How to Kill Weeds in Flower Beds

gloved hand with garden tool pulling weeds

The weeds springing up in your flower beds are stealing water, nutrients, and sunlight from your precious plants. They have got to go! You can pull weeds by hand or spray them with herbicide, but these techniques don’t always eradicate them. Some weeds drop seeds while you’re pulling them out of the ground. Others have extensive root systems that re-sprout after the weed killer washes away.

No, the trick of how to kill weeds in flower beds is to prevent them from growing in the first place. Consider these methods for beating weeds once and for all.

Use a Weed Barrier

Before planting your garden, lay down landscape fabric, burlap, or cardboard in your flower beds as an effective way to stop weeds in their tracks. Overlap the ends of each fabric strip by 3 to 6 inches, and anchor down the edges with U-shaped garden staples. Then, cut an X and pin back the material anywhere you want to plant flowers.

Apply Mulch

A 3-inch layer of mulch prevents weeds from seeing the light of day. Plus, it provides a decorative appearance, improves moisture retention, prevents erosion, and serves as a form of pest control. Mulch is most effective when applied in conjunction with using a weed barrier under your flower bed. Wood chips, bark, straw, pine needles, and gravel are all popular mulch materials.

Use Compost

While most gardeners view weeds as nothing but a nuisance, they are actually nature’s way of healing wounded, bare sites. After all, plant roots are necessary to hold the soil together and prevent erosion.

If you add fresh infusions of good compost or organic matter, dormant weed seeds are less likely to germinate. Soil scientists aren’t sure why it works this way, but one theory is that when soil is healthy, weed seeds realize they’re out of a job and are less likely to appear.

Till Only When Necessary

Every cubic inch of dirt contains weed seeds, but only those located one to two inches from the surface receive enough light to germinate. Overturning the soil during cultivation brings new seeds to the surface, ready to erupt with this newfound access to sunlight. Therefore, you should minimize digging and immediately cover disturbed patches with mulch.

Tackle Weed Growth ASAP

Despite your best efforts to prevent weeds in flower beds, some unwanted plants are still bound to appear. Your best bet for defeating weeds is to attack while they’re small. Young weeds have shallow roots that can often simply be pinched out of the soil.

When weeds grow too large to pull out by hand, use a garden knife or hand weeder with a long, slender body to make sure you only cut the weed’s roots, not those of your beloved flowers. Also, be aware that weeds are easier to remove shortly after a heavy downpour.

If you decide to use weed killer, wait for a calm, windless day with no rain in the forecast. This makes it easier to apply the herbicide right where you want it. Gel formulas are particularly effective because they stick to the weed leaf instead of dripping onto the soil and possibly harming nearby flowers.

Need More Help Removing Weeds?

The Grounds Guys® can safely eliminate all unwanted plants from your flower beds and implement tactics to prevent future growth. Contact us today for a free job estimate for weed control services.

Did you know? The Grounds Guys is a Neighbourly company. Learn more about Neighbourly’s community of home service experts at