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Black plastic use in shady area

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Hi everyone, I have a shady area where 6 years ago we planted some shrubs and perennials. There are many hostas, comfrey, etc. Alas, we did not keep up with grass creeping in from neighbor's lawn next door and the whole area is heavily infested with grass. I am not sure how to get rid of grass without digging up all of our plants. I have tried doing newspaper and covering with mulch in situations like this, and you can't get rid of the grass from around the base of the plantings and are forever fighting it spreading. Has anyone had success with this?

I thought of digging everything up except large plantings and putting down black plastic as it gets hot here, but it doesn't get much sun as is under a large elm tree. Do you need sun or are hot temps enough to kill the grass if I left the plastic down long enough? We have the plastic and it is way easier than doing the newspaper and then bark in my opinion.

Thanks, Beth
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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You don't need the sun or hot temperatures to kill the plants under black plastic. If you leave it there long enough, it will kill everything that is under it. That's how I prepare my gardens. Sun and heat speed the process, but just blocking the light works as well, it just takes longer.
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