How to get rid of weeds in mulch beds | 7 Simple + Easy Ways

Get rid of weeds that are growing in mulch beds without damaging nearby plant roots by using a hand weeding tool. This will dig down and remove the plant by the root. Placing black plastic tarp over small areas with lots of weeds is an easy way to remove them.

This article will explore the top 7 ways to get rid of weeds in mulch beds without using herbicides. There are lots of ways to get rid of weeds naturally that are easy for home gardeners.

Top 7 ways to get rid of weeds in mulch beds

Here are 7 easy ways to get rid of weeds in mulch beds and how to get them done quickly and easily. We will explore each one so you can decide which is best for you.

  1. Use a hand weeding tool to remove deep rooted perennial weeds
  2. Smother weeds and grass with newspaper and mulch
  3. Cover with a black plastic tarp
  4. Cut lawn edges using a sharp spade
  5. Use a hoe to dig out annual weeds
  6. Plant ground covers to smother weeds
  7. Boiling water

Let’s explore each way to easily get rid of weeds in mulch beds

Use a hand weeding tool

The best way to remove weeds from a mulch bed is to use a small trowel or hand weeding tool. Using a small tool like a spade will remove the weeds without damaging the roots of any nearby plants.

This is particularly important if your garden bed has citrus or annual flowers. Both of these plants hate to have their roots disturbed which can happen with larger garden tools.

Using a small trowel or tiny shovel is the best way to dig down and lift the weed out. Grab the weed by the top while wearing garden gloves and dig down to lift the weeds up from the roots.

Smother weeds and grass with newspaper and mulch

Another great way to get rid of weeds in mulch beds is to smother them with newspaper. To get rid of weeds and prevent them from growing back there are a few easy steps.

  1. Rake back the original mulch. This might pull out the weeds in the process or expose any weeds still in the soil.
  2. Remove them by hand (wearing gloves) and place the weeds in your compost bin.
  3. Layer newspaper over the soil base, up to 6 layers thick. Cover the whole area and make sure there are no holes.
  4. Cover the newspaper back over with new or old mulch. Build up the layer 2-3 inches thick to stop the weeds seeds from getting light and stopping their growth.

Cover with a black plastic tarp

A simple way to kill weeds in mulch beds is to get small pieces of black plastic tarp and cover the beds. Make sure there are no plants underneath the tarp otherwise they will be killed quickly.

The black tarp will heat up in the sun and kill off the weeds that are growing underneath. This can be an effective way to remove large amount of small weeds without having to pull each weed out by hand.

This can be a great short term solution and it is best to take it off after a few weeks. Depending on how stubborn the weeds area, the tarp may need to be left on for 3-4 weeks.

Create a new garden bed with a tarp

To remove weeds organically and turn an area of your garden into a garden bed you can cover the area with a tarp, cardboard mulch.

Placing a tarp over the weeds will starve them of light and water. As the tarp heats up it will also burn the weeds and kill them off.

Once the weeds have been killed off they will be easy to pull out. If you have weeds with runners like couch grass, it is important to dig them up as these hardy weeds can spread by deep runners.

Cut lawn edges using a sharp spade

To remove lawn from the mulch bed, a sharp spade can be used to cut the runners that are sneaking from the lawn. Lawn runners are tough weeds to remove so start by cutting them off and separating them from the main plant.

Lawn runners will form their own root systems so they will need to be dug out. These can hide under the ground before they send up grass shoots. Dig these out with a spade or cover the area with some black tarp to kill them off.

Use a spade to cut the edges of lawn to cut the runners to prevent them growing in your mulch beds.

Use a garden hoe to dig out annual weeds

Garden hoes with long handles will be an easy way to dig out the many annual weeds that can pop up in Spring and Winter in mulch beds. Garden hoes allow you to stand up while scraping up the weeds. Soft winter weeds and spring weeds can be scraped out before they grow and established.

Plant ground covers to smother weeds

Once weeds have been removed, planting ground covers can be a great way to crowd out weeds. The shade and cover created by the ground covers will stop most weeds from growing through or at least limit their space.

Ground covers like dichondra make a great addition to a garden choosing silver or green to suit your garden. Ground covers can also be planted in between pavers to prevent weeds from popping up.

Boiling water

Boiling water poured onto small weeds can quickly scold and kill them without using herbicides in mulch beds. Small weeds that pop up between pavers and in landscaping rock can be dealt with using very hot water.

Take care when transporting this water outside to avoid spilling any on yourself. This more natural way of killing weed without herbicides is a great option.

How to get rid of weeds in mulch beds | Summary

Getting rid of weeds in mulch beds will be easier because the mulch itself will have forced the weed to work harder to grow. Weed seeds will need to expend a lot of energy for their seeds to sprout and growth through the mulch, stretching up higher to reach the light.

This will make it easier to pull the weeds out by hand, just remember to always wear gloves in case the weeds have spines or spikey seeds.

Mulch will also make the soil soft so weeds should lift up easily and pop out of the soft soil. Try these easy tips to remove weeds from mulch beds and happy gardening!