When you have made a rock garden or a raised bed by observing the basic rules, then routine maintenance ought to be a straight forward task. It should not call for as much skill as required in the trimming of fruit trees nor the heavy work demanded in your vegetable plot. You shouldn’t be worried by weeds for some time and your plants will flourish in your well drained, gritty conditions that you should have provided for them. But regular maintenance is absolutely not something one can ignore. Leave a shrub border untended for just a season and no great harm should result, but leave a rock garden for a year and it can be ruined.
Treat rock garden care as a routine once-a-week job during the growing season, in the same way as you may treat house plant and lawn maintenance. Weed control will be the major task. Keep the area free from dead plants and debris, and water only when needed. Dead-head spent flowers where practical, particularly if the variety of plant can become a nuisance by self seeding. Label plants which die down for part of the year.
Autumn is the chief overhaul time of your gardening year. All fallen leaves must be removed and the stems of rampant plants require to be cut back. You should not leave this job for the spring. Cover winter sensitive plants. In spring renew the grit mulch, feed, remove winter protection, firm plants which have been lifted by frost and search for slug damage.
All this advise might have arrived too late for you – the rockery may already have been over-run by weeds and it is covered with straggly rampant alpines because of past neglect. There is not an easy answer. You might be required to start again. Take away the soil from the affected area, replace it with new planting mixture and then replant.
Weeding Your Garden:
Weeding your garden is one of them most tedious of all maintenance jobs, and prevention is a great deal easier than cure. Begin at construction time, make certain that the planting site is free from all perennial weeds and that all weed roots have been removed from the topsoil used for creating the planting mixture. As described below, a mulch of grit on rockery and raised bed gardens or bark on peat gardens will help to prevent weeds.
It is unfortunate that however careful you have been at the construction stage, weeds still emerge and they need to be tackled promptly as dwarf plants like alpines can easily be swamped by them. There are a number of sources of these weeds, and you can cut down the task of weeding if you take preventive measures. Firstly, weeds can be brought in with plants that you purchase, at all times check carefully and pull out stems and roots of any weeds which are growing on the soil surface of the pot.
Next, perennials can creep in from surrounding land so try to create some type of weed-proof barrier if this is likely. Finally, weed seeds may be blown on to your site – remember that this includes the seed from nearby rock garden plants which effortlessly produce self-sown seedlings. Dead-heading and weed control in surrounding land will reduce this problem.
Hoeing just isn’t practical where a grit mulch is used. Pulling out weeds by hand is the usual technique to tackle the problem, you may want to trowel if the roots are firmly anchored. Of course, not all self-sewn alpines are weeds, you might only want to pull out seedlings that are growing where they are not required. Perennial weeds are a tough problem when the roots are too deep and widespread to get removed. The answer here is to paint the leaves very carefully with glyphsate – never spray weed killers and never use lawn-type ones.