How to clear weeds before adding raised beds for veggies? Ask an expert

Fall may be in the air, but gardening season is far from over and you may have questions. For answers, contact Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. OSU Extension faculty and master gardeners respond to inquiries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, simply go to the OSU Extension website and enter a question and the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. which one is yours

Q: I have never used a chemical weed killer but our lawn is completely overgrown with a broadleaf weed that looks like a dandelion but is smaller. I want to replace the lawn (lawn of weeds) with raised beds for vegetables. My question is: are there any herbicides I can use to get rid of the weeds that are safe enough to grow vegetables after the weeds die? Or is hand pulling the only way to ensure vegetable safety? The ground is quite compacted and there are blue spruce roots growing through which will make this project difficult.

A: You could pre-water the area and then use tools to remove all the weeds and grass. The weed with yellow flowers is false dandelion (cat’s scar). For a small area like your front yard, it would be reasonable to do this job. I would remove the weeds before installing raised beds. Another option is to smother the existing weeds with cardboard and mulch. See this extension article.

If you decide to use herbicides, be sure to pre-water the area, which will encourage active growth. Herbicides containing the active ingredient glyphosate are used to prepare vegetable garden areas. Product labels will tell you how long to wait before planting (several weeks). Here you will find more information. – Weston Miller, OSU Extension gardener

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Tiny holes puncture a tree trunk

Were these holes made by an emerald ash drill?Courtesy of the OSU Extension Service

How to recognize the emerald ash borer?

Q: I was looking at the bark of my mountain ash today to see if the emerald ash borer beetles were already infested and saw these round holes and weird looking patterns bored into the bark. It looks different than what I’ve seen online for the ash drill bits, not the D shaped holes. – Multnomah County

A: Thank you for your question and for keeping an eye out for the Emerald Ash Burr.

Fortunately, the mountain ash is not a true ash tree and therefore not a host for the emerald ash borer. What seems to be causing these holes are sap suckers, woodpecker-like birds. – Alex Gorman, OSU Expansion Forester

— OSU Extension Service

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