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Ridding a garden of weeds with mulch is a safe, effective, and attractive option. Instead of using expensive and potentially harmful chemicals to kill weeds, many gardeners choose natural mulch to keep their gardens healthy, beautiful, and free of weeds. Getting rid of weeds with mulch requires some prep work, including an initial, thorough weeding. After that, a few simple steps will help keep weeds at bay.
Preventing weeds with mulch is effective for a couple of reasons. First of all, covering your garden with mulch creates a barrier between the soil and the rest of the environment. Seeds can fall from trees or flowers, be dropped into a garden by birds or animals, or be blown there by the wind. If the soil is covered with mulch, seeds can not bury themselves into it and begin to grow. Second, seeds that are already nestled in the soil will not receive the sunlight they need to germinate if the soil is covered with mulch.
Unfortunately, spreading mulch on top of weeds that have already grown into a garden is not really an effective way to get rid of them. Weeds are resilient, so if you do this it is likely they will just continue to grow through the mulch. The first step to preventing weeds with mulch is to thoroughly weed your garden, pulling up any visible weeds from the roots. Mowing over weeds might not trim them close enough to the root to ensure they will not grow back through the mulch. This might seem like a lot of work, but taking the time to pull out existing weeds makes it much easier to keep them from growing back, and to keep others from germinating.
Once the weeds are pulled and discarded, mulch can be laid. Technically, you do not have to buy mulch, but you should be careful if you choose to create your own. Using a wood chipper to make your own mulch is probably the best home-made option, but if you choose materials such as gathered pine needles or fallen cedar, exercise caution. Impure mulch materials might contain seeds that, once situated in the garden, could grow into weeds. Buying pre-bagged mulch from a home improvement store or purchasing a quantity from a reputable bulk provider generally decreases this risk, and increases your chances of successfully get rid of your weeds with mulch.
Be sure to spread the mulch in an even layer a couple of inches thick. Spreading the mulch unevenly or distributing it too thinly might allow weeds to struggle up to the surface. If somehow an occasional weed sneaks through your layer of mulch, clear enough mulch away to pull the weed out at its roots, and then cover the space with more mulch.