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Garden edging can lend character, definition and texture to beds.

Don’t overlook plants as an edging tool. A large mass of color, such as provided by the alyssum, edges gardens well and defines the outline. Other plants to try are candytuft and artemisia.

Plastic or steel edging are other options. This edging will save countless hours spent removing grass and weeds that would otherwise creep into beds. You must use a deep edging, at least four inches.

Basil spicy globe is ideal for edging; it forms a perfectly round shape about six inches high and 12 inches across. It blooms tiny white flowers in late summer. It stays in shape without trimming, and can add to the showy aspect edging in the garden. Phlox look nice spilling over the rocks along the edges.

White marble stones can be used instead of an edging. They give a nice look to the plants. Pieces of broken pots and terracotta tiles can be used to line up the edge of paths and garden beds. Field rocks can work as a natural edging .

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Interesting bottles of any sort on a plastic PVC pipe inserted in the ground work well. Stick the pipe in and be sure it fits inside the neck of the bottle. Use your imagination with other items such as old plates, or willow branches bent over. Wood type edgings are available in landscape centers.

You can try an edger, which is a hand tool that has a long wood handle with a thick metal blade on the end. Work the edger along the lawn an inch or two away from the bed, cutting that much off the grass six to eight inches deep, straight down. Leave this vertical edge exposed, with a slope on the other side back up to the level of the bed. Make sure when you mulch that you do not fill this v-shaped channel, or the grass will grow into it. Remove the cut-off grass from the channel and add it to your compost pile. If you do not, it will grow into the bed. Digging in the edger in works well after a rain.

Run the edges with a trimmer and trim off any shaggy ends once or twice per month. Keeping grass out of garden beds isn’t easy.

All edgings must be installed properly to be effective. Drive the edging in at least three inches, leaving one inch of edging above the ground. Watch for grasses that may creep under the edging. Keeping the beds well mulched and planting fairly close together will help control weeds and grass.

String trimmers aren’t the best tool. They spin with force and can push grass pieces from the lawn into beds. A small piece of grass can root quickly. When you’re done trimming, pick or vacuum up those small pieces.

Grass will still find its way into beds. Remove it by hand or, if you absolutely must, use a herbicide. Be sure that you don’t contaminate nearby plants. Avoid spraying on a windy day and consider applying

herbicide with a paintbrush or sponge. Spray the herbicide directly on the brush or sponge first. Weed preventers can be used.

Get those questions in the mail to Christine Schlueter, 19276 Walden Ave, Hutchinson MN 55350 or email to rcschlueter@yahoo.com

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