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Spring is here, and with it the weeds. This being an “el nino” year, we saw large amounts of rainfall and now have gigantic weeds. Taking on such a task can seem overwhelming, but with the right tools, motivation and a sound plan, almost any yard can be transformed in a weekend.

It all starts with a plan. I highly recommend drought tolerant plants in our climate for several reasons, most importantly is that they will grow with very little care and grace our yards for decades.

Be careful, it is very important to know how big these plants will get when mature. Too many large plants will crowd each other and make your yard look jumbled. Pick two or three large shrubs like ceanothus and fremontodendron in the sun, or ribes in the shade, and surround them with flowering perennials, ornamental grasses, and a groundcover for a quick, easy and fun yard that will look good and keep those pesky weeds from taking over your yard again.

As for the right tools, I recommend renting or borrowing a weed whacker to quickly knock down those four foot dandelions. Rake up your mess and toss it into your green compost bin.

Then using your shovel for small spaces, or renting a rototiller for larger spaces, turn your soil over exposing the roots of those perennial weeds.

Add a layer of organic compost and turn your soil again, this time making sure to break up any root masses and expose all remaining weed roots.

Place your plants around the planting area while still in their pots, evenly spacing the large growing plants, and filling in between with flowers and grasses. Once you have picked out where the plants should go, begin to plant from the middle out, keeping the potted plants where they are until you plant them.

To plant, remove plant from pot by turning plant upside down and gently squeeze the plastic pot. Be sure to have your hand on soil at he top of the pot, not the stem of the plant, and get ready to catch your plant as it falls. If your plant is root bound, be sure to rough up the roots a bit before planting.

After planting all potted plants, fill in gaps with groundcover and bark, then water every day for 7 to 10 days.

After that water twice a week for the first year until established, then once or twice a year in the summer time, and enjoy.

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  • Matt Baume

    This advice is so much better than using pesticides. I was talking to a beekeeper at the Exploratorium today, and ugh, the things those poisons do to bees, it’s just awful.