They are the thorn in the side of every gardener – usually the first to show up and the last to disappear, weeds can be a real time consuming problem. Although we see them as a nuisance, the purpose of the weed is actually to bring back life into the earth. Having adapted for survival, weeds can grow almost anywhere much to our annoyance! In order to get on top of your weeds you need to understand how these unwanted visitors operate, in order to conquer the invaders and reclaim back your garden. We have put together some handy tips to help you knock these intrusive weeds on the head!
Know your Weeds
Weeds fall into two categories – annual and perennial. Normally the easiest to control is the annual variety. The most common culprits include Chickweed, Nettles, Groundsel, Shepherds Purse and Bittercress. They grow from seed to weed in one season, die off and leave a plentiful bounty of seeds ready to germinate the following year, or even years after! The best attack is to ensure they do not flower!
Perennial Weeds are the most persistent weed, returning year after year, in all of their glory! Common weeds which fall into this category include Horsetail, Hedge Bindweed, Grand Elder and the Dandelion. These weeds can live for years and survive on nutrients stored in their roots throughout the winter months. New foliage is produced in the spring and seeds can be dispersed and spread to other areas of your garden. The best way of dealing with these relentless weeds is to remove the entire root and stem.
Top Tips for Weeds
- Weeds are present in every area of your garden but it is only the top few inches that receive enough light in order to grow. The less you disturb the soil, the less likely fresh weeds will appear. Digging and cultivating increases the chances of weeds germinating, so dig only where you need to. Be sure to plant something or mulch with bark, chips or similar on the disturbed soil.
- Wetter is better! Although we all want to do our gardening in the sunny weather, weeding after the soil has been moistened makes it much easier to pull up roots. Try pulling up roots after the rain has been or use recycled water to help the process.
- When watering your plants, target the roots of each specific plant to avoid the watering your weeds!
- Never let the weed mature – the earlier you get it the better! Given enough time the roots will fix and seeds drop. Remember to remove the entire ball of root and plant. If you don’t have time to weed then cut down the weed and remove all flowers!
- If you have a large area of weeds needing the chop then cover with plastic (preferably black) for 2-4 weeks. This starves the weeds of light or they will die of the heat.
- It can be tricky removing weeds from patios and pavements so why not pour some boiling water over them. This should kill the weed which can then be extracted.
- As a preventable measure, ensure you leave little space when planting flower beds. Restricted space will discourage weeds from growing.
Weeds – The Task Ahead
Weeding is an endless task so be sure to do it little and often. If you see an unwanted weed in your garden pull it there and then. This will save more work in the long run and increases the likelihood of spotting weeds before they plant their seed!
If you are concerned about your weeds, why not pop in and speak to our Horti experts to see how we can help.