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GARDEN TIME with DOUG – Mulch and Preen, a Great Gardening Combination

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

MULCH AND PREEN TOGETHER PROVIDE A ONE-TWO PUNCH AGAINST WEEDS.

Everyone knows what mulch is. But, how many of you are familiar with the product PREEN?

HOW DOES PREEN WORK?

PREEN is a pre-emergent weed preventer that creates a weed-prevention barrier in the top layer of soil and mulch. Preen will NOT kill weeds that have already sprouted.

IS PREEN WORTHWHILE?

A resounding YES! If you are like me then you get frustrated and tired of seeing weeds growing in your landscape beds. Bottom line – I am only going to do so much weed pulling by hand.

There is no question that mulch is the first line of defense against weeds. It is now mid-March and this is a perfect time to be applying some fresh mulch to the beds. Keep in mind that you only need two or three inches of mulch at any one time. Any more than three inches and you are only wasting your money.

To help you with this mulching task we have:

MULCH MADNESS right now!!

3 cu. ft. bags of HARDWOOD MULCH on sale right now!! (March 14 – 20)

4 bags for $14.00  –  BEST PRICE IN TOWN!!!!!

HERE ARE MY TIPS FOR DRAMATICALLY REDUCING UNWANTED WEED GROWTH IN YOUR LANDSCAPE BEDS:

  • RAKE –  Get the rake out and start raking these landscape beds. Clean out these garden beds in order to start with a nice, clean slate.
  • WET PAPER –  Before applying mulch consider laying down some wet newspaper over the beds and around plants. The newspaper will eventually decompose but first will create a natural weed barrier and work hand-in-hand with mulch and Preen in preventing weed growth.
  • MULCH –  Next step is to apply a fresh layer of mulch.  Mulch is a protective material placed over the soil.  It helps retain moisture, keeps soil and plant roots cooler, will break down into the valuable organic matter over time and will deter some weeds while making your garden beds look nice and tidy.  There are many types of mulch.  It is a personal preference as to whether you choose hardwood, pine, cedar, pine needles, or wood chips.  It doesn’t matter because they all serve the same purposes.
  • PREEN –  You sprinkle Preen on top of the mulch in order to create this weed barrier.  As with any gardening product, it’s important to read the product label and follow instructions.  Most gardeners apply their first application of Preen right now.  Unfortunately, there are some winter weeds already sprouting and growing such as henbit, bittercress, and others that Preen will not kill.  But, more weeds are coming.  A second application of Preen should be applied there months later in order to help prevent later sprouting weeds from developing.

 PREEN DOES NOT HARM SHALLOW-ROOTED PERENNIALS OR BULBS FROM GROWING!

 Once Preen is applied I suggest that you don’t do too much walking or cultivating in the beds because you can “break” up this barrier which will then allow weeds to sprout and grow.

HAPPY MARCH GARDENING!!!!!

17 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – Mulch and Preen, a Great Gardening Combination

  1. Thank you — LOVING these ‘calendar reminders’ of what the heck we’re supposed to do in the garden. By the time I usually think about Preen — weeds are up and we’re fully into Spring. Please keep doing this! 🙂 HUGELY helpful.

  2. What is better to lay over the dirt before the mulch is laid down… plastic or “weed felt” (more open weave)?

  3. Lyn,
    Good Morning. Definitely use a weed fabric and not any plastic. The fabric will allow moisture through and at the same time keep weeds from penetrating through. Doug

  4. I see it says Preen will not harm shallow rooted perenials or bulbs, but specifically, what about hibiscus? We cut ours off at ground level in the fall, and they have come back for a few years. Right now, they have not sprouted up yet, but we are trying to prevent the weeding this year.

  5. Harry,
    Good Morning.
    You are safe. Preen is safe to use around our hardy, herbaceous perennials, such as the hibiscus. Preen keeps “seeds” from germinating and growing. The soil is still a little chilly for our hardy hibiscus to start growing. Thank you for taking the time to send us your gardening question. Doug

  6. I have several established perennial beds with mixed spring, summer and fall plants. Should I apply preen BEFORE they start coming up (right now in early spring – blank slate with no plants yet emerging) or wait until plants start to emerge and have grown a few inches and then apply AROUND the plants? Thank you!

  7. Kathy,
    Good Afternoon. Preen should not affect your perennials from coming and up and growing. Preen can be used in many garden beds such as around herbs, vegetables, and perennials. Once you put Preen down then you want to try not to walk through these gardens. Walking can break the barrier that Preen creates. Doug

  8. Can I apply Preen before putting down mulch, or is it better to apply after mulching?

  9. John,
    Thank you for this question. Actually, putting Preen down first is more effective in keeping weeds from growing then it is to put Preen on top of the mulch. Or, if you really want the best protection then you may want to think of doing both underneath and on top. Doug

  10. I did not put Preen down….lots of weeds now, early June in North East Zone 6. Can I still Preen after I weed well for new growth? What do you suggest?
    Thanks

  11. Lynn,
    Weeds are constantly growing, flowering, and dropping seeds. So, yes, Preen cam help reduce / eliminate future weeds from germinating and growing. Good luck, Doug

  12. I live in Savannah Ga and weeds start sprouting early. We rarely have a hard, prolonged frost. I never know when to start applying Preen

  13. Sherry,
    Good Morning. We both know that Savannah is in a warmer climate than here in Richmond. With this said then I would think about putting Preen down in late January or around the first of February. Preen stays active for around three months. So, for you in Savannah earlier the better chance of keeping the early sprouting weeds from germinating. Then I would consider putting down a second application of Preen in two to three months. Good luck. I love Savannah. Doug

  14. Pam,
    Good Morning.
    I think you will need to purchase the products separately. I am not aware of any product that you can buy that has mulch and Preen already together. Doug

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