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Spot the 800-pound Gorilla in the Garden

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Garden Gorilla

Where is the 800-pound gorilla in the garden? Anywhere he wants to be. So goes a variation on the old joke, but in truth there is a pushy, bullying bunch of gorilla metaphors in most gardens. They’re called weeds. Left unchecked, they run rampant, leaving no recourse but a relentless cycle of digging and pulling.

And this only makes things worse. Pulling weeds disturbs garden soil. The very act of weeding exposes thousands, even millions, of dormant weed seeds buried in typical garden beds. Once pulled to the surface, they sprout, grow and produce more seeds. These waves of new weeds can overrun gardens so fast it’s enough to make the hair on any ape rise. It’s also why weed prevention starts by focusing on stopping weed seeds before they grow.

Preventing weeds is easier than getting rid of weeds. Start by covering soil in garden and landscape beds with a three-inch layer of mulch, then apply a pre-emergent weed preventer such as Preen on top. Preen effectively doubles weed protection by preventing weed seeds from rooting in the top layer of garden soil and in the mulch itself.

Of course there is always the option of engaging an actual gorilla to help ward off garden weeds. (Though chances of finding an 800-pound specimen are unlikely Real gorillas tend to top off at 450 pounds or so.) An average adult packs away about 40 pounds of wild vegetation each day. That could put a serious dent in any backyard weed population. Still, a garden gorilla isn’t likely to differentiate between roses and ragweed, or hostas and henbit. There are likely other inconveniences, as well.

For those interested in learning more about garden weed prevention, see; for more about mountain gorillas, see

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