Saturday 4 June 2011


A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place.  They can be either common weeds such as dandelion or daisy, or an invasive plant such as bamboo or clematis.  If they are starting to smoother other plants or grow in places you do not require then you should consider these plants a weed.
Not only are you removing plants that look untidy, but weeding helps to protect your crops and plants by removing unwanted plants that will compete for nutrients, light, water and space.  Removing weeds also helps to remove plants that could harbour pests and diseases.
Weeds can be removed by cultural methods such as hoeing or by the use of chemical control such as the application of glyphostate.  Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and you can effectively use a combination of the two.

Weeding new beds
Perennial weeds such as dandelion are especially hard to eliminate, as they can regenerate from the root when established in the ground and will appear year after year. When planting a new bed ensure you fully dig over the bed and remove any perennial weed roots.  If grass is present in the bed or it has been left for a long time then apply a total weedkiller such as glyphosate to the bed at the manufactures recommended rates to eliminate persistent weeds.  Smaller annual weeds can be buried at a spades depth or during dry spells you can hoe weeds and leave to dry on the surface.

Weeding established beds
Additional weeds will appear on the surface of your beds as weed seeds are dispersed in abundance and will establish on the surface of your bed.  You may wish to use a hoe to remove annual weeds and weaken perennial weeds.  Hoe across the surface of your bed and be careful not to hoe deeper than 2-3cm or to damage existing plants. 
Beds that have seedlings emerging from biannual such as foxglove (digitalis) may be better suited to hand weeding by pulling weeds with hand or using a trowel.

Chemical control of weeds
Chemical control can be used to prevent weed growth too.  Total weed killers will remove ALL vegetation that the chemical comes into contact with and is suitable for emllminating weeds in hard landscape areas or new beds.  Selective weed killers remove only SELECTED weeds such as dandelion and daisy and are used to remove weeds within grass areas.  Residual weed killers can be used on shrub beds to emlinate weeds without damaging other planting within the beds.

Chemicals can work most effectively on large areas but can be expensive to purchase and would not be suitable for organic gardeners.

For related articles click onto:
Feeding plants
Grass maintenance - laying turf
Grass maintenance - sowing a lawn from seed
History of the lawn

Lawn care
Laying concrete

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