Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

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Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby Iheartbougs » August 2nd, 2018, 10:58 am

Finally ringed my tiny backyard with bonsai-benches, setup the hose so I could water more easily (when not applying fert at least!), didn't realize how badly my sandy backyard (I'm ~30sec from the beach..) would get covered in weeds, there's just a line of weeds around the edge of the yard starting under the benches and working its way inward, would love to just grab the glyphosate(roundup) and spray but can't bring myself to use it anywhere near my trees (I don't know, a clean application on a still day *should* be safe, am not interested in testing that though!!)

Any&all tips/tricks for killing large swaths of weeds would be greatly appreciated, have this under the whole 'bench-fence' surrounding my backyard and it's getting nuts (some wild weed-grass got tall enough to reach a bench's shelf...no good!!) We'd play putt-putt around the trees last summer, the backyard was literally that devoid of weeds that you could putt smoothly across hard-dirt, want them gone ASAP! Thanks :)
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby Elmer » August 2nd, 2018, 12:24 pm

Mix 2ltr vinegar, 1 cup salt and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Super effective, cheap, easy and safe. The salt can leave ground unfit for sensitive plants.
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby dansai » August 2nd, 2018, 2:00 pm

Most definitely don't use Glysophate. The first thing to come back will be all the weeds you just got rid of.

You could try the above solution of Elmer's then mulch under you benches then be vigilant and weed regularly. I find weeds grow under benches quite easily as there is lower light, extra water and Fert, no competition from something like lawn and its hard to mow under them.
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby rodm » August 2nd, 2018, 2:54 pm

Spray the area with weed killer, cover with weed mat or some old carpet then cover with some coarse gravel of reasonable depth, 2 to 3 inches (50-70mm). This makes it easy to pull out the occasional weed. This is what I’ve done under my benches, works a treat ;)
Cheers RodM
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby Raging Bull » August 2nd, 2018, 4:54 pm

If you do spray with a weed killer of some sort I would strongly advise to remove your trees to inside the house or somewhere else away from your backyard. Even if you don't see it, there will always be some spray drift. I very carefully sprayed a brick paved area with glyphosate but still managed to kill small patches of lawn near the paved area. :palm:
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby shibui » August 2nd, 2018, 6:58 pm

I spray glyphosate all round my benches, even with pots sitting on the ground. Also along the rows where trees are growing in the grow beds and never have any adverse effects on the trees. It takes a good dose of glyphosate to kill or even affect a plant. A minute bit of drift will not hurt most plants.

Most definitely don't use Glysophate. The first thing to come back will be all the weeds you just got rid of.
This is very true. You will need to mulch with gravel or bark chips and continue to treat for weeds as they appear. I have not found any other safe solution.
Mix 2ltr vinegar, 1 cup salt and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Super effective, cheap, easy and safe. The salt can leave ground unfit for sensitive plants.
This may be super safe for the other plants but what does all that salt do to the wider environment. Australia has a real problem with salinity I can't see any future in adding more salt to our soils. Most Australian soils are also relatively acidic. Adding vinegar will lower the pH even more. If used a few times it will definitely sterilise the soil and make it unusable for plants and other life :o

weed mat or some old carpet
I will never use old carpet again :oops: :cry: . The backing rots away but the pile is synthetic and does not rot. Eventually a few threads will poke up through the mulch. When you pull on one miles and miles of tread start to come out. The gift that just keeps on giving :shake:

If you are really worried about both weeds and the effect of chemicals you really need to get down and remove the weeds - BEFORE they set seed
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby robb63 » August 2nd, 2018, 8:31 pm

If you are worried about overspray from roundup or similar the two things I do
1. spray only in dead calm weather near bonsai or,
2. apply with watering can instead of spraying
I too have not lost any trees using roundup under benches or around ground growing trees, not yet :D
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby rodm » August 2nd, 2018, 8:58 pm

I’ve only heard of carpet used and agree there is a likely problem, as per Shibui suggests. But weed mat installed properly certainly does the trick, I’ve had it down for years and not an ounce of trouble, most effective for weed control ;)
Cheers RodM :imo:
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Re: Any tips/tricks for getting rid of weeds under bonsai-bench?

Postby Iheartbougs » August 3rd, 2018, 1:21 am

Elmer wrote:Mix 2ltr vinegar, 1 cup salt and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Super effective, cheap, easy and safe. The salt can leave ground unfit for sensitive plants.


Awesome thank you!! Exactly the type of thing I was looking for! And so far as the salt....I've only got 1 large papaya tree(attempted *niwaki*-style, lol, it is 4-headed!), and a hedgerow of 'mexican sunflowers' that's running along the back-side of my bench/yard (grew it as a wind-block), they're both strong enough that I expect I should be fine spraying/treating the weeds with this type of spray and then just flood-watering the area out afterwards!! Will hand-weed a ~a meter around their perimeters so I don't have to spray too close!


dansai wrote:Most definitely don't use Glysophate. The first thing to come back will be all the weeds you just got rid of.

You could try the above solution of Elmer's then mulch under you benches then be vigilant and weed regularly. I find weeds grow under benches quite easily as there is lower light, extra water and Fert, no competition from something like lawn and its hard to mow under them.

