Weeds have a bad reputation – the word often associated with them is ‘pernicious’ which can mean evil, malignant, spiteful and wicked. And for gardeners this can often ring true as we do battle in our beds.
But what is a weed? A weed is a plant in the wrong place and even a tree or a rosebush can be a weed by that definition. They can have value as a plant in their own right – and can even be edible, but if they aren’t what you want to grow in that spot then they must go… Some are easy enough to remove and others can be a complete nightmare – hence the label pernicious.
Finding out who you have and how they grow can help you to get rid of them.
Unfortunately, you have no control over airborne or passenger weeds as they send their seeds on the air, on the fur of the dog or by a bird pooping overhead. Like blackberries and thistles. The key here is watch for them and pull or hoe them out while they are small.
Creepers spread across the garden – above or below ground with rhizomes and regularly put down roots. Buttercup travels above ground but is also stubborn to pull up and has seeds. Convolvulus travels below ground sending up shoots to strangle plants. But its rhizome is fragile and can regrow from the smallest fragment. It also has seeds and an extremely deep root.
Weeds with taproots are terrible as it takes a mammoth effort to pull these out and often requires some deep digging. But make sure you get them all as they can regrow from the smallest tip left behind. Dock and Dandelion are great at this and also have loads of seeds!
Weeds with bulbils like oxalis and onion weed are a complete nightmare as the bulbils hang on loosely and if the plant is tugged out of the ground the bulbils fall off and start all over again. With these it can be better to keep chopping the tops off to weaken the whole plant, but it can take a while.
More weed tips:
· * Don’t let them flower and go to seed. There is an old gardening expression that says, "One year to seed; seven to weed."
· * Don’t put weeds with seeds on your compost pile.
· * Weed a weedy garden with your back to the weeds so you are encouraged by what you have done.
· * Don’t use a rotary hoe in a weedy garden or you will chop up the weeds and make thousands more.
· * A thick covering of cardboard for 6 – 8 weeks will block light and kill most weeds.
· * Don’t rush weeding – do it slowly and thoroughly. You don’t need to do it all in one day.
· * Check for weeds every week throughout the season and remove them while they are small.
· * A good thick mulch with keep most at bay and conserve moisture.
I hope this is helpful – you can find out more about weeds >HERE< on the Yates website. Let me know – What are your worst weeds?
And while I’m here I want to tell you about my favourite soil additive - aside from compost, and I’m really not biased – my garden loves this stuff and I’ll always use it. It is >Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food<. It is an organic slow-release food made with chicken poop and loads of other beneficial goodies and a little goes a long way! Which is just as well as I’m on my last bag and am still in Level 4!
Happy gardening and as always – if you want to get in touch leave a comment below.
Sarah the Gardener : o)