Miss Landscape

A weedy problem


Weeds are plants growing in the wrong place - they may be native plants or grasses, self sown seedlings or the tulip that you missed when lifting the bulbs last autumn, an invader amongst your snapdragons!

Textbooks stress the various ways in which weeds can harm the growth of your plants - they may cast shade, harbour pests and diseases, and they will also compete for water, nutrients and space.

Getting to know weeds is essential, as a different control technique is required for each type, you'll quickly learn to recognise the common weeds in your area by their essential features - doc and dandelion for their huge tap roots, for example. Similarly, the white roots of bind weed will shine like beacons in the soil once you recognised this nemesis.


Annual weeds

Annual weeds complete at least one life cycle from seed to seed during a season. These spread by seeding and all fertile soils contain a large reserve of dormant annual weeds seeds. The golden rule is that annual seeds must be removed before they set seed, thus breaking the cycle. Hoeing regularly in my opinion, is the most effective way to accomplish this, little and often.

Perennial weeds

Perennial weeds survive overwinter by means of underground stems or roots, which act as a larder, storing sugars and nutrients ready for the next growing season. Fork out the whole plant including the roots if you can. Also continually removing the leaves and top growth will eventually kill the weed by starving it of the ability to photosynthesize.

Wherever possible I try to dig out perennial weeds by the roots. You can also buy heat guns that burn off the top growth of weeds. Weeding is made easier if you tackle weeds as soon as you see them. If your garden is overrun with weeds, and you're struggling to keep them at bay, i'd suggest hiring a professional gardener to deal with them.

Prevention

Physical barriers such as weed suppressant membrane, organic mulch pebbles or ground cover plants are the most reliable and eco friendly method of preventing the appearance of weeds, mainly through excluding light thus preventing photosynthesis.

I personally don't head straight for the chemical weed killer as I'm all about the bees but they are effective if used correctly as per manufacturer's instructions. Organic herbicides are available on the market, and you can mix up a solution at home that is pet friendly, a solution of dish soap, salt, vinegar and water will effectively kill weeds, and plants for that matter so be careful where you spray it!