Thanks, hadn't thought about mulching under my benches...am actually a bit worried the mulch would be a better growing-medium for weeds than the actual "soil" I have, the weeds are only growing by virtue of the frequent irrigation/fertigation from what my trees get + the rain, I liked it just barren-sand...maybe a rock-mulch over plastic tarping would be the smartest! Would have to punch some holes for drainage though (am picturing this being a perimeter thing, under all benches / around the whole backyard)



rodm wrote:Spray the area with weed killer, cover with weed mat or some old carpet then cover with some coarse gravel of reasonable depth, 2 to 3 inches (50-70mm). This makes it easy to pull out the occasional weed. This is what I’ve done under my benches, works a treat ;)
Cheers RodM

The water-retention of a carpet would be a mosquito breeding-ground unfortunately (as well as this literally being the entire perimeter of my backyard, would have to buy carpet to do that), but I've got 'throw-away' carpet squares I use a dirt-mats coming inside from the garden, the first one is on the backyard-porch and it is permanently wet (and it's a low-pile/outdoor carpet)


Raging Bull wrote:If you do spray with a weed killer of some sort I would strongly advise to remove your trees to inside the house or somewhere else away from your backyard. Even if you don't see it, there will always be some spray drift. I very carefully sprayed a brick paved area with glyphosate but still managed to kill small patches of lawn near the paved area. :palm:

I can't bring myself to risk it (even in the context of moving all my trees, which is basically a non-starter as I've got >100 trees and lots are large yamadori - not *the majority* but closer to a third than 10%!), even after spray-drift is accounted for I can't help but wonder if it just "gets in the air" if, later in the day after application, we get torrential rain (and I'm just past the peak of the rainy season where I live!), can't help but think that all the water pounding the ground and the air being at max-humidity doesn't 'stir up' some - probably a silly worry but, knowing there's non-herbicidal solutions (or gentler ones like suggested by Elmer, which is what I'm planning to try!), I just don't see any reason to take the chance!

shibui wrote:I spray glyphosate all round my benches, even with pots sitting on the ground. Also along the rows where trees are growing in the grow beds and never have any adverse effects on the trees. It takes a good dose of glyphosate to kill or even affect a plant. A minute bit of drift will not hurt most plants.

Most definitely don't use Glysophate. The first thing to come back will be all the weeds you just got rid of.
This is very true. You will need to mulch with gravel or bark chips and continue to treat for weeds as they appear. I have not found any other safe solution.
Mix 2ltr vinegar, 1 cup salt and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Super effective, cheap, easy and safe. The salt can leave ground unfit for sensitive plants.
This may be super safe for the other plants but what does all that salt do to the wider environment. Australia has a real problem with salinity I can't see any future in adding more salt to our soils. Most Australian soils are also relatively acidic. Adding vinegar will lower the pH even more. If used a few times it will definitely sterilise the soil and make it unusable for plants and other life :o

weed mat or some old carpet
I will never use old carpet again :oops: :cry: . The backing rots away but the pile is synthetic and does not rot. Eventually a few threads will poke up through the mulch. When you pull on one miles and miles of tread start to come out. The gift that just keeps on giving :shake:

If you are really worried about both weeds and the effect of chemicals you really need to get down and remove the weeds - BEFORE they set seed


I'm not from Aus, I just kept finding you guys when googling for bonsai-stuff (I'm in semi-tropical FL in the US and grow mostly tropicals, bougainvillea/crape myrtle/etc), but in any case I wouldn't be using so much of it as to cause 'wider' problems (though I can see what you mean if you're referring to *everyone* doing this, I guess then different arguments could be made), especially when we're talking about dumping 1 chemical or the other and RoundUp/glyphosate isn't harmless (not interested in debating this, if I'm wrong and someone's got a link that just totally proves glyphosate is OK for the enviro then I'd read it)

Re carpet I agree I only see that becoming a gross mess under my benches, like the idea of plastic sheeting (with drainage holes every foot or two) on the ground, covered/pinned with a small layer of rock-mulch. Totally agree about pulling them before they seed, as a matter of routine I'd been pulling any weed before it got there but in the past weeks I just couldn't/didn't keep up with it and now it's beyond a practical weeding (I could spend 4hrs weeding and probably not finish, my back will go before the weeds!)

robb63 wrote:If you are worried about overspray from roundup or similar the two things I do
1. spray only in dead calm weather near bonsai or,
2. apply with watering can instead of spraying
I too have not lost any trees using roundup under benches or around ground growing trees, not yet :D


I can't say I expect that, were I to use roundup, that I'd kill a tree (unless I erred, though I've got enough experience w/ a sprayer that I'm not worried about that), I think it's more of a concern about 'hurting' them, I've sprayed roundup on weeds before *and they didn't even die* so I know a plant can take roundup w/o dying *but* have to imagine the plants I've seen survive it were not looking happy (am thinking about swaths of grass I've tried killing, literally using 2x as much roundup as I'd have thought I'd need at a stronger (~10oz/gal) concentration, I had to do 3 applications to kill the whole swath!), so my concern isn't killing a tree so much as 'hurting' them (I've got so many and the weeds are just centered around their benches, too close for my comfort!)

rodm wrote:I’ve only heard of carpet used and agree there is a likely problem, as per Shibui suggests. But weed mat installed properly certainly does the trick, I’ve had it down for years and not an ounce of trouble, most effective for weed control ;)
Cheers RodM :imo:


For sure! Love weed-mating, I've used cheap plastic tarping (polyurethane sheeting, not the blue type that's 'stitched') in many instances and I just 'pin it down' with whatever the mulching is and it's always worked! Will have to figure-out a mulching-plan (thinking marble-chips or generic river-rocks, something hard/non-porous, wish scoria would work but know it'll get gross with the run-off from the benches!) and do that + weed-mat after getting these weeds out in the first place (they've gotten too large to just cover-up as they are, it'd be a mess under that plastic lol!)
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