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Old 06-09-2018, 04:28 AM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
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We have a flowerbed in the front of our house, which is stuffed chock full of tulip and lily bulbs. So we have a wonderful, delightfully fragrant strip of colorful blossoms all along the front of the house for a few weeks every spring. But after that, I like to plant annuals - a few varieties of datura and brugmansia, several celosias, flowering nicotines, exotic morning glories, etc. Makes for a nice, colorful garden.

Trouble is, after the bulb flowers (lilies and tulips) have run their course, grass immediately grows up in that space - making it difficult for the annual seeds to establish. And I'm reluctant to spade or till that sod, for fear of harming the bulbs.

So what can I do with that flowerbed? Till it anyway, but be more cautious and tender toward the bulbs? Anything?
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:38 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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You could till it but than can turn into a goat rope. What I do is put smaller annuals in between the remains of the bulbs using plants instead of seeds.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:15 AM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
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One of the flower beds in front of our building here is like that - full of bulbs that come up each spring, and a few that come up later in summer - tulips, daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, bluebells, easter lily, lily of the valley, Hawaiian pineapple lily, lucifer crocosmia, chocolate lily, gladiolas, peacock flowers, etc - so I can't turn or dig up any of it without interfering with the bulbs. It also always has self-seeded annuals and volunteer perennial plants that come up each year. I also do annual seeding and I put down started bedding plants in that flower bed each year as the fancy strikes me. It's a very "busy" bed all year long.

If it just needs a very light weeding out I do it by hand, otherwise I use a diamond hoe over the top one inch of soil and that slices like a hot knife through butter through the roots of grass and any other weeds that I want to get rid of that are growing in between the cultivated plants. The bulbs below or in between all the other cultivated plants are all deep enough in the ground that the diamond hoe passes right over top of them without disturbing them.


.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:32 AM
 
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If you don't want volunteer seeding, then consider using a pre-emergent made for gardens like Preen next year. Pre-emergent won't interfere with bedding plants

If desirable plants aren't too close together, and you have perennial weeds, glyposate could work too. Just be careful to spray on a windless day.

As others have suggested, Hoeing can work, but you need to keep at it.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
6,708 posts, read 4,119,126 times
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The bulbs are very close to to the surface, and it's going to be difficult to hoe the surface without disturbing them. And there's no way to hoe between them, because I can't tell where they are. Over the years, grass has invaded the bed to the point where it's just a solid carpet of sod over a dense bed of bulbs. I can put some down as bedding plants, but two solid rows of celosia at both the front and back of the bed will be difficult. Although I suppose I could just hoe a row at both the front and back... that would probably work...

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 06-09-2018, 12:02 PM
 
2,652 posts, read 1,234,142 times
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another option would be to lift the bulbs when they go dormant, later in the season, then kill off all the grass and weeds, either by solarization or by non-selective weed killer. Then you can treat it like a new bed - turn and amend if you want, or just re-plant. This could wait until late summer, so you have less risk to the bulbs and more time to enjoy what you have.
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