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Ferguson Caras LLC
989 Herrick Brook Road
Pawlet, VT 05761

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Pull, Prevent, Repeat Annually

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When it comes to repetitive chores like cooking, cleaning, mending and, yes, also garden weeding there’s always a “better way” to do things. With weeding, a better way combines maintenance and prevention. For gardeners it’s critical to eliminate existing weeds, while also preveningt future weeds.

Weed prevention focuses on stopping weed seeds from growing. The idea is to hit weeds hard with a one-two punch combining a layer of mulch with a seasonal sprinkling of pre-emergent weed preventer such as Preen. Each application keeps weed seeds from rooting for up to 3 to 4 months, including those in the top layer of soil and in the mulch itself.

The secret to success in such a campaign is to follow a yearly routine. Weeds that never grow, never need to be pulled. Here are easy steps for a preventive maintenance program to follow each spring to minimize weed growth and, thus, weeding all season long.

1. Get rid of existing weeds
Mulch and pre-emergent weed preventers don’t kill weeds. They prevent weed seeds from sprouting. So, first, remove any already-growing weeds. Manual weeding is the safest and surest method. It’s especially important to remove weeds, roots and all. And definitely don’t let them gain size and go to seed!

2. Add mulch as a first line of defense
Mulch is an important and effective weed-fighting tool. Mulch deprives weed seeds from the light they need to sprout. A two to three inch layer of mulch is a gardener’s first line of defense against weeds.

3. Activate the weed-control barrier
Apply a garden weed preventer such as Preen atop mulch. Water it in with a hose, sprinkler or rainfall to activate the weed-control barrier. Preen stops seeds from rooting by interrupting cell replication in their initial root hairs. It bonds to the soil, won’t build up, wash away or leach into ground water. Within six months to a year or so the active ingredient is broken down by soil microbes and is no longer active. There’s also a special packaged Preen mulch with weed preventers already mixed in that protects against weeds for up to 6 months guaranteed.

4. Mid-Game Stretch
Mid-season, refresh mulch if needed. Reapply Preen to extend its weed-barrier against the weeds that set seed in late summer and fall. Throughout the season, keep an eye out for renegade weeds. Pull these, ideally before they go to seed.

It’s common sense: get rid of existing weeds, stop new weeds from growing. Following this routine – preventive maintenance – results very quickly in less time weeding and more time enjoying. Within a season or two, routine heavy weeding can become a thing of the past.

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