Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 Questions - Peony Soil Solarization & Weed Control

I received this question from Taherra in zone 7:
"I came across your blog in researching solarization as a method to create new planting beds. Your solarization project for your peony beds was in 2012 and I was curious as to the weed and grass control in that area. Any info/tips would be greatly appreciated."

For me this was an extremely successful project. The weed and grass control has been excellent. The only weeds that grow in this area are generally near the edges of the bed, where weed seeds have fallen from weeds growing outside the solarized bed. I have kept it weed free by mulching the soil with wood chips. I also curb any new weed growth by hand weeding the interior of the bed and spraying a weed killer around the exterior edge of the bed. The steps I took to create my solarized peony bed are outlined in the following posts:
1. 2012 Intersectional Peony Bed Preparation
2. 2012 Peony Bed Soil Solarization
3. 2012 New Dirt for New Peony Beds
4. 2012 Soil for New Peony Beds
5. 2012 Intersectional Peony Garden Planting

Soil Solariztion Tips:

1. The fewer sheets of plastic the better. Try to get your plastic sheet in one whole piece that will cover the area of your bed. This will keep the area hotter with less air escaping between the plastic sheeting.
2. The more weights the better. The bricks I used around the edge of the plastic sheeting not only keep the plastic sheet in place, but also trap the heat underneath. I actually added more bricks to the edges of my plastic sheet after a couple weeks to keep the hot air in.
3. Keep the sheet in place. Don't be tempted to remove the plastic sheeting early. Keep it in place the recommended 6 to 8 weeks to make sure the job is completely done. If you have extra time, then leave it on a little longer. It won't hurt and can only help!

Solarized Peony Bed Two Years Later

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