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Old 07-04-2009, 01:15 PM   #1
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Suggestions for preventing weeds yet wont harbor moisture?


Along the front of our house from the driveway to the front steps is a small area, roughly 10ft by 5 ft that my wife wants to plant flowers. This is the North side of the house and does not get much sun so the ground rarely gets a chance to dry out. The basement wall right at this site has effloresence that I think is likely from moisutre instrusion through the foundation brick wall. The last thing I want is to put material for weed control that will harbor moisture in the ground. We had cedar mulch there for several years and it seemed to keep the ground very wet and I think that may be contributing to the basement problem.

Ill take any suggestions for materials that help prevent weeds yet allow moisture to move. Im thinking weed fabric with topsoil overtop, graded away from the house. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-04-2009, 04:10 PM   #2
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Buy some weed & grass killer. Wait for a day with no breezes. Spray the weeds. Wait a week or more. When the weeds have died, pull them out. Then spread something like Preen in the flower bed.

This is what I do, and for the most part I don't have a problem with weeds in my flower beds. I do still have a few. Every month or so in the spring and summer I have to go through and spray a few weeds again, but not very many.
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Old 07-05-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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Then spread something like Preen in the flower bed.
Warning- any preemergent (Preen) will prevent new flowers from putting out new roots and getting established. I am a big fan of pre-m and use it regularly, just wait a few weeks after planting before applying this product.

The basement wall right at this site has effloresence that I think is likely from moisutre instrusion through the foundation brick wall.
I presume this is on the basement interior, coming through from the outside. It would be very unusual for mulch to cause this problem. Mulch helps keep soil moisture even and from drying out too fast. If you have this much moisture, then I suspect it is due to poor drainage- either heavy soil, poor grading, etc.

Putting topsoil on top of weed fabric will completely waste your money. And I understand that you want to plant this area, so you will need to cover the weed fabric with 4-6 inches of topsoil. Weed fabric goes on top of the soil and is covered by mulch.

Frankly, according to your question it sounds like you need to either plant or put down a moisture barrier. You could remove some of the soil to a proper grade, cover with heavy plastic, and then cover the plastic with mulch. But you won't get anything to grow if you do this. Well, maybe I shouldn't say anything.
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you wouldn't put your name on it, it ain't done right!
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:56 PM   #4
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Creamaster, I think those will be the most expensive flowers in the world if they exacerbate the moisture-near-the-basement problem.

Consider this: grade the soil away from the basement, install landscape fabric and a light (esthetic, not purposeful) layer of mulch. Dig holes through the fabric at the point farthest from the basement (the size of 5-gallon planters - as purchased from a nursery). Plant her flowers in the pots and set those in the recessed holes. If you are able, install an empty 5-gallon pot in each hole and leave it there permanently to maintain the shape. Use another 5-gallon pot to plant in, then set it inside the permanent plastic pot. Watering and fertilizing will be spot specific. And repotting will be easier than if you planted in the ground.

Porous weed-barrier fabric is essential. No matter how you grade the site, rain WILL get underneath the weed-barrier fabric. If you were to use non-porous plastic, evaporation would be zero.
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