clearing large weeds from an old garden plot

Asked August 18, 2016, 12:57 PM EDT

I have an old, neglected raised-bed 4'x10' garden plot that I would like to clear and return to lawn. The bed is currently overgrown by a variety of weeds and a few flowers that I don't care to keep, including what I suspect is an invasive (purple-flowered, variegated leaf) lamium and a few 18"-2' trees. What is the best way to clear this plot? The two ways I can think of at present are to spray the plants with something and wait until they die, then dig them up, or pull them/dig them up while they are green, trying to get as much root as possible. I will likely spread the extra dirt on the existing lawn and would like to minimize introduction of weeds to that area. I'm not sure what method would be most effective at killing the roots. I also considered solarizing the soil to kill weed seeds and roots, but I know that that would only help the top couple of inches. Also, I have noticed numerous Japanese beetles on the weeds, so I suspect there will be grubs in the soil at some point. Thank you for your help! Julie

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

The least invasive method to clear you raised bed would be to hand dig/pull the weeds, trees and plants out of the area. Following this I would suggest covering with a tarp or plastic to inhibit any of the weed seeds from sprouting. If this area has been overgrown for sometime you may want to consider removing the soil and replacing with a purchased compost garden mixture. This will reduce the need to continue managing perennial weed growth. Japanese beetles may have grubs in the soil. Reduce this possibility by removing those currently in the area. This can be accomplished by dropping them into soapy water when the are less active in early AM or evening.