Brick, steel or aluminum make good edging materials

Backyard Q&A

In the Garden

April 18, 2004|By Dennis Bishop | Dennis Bishop,Special to the Sun

We have an informal garden but would like to edge our beds. We would prefer not to use plastic. What do you recommend?

My personal favorite is brick, but steel and aluminum also make good edging. I would use the brick if I wanted the edging to stand out as an element in the landscape design, and I would use aluminum or steel if I wanted to create an invisible barrier between a shrub or flower bed and a lawn.

All three are manmade materials, but they are organic and will very slowly break down. All can be purchased at local home centers.

If you choose bricks, be sure to get the type called pavers, which are used to build sidewalks, patios and driveways and will hold up for many years. They can be installed on any of their three edges. If you lay them lengthwise, three bricks will cover about 2 feet.

If you install them vertically, it will take six or seven bricks to cover the same 2 feet. I would place about two-thirds of the brick below ground and leave one-third showing above ground.

Checklist

1. Remove the silken webs of the eastern tent caterpillar from wild cherry and crab apple trees. Infested branches can also be pruned out.

2. Avoid the temptation to spray aphids feeding on garden plants. Predators and parasites usually provide effective control.

Dennis Bishop is an urban horticulture educator for the Baltimore office of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Services. If you have a gardening or pest problem, you can call the Home and Garden Information Center hot line (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at 800-342-2507. You can also e-mail questions, order publications and diagnose plant problems by visiting the Web site www.hgic.umd.edu.

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