You’ll never have a garden path without weeds

by Yvonne on April 11, 2010 · 5 comments

in Country garden maintenance

I had this gardening question through my website today:

I love the path in your garden picture. I have made stone paths, but all I did was keep weeds from coming through landscape cloth and small stones. Any ideas of a walkway path without weeds? What do you do?

I hate to say it, but any kind of garden path is going to get some weeds growing in it. We have paths of compacted stone, interlocking papers and mulch (through our shade garden). In each of these paths, weeds appear and the only solution is to spend time grubbing them out.

Garden path

This path gets weeded regularly

I think the worst weeds appear in the gravel. Whenever we see a weed, we pull it out, hoe it out or pry it out with a weeding knife. Before the Ontario pesticide ban, we used Roundup on the worst of them.

We have also used horticultural vinegar sprays, but they don’t kill the roots. But I’ve never really been a huge fan of spraying weeds in pathways because sprayed weeds turn brown and look ugly — and we end up pulling them out anyway because they look so bad.

weeding knife

A weeding knife helps you get the roots

So I tend to walk around with a gardener’s tool belt that includes a weeding knife, and whenever I see something I don’t want to see, out comes the knife. I like using the knife because I can get it into the ground under the roots and pry the plant out, roots and all.

I have to come clean and reveal that I’m lucky to have gardening help — a weeding team who makes my life easier. In my defense, I have 10 acres to keep looking reasonable, and I couldn’t possibly do it all by myself.

Perhaps the name of my website “flower-gardening-made-easy” is somewhat misleading. Gardening is about controlling what’s growing in your yard, and there’s always going to be the job of weeding out what you don’t want grow, and digging and lots of other maintenance tasks.

So bottom line — it’s impossible to have a path without weeds (unless it’s poured concrete), and the only practical solution is to get out there and remove them. I wish there was an easier way, but weeding can be therapeutic if you go out with some tunes on your iPod, or simply a meditative mind. If your path is really overrun with weeds, the solution is to just do a few square feet a day, but keep at it a bit at a time until the path is clean.

Is there a permanent solution to weeds? The only one I can think of is moving into a condominium apartment.


Visit my website for more weeding tips.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening April 12, 2010 at 7:11 am

And anyone who’s seen weeds growing in the cracks of a concrete sidewalk knows that’s not a perfect solution, either!

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Salix April 12, 2010 at 8:27 am

Hi Yvonne
Ah, the weeds! The only good thing is to know that (especially in a city garden) you’ll have fewer and fewer weeds as you keep pulling them before they set seeds, and when you keep your garden beds (and paths too) mulched well.
A country garden – that’s something else.
I will go and get myself a weeding knife as I never had one and I can see that it is more practical than using the garden fork in certain areas.
Lene

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Eve April 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm

haha not going to move again Yvonne! I’ve learned to live with the weeds. When you live in the woods like me you just kind of accept them. Some of them are even kind of pretty!! Hope your garden is plentiful this year….with flowers!

Reply

Nicky April 25, 2010 at 9:45 am

I have weed free paths. But that means I have hard-packed dirt paths, and it is a big vegetable garden. Since I use this wheel hoe to weed the garden rows, I just also use it to scrape the surface of the paths as I walk the thing out to the different garden rows. Very efficient!

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