Mulching and Edging

Want to keep your perennial garden in shape? Mulch and edge on a regular basis.

Mulching and edging ensure the neatness of your perennial garden. Do these tasks on a regular basis so caring for your garden does not become overwhelming or too time consuming.

Keep your garden free of weeds, as these persistent plants take up valuable soil nutrients, look messy, and crowd out other plants.

Mulch not only looks nice in the garden, it also helps control weeds and conserve water. When organic mulch is used, it will enrich the soil as well. Shredded leaves, dried grass clippings, buckwheat hulls, cocoa shells, shredded bark or wood chips, and finished compost are all excellent organic mulches. The first two are the cheapest and most readily available. The other mulches can all be bought at local garden centers and hardware stores. Woody mulches, such as uncomposted wood chips, cause a drop in soil nitrogen. These work best if they are composted before application. High-nitrogen mulches, such as grass clippings, may burn your plants. Avoid placing high-nitrogen mulches close to plant stems.

Edging is another excellent method for controlling weeds and keeping your garden looking neat and elegant. Edging creates a barrier to keep lawn grasses out of the garden and is also useful for containing spreading perennials.

Timesaving Tip:

Use large foliage plants, such as hostas, to reduce weeds in your garden. The leaves from these plants completely shade the ground underneath them, preventing weed seeds from germinating.

How to Edge

1. Why edge? An edging of brick gives a neat, defined look to a bed or border and separates the garden from adjoining lawn areas.

2. To install the edging, first dig a narrow trough around the perimeter of the garden. A flat-bladed space works well.

3. To create a stable bed on which the bricks will rest, line the bottom of the trough with gravel or with sand.

4. Lay the bricks on top of the stone, pressing into the stone so that you are fitting the bricks together neatly and evenly.

5. To make a smooth corner on a curved bed, chip off the ends of a brick with a hammer to form an angled edge.

6. With both ends angled, the brick fits neatly into the corner. You may also need to angle the ends of adjoining bricks for a smooth seam.

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