Weeding is one of those tasks that pretty much every gardener would rather avoid. If you could wave a magic trowel and never have weeds be out of place, or bother your perfect garden again, then that’s exactly what most of us would do. Alas, if you care about your garden, managing weeds is simply one of those tasks you’ll have to regularly conquer.
But whether it’s a task you find daunting, or it’s just part of your gardening routine, here’s a short guide to help you deal with any type of weed.
To weed, or not to weed…
Every plant has a purpose, and weeds can actually provide a number of benefits, such as trapping and breaking down organic matter to feed insects and micro-organisms. Some even provide food for flying bugs such as the humble bee, an important part of nature’s ecosystem. They are also really good at bringing up water and nutrients from deep in the ground, the problem is; they like to keep most of it for themselves.
These plants are hardy fighters, and that’s not so good for some of your more delicate plants and crops. They grow faster than most other plants and grasses, which means they can quickly spread and take over, meaning fewer precious nutrients for that beautiful flower bed you’ve been cultivating all spring. Not to mention they can often be an eye sore.
Removing weeds from your garden, at least from those beautified areas, means giving your plants and crops the best chance they have to flourish. But does that mean you have to remove them all? Is there a small patch somewhere (behind a shed, maybe) that can be left to grow wild for the sake of garden wildlife and insects? Either way; every garden is different, and how you shape that space is ultimately for you to decide.
Common and Tougher Weeds
Weeds come in all shapes and sizes, but there are 3 main groups of weeds and understanding which you have can make all the difference in how you tackle them.
Annuals: These are some of your most common green weeds, such as chickweed and hairy bittercress. They have a one-year lifecycle before they set their seeds up for next year.
Perennials: More flowery weeds, like Dandelions have a much longer lifecycle. Getting rid of these tougher plant’s roots is essential if you want it gone for good, and using a weedkiller is recommended.
Trees: Not your traditional weed, however, a tree sprouting up somewhere it shouldn’t gets the same treatment. Even if it’s just the leftover stump that needs to go.
The tried and tested method of elbow grease, a few handy garden tools, and free time on your hands will see most of these weeds dealt with just fine. But the most time efficient and effective method, that will ensure roots are dealt with properly, is to use a good glyphosate-based weedkiller. Our sister-brand Job Done has a whole range of well-suited weedkillers that can easily tackle the above weeds and more. Why not take a look here to find the best solution for your weeding needs.
Paths & Driveways
Clearly somewhere you don’t want weeds to grow is on your garden paths and driveways. Whilst they won’t likely be affecting the health of any of your plants or crops, or get quite as out of hand as other areas of your garden, weeds pushing through paving slabs and gravel definitely isn’t nice to look at. It’s another aspect of beautifying the space around your home, and there are some simple ways to tackle it.
Weeding by hand: Whilst it’s difficult to get all of the roots this way, the simplest solution is to grab your trusty trowel and a corkscrew weeder for graveled areas and spend the time digging and scraping away those pesky weeds from your gravel and paving slabs.
Plastic sheeting: Relatively cheap and easy to cut to size; some black plastic sheeting laid out over your gravel path or driveway is a sure way to starve weeds of sunlight and water. Although, you will have to leave it down for several weeks, be wary of waterlogging, and driving over it could produce holes for weeds to find their way through.
Using Weedkiller: The most effective method is using a systemic weedkiller that will kill these hard to dig up weeds, and the roots along with them.
After all your hard work growing some tasty garden vegetables, the last thing you need is weeds worming their way in between your crops! Whilst a little more finesse is needed to ensure you don’t snag a tasty piece of veg when weeding, you still have a couple of options other than traditional hand weeding.
Hoeing: As long as the weeds haven’t gone to seed, then regularly hoeing your vegetable patch is a great method of keeping those weeds at bay. But you do have to be careful! Make sure not to hoe through any that have seed heads, otherwise you’ll just spread them about.
Mulching: Applying a thick layer of mulch can help to smother weeds, cutting them off from sunlight. It’s best applied after taking out the biggest weeds through traditional hand weeding, and may not be as effective on hardy deep rooted weeds. Another thing to be careful about is to not let too much mulch get around the stems of plants you do want to grow, as it can soften them and make them prone to disease.
Weedkiller: For an effective, low-effort method, accurately spraying weeds that have come up between vegetables rows with weedkiller is completely safe. If you need piece of mind that you won’t get any on your vegetables, you can simply cover them with a plastic bag or sheeting before spraying.
Although a quick Google search might suggest using something like using vinegar and salt to get rid of moss, the potential for those to harm the soil and kill bacteria and nutrients in it, are far too great. Instead, our only real suggestion is to use the weedkiller designed for that purpose.