Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Edges Keep `Islands' Neat, Contained

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Edges Keep `Islands' Neat, Contained

Article excerpt

Garden edges are both transitions and barriers. A garden edge defines a vegetable garden, flower garden or groups of shrubs and trees as "islands" amid a sea of lawn (or vice versa).

But grasses and other invasive plants incessantly attempt to cross every foot of edge.

One way to ease your burden in keeping grass and lawn weeds in place is to minimize the amount of edges. The way to decrease the length of edging is to mass plants together. Not only does massing decrease your time spent maintaining edges, but the effect also looks nice. Massing unifies plants into bold stands, which usually look better than having isolated plants floundering amid great expanses of lawn. (Of course, a plant such as a venerable old sugar maple has the boldness to stand alone.)

Diligently maintaining your garden's edges goes a long way to keeping weeds at bay within gardens of vegetables, flowers and shrubbery. Take care of the edges, and the "middles" will (almost) care for themselves.

Quack grass might relentlessly push its sharp underground stems through the soil to attempt entry at one end of your vegetable garden. Turn it away at the edge, and you will rarely see it in the garden.

At another end of the garden, floppy stems of ground ivy might incessantly press forward, like the horse that strains to eat the grass growing outside its fenced pasture. Once again, keep the edge in order, and you will rarely find ground ivy inside the garden.

So how do you keep the garden edge in order? Any physical method that grinds, chops or otherwise mutilates encroaching plants at the garden edge is effective if done frequently enough, which means every week or so.

A hoe is the simplest implement. A rototiller run around the garden will also do the trick. There is another powered contrivance, designed expressly for edging, which cuts a vertical strip in the ground. …

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