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Perennial weeds in paths around raised beds

ChasingtheWelshdream Posts: 854 Forumite
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edited 2 April 2022 at 9:06PM in Gardening

This seems like a silly question but I will ask it anyway.

I’ve laid out raised beds on my new allotment and am going to lay cardboard down on the paths for the time being, and cover with bark chips when funds allow. 

The whole plot was covered with cardboard over winter which did a good job of stopping many weeds. But I’ve had to spend a long time removing perennial roots from the bed areas.

Do I need to dig over the paths and remove the weeds here too? Or can I just pop the cardboard down and it will eventually kill them? I don’t know how far the roots could spread and go back into the beds.

There are dandelions and creeping buttercup mostly with some bindweed and the odd bits of couch grass.

Thank you in advance. :-) 


  • LessImpecunious
    Best to dig out as many as you can first - cardboard will fall apart quite quickly (or blow away!) if you don't have anything to cover it with, and all those weeds will grow quickly. Alternatively you could try hoeing the paths regularly to keep them under control, until you have the bark chips.
  • Sapindus
    Sapindus Posts: 415 Forumite
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    Hi - I also have woodchip paths on my allotment. My woodchip is all scrounged either by stalking tree surgeons, bribing them with chocolate to drop off chipped Christmas trees or finding piles of woodchip that no-one seems to want.  If I was in your situation, yes I would dig out perennial weeds.  When I first laid my paths I dug out some of the topsoil and added it to the growing areas before putting the chips down.  There is nothing underneath in the way of a weed suppressing layer.  

    I don't have raised beds as such, so my paths are quite narrow.  I shudder at the thought of having to extract couch or creeping buttercup from woodchip, let alone bindweed ... and it doesn't hoe nicely...

    So in the winter picture you can see the paths when I'd just laid freshly chipped Christmas trees, so it was quite green still.  The other picture is taken in summer.  You can see the paths are a fairly flexible kind of idea.

  • ChasingtheWelshdream
    ChasingtheWelshdream Posts: 854 Forumite
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    edited 3 April 2022 at 11:51AM
    Thanks both, looks like more time digging then!

    Your plot looks great sapindus!

    I have plenty of cardboard and bricks to hold it in place until I get bark chips. It is only temporary just to stop me walking on mud and look a bit tidier. 

    But that’s a good idea to ask tree surgeons - one lives opposite and has just done some work for us. I didn’t think to ask them!
  • Woolsery
    Woolsery Posts: 1,535 Forumite
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    If I only had some paths to do on an allotment I'd probably knock up a little weedkiller and paint the centre of each perennial weed with a small paintbrush. I do that with dandelions and buttercups in my decorative beds where I want to avoid digging or touching valued plants.
    I know some people like to be 100% organic and that's fine, but for me it's time and arithmetic. The amount of weedkiller used is tiny when targeted.
    For bindweed, provide a climbing support and do the same when they're well up it. Expect them all to come back for years too!
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 10,738 Forumite
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    Bindweed would be my major target. 

    In our previous garden the people we had bought it from had put weed barrier fabric down and covered it with small stone.  Nice enough but a magnet for the neighbourhood cats who thought it was a lovely big litter tray.  And as the lawn was on a bit of a slope we were constantly having to rake the stones back up the slope.  

    When we decided to relay the area with turf I discovered that bind weed had set up a huge network of roots (or whatever) under the barrier fabric so that it could pop up in all the flower beds.  Once I got rid of that network I did much better at keeping it all under control.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • ChasingtheWelshdream
    Thanks. I have no problem using weed killer where it would be very difficult otherwise. I’ve made raspberry and asparagus areas and although i have been fastidious digging out every root I found, I fully expect some stubborn lurkers to reappear. So some spot weed killer will have to be used as o won’t be able to dig them out.
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