Poppies (Papaver spp.) , grown because of their vibrant, showy blooms and attractive seed pods, comprise both perennial and yearly varieties. You can develop them readily from seed sown directly in the garden. Removing weeds before planting and preventing the future increase will make growing your poppies easier and much more rewarding. Mechanical procedures for weed removal include hand drawing and tilling. Other procedures include herbicides and mulching. You will likely need to use a mixture of these methods to get rid of the weeds.
Mechanical Weed Removal
Prior to sowing poppy seeds, then you are going to need to eliminate weeds from the planting area. The reliable procedures of weed removal from hand-pulling and tilling need effort and time but are environmentally safer than chemical processes. Till or dig to a depth of 12 inches to guarantee elimination of deeper weed roots. Normally, when you have weeds in an area, the soil in that area also has weed seeds. You’ll probably have to take additional steps to prevent new weeds from invading before you sow your poppy seeds.
Plant poppy seeds in autumn for spring blossoms once you’ve pulled weeds from the bed. In regions with longer growing seasons, you can sow seeds in late winter or early spring for a fall crop of blossoms. Texas A&M; University recommends scratching the seeds in using a rake and keeping the planting bed moist. Many of the yearly poppy species will continue to self-sow in case you leave the pods on the plants. Poppies grow best in full sun and in rich soil that drains well.
The importance of mulch in weed prevention is hard to overstate. Mulch prevents weed germination by blocking sunlight to dormant weed seeds at the top layer of soil. Once poppies begin to demonstrate growth, apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to the planted area. Do this early spring and again in autumn. Preventing competition for resources from weeds will help the poppies thrive. Great muclh options include compost with or without aged manure, and ground bark or hardwood.
Preemergent herbicides work by blocking weed germination. Apply these in spring and again in early summer to stop cool- and warm-season weeds, respectively. Avoid using these too early in the growing season as young poppy plants may be injured, along with the weeds you are trying to avoid. Wait until poppies are 6 inches tall before having a preemergent herbicide. Short-acting post-emergent herbicides, like glyphosate, degrade quickly. You can use these safely as controlled spot treatments to kill individual weeds while poppies are actively growing or blooming, so long as you take care to avoid spraying the poppies.