I have to admit, I was kind of surprised about the questions raised from my last post. But then I realized, to the uninitiated it could be confusing.
You need to realize that any knowledge I might have is through trial and error over the years, thus the "I'm Just Winging It" in the title. And throughout those years, I've learned that I despise weeds/weeding and invasive plants - both of which are trying to take over my yard and flower beds. And that I have many flower beds; including a GIANT one in the back of the house.
So slowly, but surely, I am using cardboard to help cut down on the weeds and prevent the invasive plants from returning after I have tried to eradicate them (this method does NOT help when the invasive plants just pop up in the middle of the yard, which The Husband deals with by running them over with the lawn mower). Not all of the beds have been done - mainly because I'm still in the process of removing/thinning plants and trying to get the beds exactly the way I want them.
A lot of people use landscape fabric/paper in their beds - I used to do it all the time. If you choose to use it, I am not vilifying you, but earthworms aerate the soil and the landscape fabric/paper prevents that from happening. Also, cardboard (plain brown; not printed or shiny, minus packing tape) will eventually break down. See this article for more information. In my experience it seems like the landscape fabric just hangs around forever (a slight exaggeration on my part) just getting rattier and rattier. From what I understand, you can also use thick sections of newspaper - but it seems to me that this method would break down far quicker than cardboard meaning you would have to re-do it more often. No, I do not know if that is factually accurate - but it makes sense to me.
Generally, I will cut the cardboard boxes flat and then lay the cardboard around the existing plants, covering all bare areas and then cover the whole thing with dark mulch (my preference - you could also use pine needles/straw or a different colored mulch, why you would want to do that is beyond me though, but it's your yard). This will deter any weeds, etc. from growing. Eventually, you will need to re-apply the cardboard and cover with mulch, etc.
This really does help cut down on your weeding time. Especially, if you also utilize Preen, which prevents weeds from germinating in the first place, which they will when birds or whatever drops the seeds on top of the mulch and cardboard.
So there you go...start hoarding those Amazon boxes.
In other yard news - we lost three ornamental plum trees to Black Knot fungus. It is such a shame because they were so pretty in the Spring. By the time we noticed the fungus, it was too late. I think our wet winter contributed to the problem. Yesterday, the tree guys came by and cut them down. It was actually kind of amazing because of the technology they utilized. They were in and out in about 30 minutes - and that included chipping the trees and clean up.
Today, the stump grinding guy showed up. And that was really amazing because he had this very large machine that he directed via remote control. And again, he was in and out in about 30 minutes, including clean up.
After some discussion, The Husband and I have decided not to replace the trees for a couple of reasons. Two of the trees obscured the front of the house and hid most of the front landscaping, including the Japanese maple. The other one, on the other side of the driveway never even registered with us that it was ours. Also, The Husband pointed out that their removal would make his job of mowing that much easier.