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Q: How do you all keep your shrub and flower beds looking so nice and weed free?

A: Appropriate design of the beds is the first step in good weed control. Beds are designed to drain water and not hold it. Wet beds can cause root problems for the plants along with unwanted weeds, such as sedge. All planting areas are tilled 6" to 8" deep several times before planting. This breaks up compaction and allows plant roots to have good air exchange. A good soil amendment, such pine fines or soil conditioner is added at rate of 1:3. The beds are tilled in again to mix the natural soil and the pine fines. We have found that by keeping down a sufficient layer of mulch in the beds, such as pine straw, has been a major help in controlling weed growth. This also helps with preventing crusting while holding moisture for roots as well as keeping mowers and line trimmers off the shrubs. After plants are established, a pre-emergent weed control may be added to help prevent weed growth. If weeds appear they may be removed by hand or a post emergent application of Round-Up or Vantage can be applied before the weed reaches 6" in height. Read and follow all labels. Below are a few links that may be of further assistance.
http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/C867-4.htm
http://www.atlantichort.com/en/products/compost-soil/soil-conditioner.html
http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/turf/nutsedge.html

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