My questions involve spring bulbs. I planted 260 flowering spring bulbs in an area that we cleared vines and weeds from near a creek. What is the best method of controlling the weeds next spring/summer? I considered putting down Preen mulch over the new beds this fall and applying more early in the spring. Also, would pine needles be a good mulch to use over spring bulbs where weeds are not an issue?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Debbie: Wow, you have been busy planting bulbs! So hopefully you really prepared the bed well in terms of eliminating the weeds before planting. This does not mean they will not show back up next spring/summer. Using pre-emergence and mulch will certainly help keep the weeds down but hand pulling is still an option as well. So, yes, applying the Preen mulch you mentioned will be effective. It looks like this product is available in several different colors so just be aware that all options except for the premium are dyed. This means they will bleed when it rains and eventually fade out. Another more environmentally friendly and organic option would be to use corn gluten meal as your pre-emergent. It is a great alternative to the synthetic pre-emergence herbicides on the market. Applying this in combination with the pine straw will work just as well. Choosing which mulch to use on your garden is really a decision you should make in terms of aesthetics. Most are natural products like the pine straw but some are dyed with chemicals so the decision is up to you. Whichever you choose be careful that it is only applied 2 inches thick. Any thicker and it can create a nice environment for insects and disease to thrive. I would love to see pictures of your garden in the spring!