All of the rain this spring has sure helped the weeds to grow like crazy....and I really don't like to pull weeds! It is so time consuming, taking me away from other jobs that need to be done, besides being uncomfortable on the knees, back and hands!! So, a few years ago when I first learned of the product Preen Weed Preventer, my life as a gardener was changed forever. (too dramatic again? Sorry, but yah its that big of a deal!)
A couple of people have recently asked me about this product, and I told them what I knew, but decided I should actually research it and make sure I was correctly informed before I shared with anyone else. Preen.com has a lot of helpful info on the products, safety information, and a plant search option to see if your plants are compatible with the use of Preen.
Basically, Preen creates a barrier on the soil which prevents weeds seeds from germinating in the first place. It does not however do anything for existing weeds or weed roots left in the soil.
Tips to have a weed free garden (or at least significantly less weeding by hand) :
1. Clean up first, pulling or digging out any and all weeds in your flower beds/around trees/planting areas. Be sure to get the roots!
2. Add a layer of mulch if you can and disperse Preen Weed Preventer on surface of the mulch (or right on the dirt if you are not mulching, or if it will be some time before you get the mulch installed).
3. Application of the Preen should occur when plant foliage is dry and when ground temperature is 50 degrees F or above. Some of the product containers come equipped with a convenient scoop to use when spreading the Preen, but read the packaging to see how heavily to apply to the area.
4. You should double check the extensive list on the products website before applying to your gardens, however a general rule is that it can be used around established plants, shrubs, trees, etc, that are at least 3 inches tall,
5. Watering in or rain shortly after application is necessary as it "activates" the product
6. Excessive watering or heavy rains maybe shorten the effective period of the product, and Preen may need to be reapplied sooner. Usually, though it is effective in preventing new weeds from sprouting for 8-12 weeks with one application.
7. Use your gloves! and do not inhale the particles Protect your self from the chemical and carrier dust when applying. (The active ingredient is called Treflan and it is combined with a "carrier" such as ground up corn cob to allow it to be dispensed.)
8. Do not apply directly to a water source, pond, birdbath, etc. or bird feeder.
9. Preen may stain certain porous surfaces like patio stones, cement driveways, bricks etc.
Since I have used Preen in all of our flower beds, around tree trunks, in stone pathways, and even in the veggie garden in the past and have been very pleased with the results, I will continue to do so and save myself some work for the whole growing season. A goal of mine is to reapply Preen after fall leaf cleanup is complete, hopefully helping to inhibit those early weed seeds in the following spring. I highly recommend the use of this product, no matter at what stage of gardening ability/interest you are currently--because if you have to spend less time pulling pesky weeds, I am very sure you will have increased interest in other aspects of gardening.
I hope you find this quick post helpful, and I will be back soon with an update on our seedlings as planting out date has finally arrived!