To edge or not to edge……that is the question!

No one likes the chore of edging beds. But we like the look of sharp edges. What is a person to do?
I often get the request to put stones along the edge of beds. The thinking is that this will eliminate the need for re-edging every year and keep the grass from growing into the beds. Well, it isn’t that simple. The grass still finds its way under and between the rocks or other edging material. So now you have to edge against the rocks. This can easily be done with “roundup” or one of the generic “glyphosate” materials. But you can also use this systemic herbicide to simply spray the edge of your beds to keep the lawn from encroaching. That is about the easiest method for edging and we are all looking for low maintenance !

I understand that spraying chemicals is a sensitive topic these days and particularly “roundup” because of its popularity in agriculture. But the fact is that glyphosate is a great work saving tool in the garden. FYI………glyphosate is the active ingredient in roundup for which the patent has expired and can now be found in many inexpensive formulations. It will kill most but not all plants (weeds). It is very safe on people and pets. It is also safe on soil as it breaks down on contact with soil. In fact, if you have a little dirt in your sprayer the chemical binds to those particles and is no longer effective to kill weeds. Here is a quote from Popular Science magazine. “glyphosate is among the mildest herbicides available, with a toxicity 25 times less than caffeine.”

Sorry to get off topic. Now back to the edging discussion. Yes you can use a mechanical edger, but the other problem we get into is cutting the shallow lines that fill our properties today. We’ve got cable TV, telephone, irrigation and dog fences. It’s nearly impossible to avoid cutting these lines which are often found only an inch under the grass. Another thing to consider is that the deeply dug edge will quickly fill back up with debris and eroded soil.

I agree that sharply edged beds look neat and clean. So does constantly sheared shrubbery. But this is NOT low maintenance. Low maintenance is primarily achieved in the design stage by planting the “right plants in the right place.” A natural look is pleasant and much easier to maintain.
Let’s work with nature…………………not against it.

[featured image top – Pleasant, nearly “no maintenance” bed]