Posted 05-26-2003 at 04:40:14
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What type of fence? Wire, split rail, wood planks, etc.?
If you can get under the fence, landscaping fabric can help. Unroll it along side the fence. Cut a slit and a circle, as needed to allow for the posts. Slide the fabric under the fence. Then, cover the fabric with your choice of materials. Pea gravel, river stones, or other gravels. Depending on what type of weeds you're fighting, builder's sand may be a good choice.
Personally, I wouldn't use lava rock. While it may work well, I wouldn't want this stone in/around my flower beds.
Another option, although it may be expensive, is to use landscape edging between the fence and your flower bed. Dig a trench as close to the fence as you can get. Install the edging. This will stop most weeds (that spread by runners) from creeping into your beds.
If you can cultivate on the other side of the fence, that's an option. Just keep a narrow strip along side the fence tilled. Once you establish this strip, it shouldn't take long to run a small tiller over it every couple of weeks, or so. Mantis or Honda cultivator is what I have in mind for this task.
If the fence is solid, is Roundup an option for the other side? Spray a strip about 6" wide along side the fence.
If available in your area, pine straw would work as a good mulch. We have lots of termite troubles in my area. However, I've never seen termites in pine straw. (I frequently use this, along with a layer of newspaper to mulch around tomatoes, in the garden.) Come to think of it, I haven't seen termites with shredded leaves, wheat straw mulch, etc. Can't speak about bark mulch, since I've never used it.
BTW, I still haven't figured out why people use that bright red mulch. For some reason, I've seen a lot of it this spring. Wondering what it will look like by the end of summer, after the sun works on that color for a while.