Asked March 26, 2020, 7:48 AM EDT

How do I kill the weeds in my garden without killing the ground covers. In one week the weeds have overtaken all of my ground cover. Is there something I can spray?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Fast growing spring weeds are primarily what is known as "winter annuals." They actually sprouted last fall and grew slowly through the winter, so they had a head start and could explode with growth in the spring. The best time to apply an herbicide was last fall.

You cannot spray an herbicide now that will selectively kill winter annuals (like chickweed or hairy bittercress) and not kill your broad-leaved ground cover.

A thick ground cover should not have enough bare soil for weeds to take over, but it happens when ground cover is thin or just getting started and still filling in. In that case, it will need the empty spaces mulched. Be sure mulch is thick enough in fall to discourage weeds, but thin enough (or pull it back in spring) so that the ground cover can continue to fill in.

Here is a very helpful page on weed management that explains each weed's control: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-weed-id-and-management