The most effective way to inhibit weeds is to plant something in their place. Weeds will grow on any open ground. But most weed seeds will not sprout on densely shaded ground. The best plants to shade the ground are groundcovers, shrubs & spreading perennials. Weeds are less of a problem in shade. But seeds will still sprout on lightly shaded open ground.
I don’t want to discourage you. But there will always be weeds. You must be vigilant: Pull weeds before they set seed! Weeds come from seeds. Plastic, rocks, gravel & bark will not keep weeds away forever. Weeds mostly seed in from above. Bark & other mulch will help to keep weeds under control for a time, while other plants have a chance to get established. Be sure you can distinguish weeds from the groundcovers you have planted.
To get rid of weeds that already exist, you should probably just pull them out. It will help if you loosen the soil with a garden fork, hoe or hook. Don’t be fooled into thinking that is the end of the weeds. There are undoubtedly still seeds in the ground. Keep watching for new weed sprouts.
Weeds with long, fleshy roots (like dandelion & bindweed) will grow back, if part of the root is left in the ground. This is also true for blackberry. It can be very difficult to get all of the roots of a blackberry vine. If it grows back, keep cutting it off at ground level. I don’t think that herbicide is any more effective than cutting.
This blog was started in 2008 as Metropolitan Gardens to provide information about gardening in Seattle & the Pacific Northwest. It was later expanded to include information about parks, community gardens & public gardens in the US, Canada, Europe & South Africa. These can be found by clicking on Parks P-Patches Public Gardens. Natural areas in the US & South Africa can be found by clicking on Nature. The primary focus has always been on Seattle. However, many posts are based on photos taken while traveling. Please feel free to use the basic gardening information & plant lists found by clicking on Gardening in Cascadia. There are also posts on Urban Landscape, which is primarily architecture. Comments are welcome. Posts are scheduled on the 1st Friday of each month October-March & twice a month April-September. Seattle Urban Landscape offers garden design & consultation at very reasonable rates in Seattle, & garden design by email in other areas. Contact Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Seattle rests between 2 bodies of water: Puget Sound & Lake Washington. Puget Sound is a substantial part of the Salish Sea & a very small part of the Pacific Ocean. The Salish Sea is set apart from the Pacific by the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington & Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia. The dense, wet clouds of the Pacific Ocean travel as far as the Cascade Mountains, near the Salish Sea & not very far from the ocean. East of the Cascades lies the desert of the Columbia Basin. The moist, temperate climate of Seattle extends south to northern California & north to southeastern Alaska. The Pacific Northwest Coast from San Francisco Bay to Cook Inlet shares a flora dominated by evergreen coniferous forest. The central portion, west of the Cascade Mountains, is called Cascadia. The climate is cool & wet from fall to spring, warm & dry in summer. The Olympic Mountains block Seattle from much of the Pacific rainfall. Seattle is drier than the Atlantic coast of North America & northern Europe, cooler in summer & warmer in winter. It lies near the latitude of Paris & Quebec City.