May 09, 2021

    Hi Karen: Pulling is your only weapon, unfortunately. Get a rolling cart you can sit on, a portable radio and a bag to put the little buggers into and have a wonderful day pulling. That landscape fabric is next to useless. Things grow on top of it, and you can't dig it up later, without it being a pain in the neck. The only thing I have found it useful for is to replace the dust cover on the bottom of the couch and/or chairs. Oh yeah, it makes great witches on Halloween. Other than that. useless :)


    Good luck

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on May 10, 2021

    I use a brush killer and follow directions on bottle and then let it sit for 3 or 4 days before you replant anything all the info is on the bottle


  • Pulling is your best bet. Don't use anything with salt as the salt will kill everything around it and leave your soil barren for an extended period. I recently discovered the joy of stand up weed pullers, no bending required! Your local home improvement store will have them or Amazon also sells them.

  • Dee Dee on May 10, 2021

    You can purchase Landscape fabric or put down newspaper then add mulch on tops of that. I do that yearly and it works like a charm. You seem to have a lot of seedlings, If you do not want to grow anything in that area get some brush killer.

    • Karen Karen on May 10, 2021

      There was fabric already down. Those pesky things just started growing in the mulch on top of the landscape fabric! But thanks for your reply!

  • Deb K Deb K on May 10, 2021

    Hi Karen, you can hoe the seedlings under before you plant any other plants there, but you can't avoid the seedlings from popping up. Hope this helps you out,

    https://homeguides.sfgate.com/stop-saplings-growing-garden-42094.html

  • Annie Annie on May 13, 2021

    This will be a yearly task, but keep pulling them out, roots and all. Use a heavy landscape fabric under the mulch

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on May 14, 2021

    Hi Karen,

    Water on diluted weed killer every so often to keep them from growing.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on May 18, 2021

    Weeds are one of the joys of maintaining a yard.