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Established Rock Gardens

By admin On December 22, 2008 Under Garden Design

In the established rock garden the most tiresome chore is probably that of weeding. Nonetheless, it is a job that must be taken seriously for weeds pose a really serious threat to dwarf plants, crowding them for space and competing with them for nutrients and water. It has really been made clear that the eradication of perennial weeds must be a first step in preparing a site for a rock garden. They must be plants, like dandelion and dock, with thick and deep-reaching roots; bulbs, such as some species pf Allium or Oxalis, that produce vast numbers of bulbils; or members of a large group of pernicious weeds including bindweed, clover, couch grass and ground elder that extend their territory by means of runners or stolons.

Spending time to ensure eradication in the initial stages willĀ  save subsequent hours of difficult labour. Even when great care has been taken in the preparatory stages, there is still the danger of perennial weeds germinating from seed or being introduced by other means. One of the commonest ways these plants are introduced is a seed or as very young plants with new stock brought into the garden. All bought stock, and for that matter whatever comes by way of a gift from others gardeners, should be closely examined for any sign of weeds growing with the new plant. By keeping alert, it should be possible to remove all perennial weeds at the first sign, even if this may mean risking the sacrifice of a plant with which the weed is entangled. Failure may mean perennial weeds gaining a hold.

They will spread there roots under stones and in crevices; once they are established there may be no alternative to dismantling rockwork to get rid of them. Some of the new weed killers that can be applied to the leaves of weeds offer the hope of a radical improvement in control. Even when sterilized soil has been used in the construction of a rock garden and there is a weed-inhibiting mulch of chippings, annual weeds will eventually appear. Among the most troublesome are annual grass, chickweed, club moss, groundsel and shepherd’s purse. Annual grass is a particular nuisance, with a talent for lodging itself in the heart of choice plants. The earlier weed seedlings are dealt with the better; a major battle has been lost when weeds are mature enough to flower and seed. Working over the rock garden with a hoe at any opportunity will kill weeds before they have a chance to become robust. Selective weed killers can only be used with great caution so that if annual weeds are allowed to get away there may be hours of hand weeding ahead of you. It would be misleading to give the impression that rock garden plants are completely free of diseases but on the whole it is true that they are little troubled. When plants are attacked by viruses and fungi, ruthless elimination is probably the soundest course.

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