Weeds: the garden problem we all love to hate, right?
Whatever type, size or style of garden you have, weeds will undoubtedly be a part of it. And dealing with those weeds will have probably had you grumbling at some point. I do think there’s a certain amount of satisfaction in transforming a weedy patch into a lovely clear chunk of soil or grass, but if you told me I never had to do any weeding again I’d still be delighted!
Unfortunately, that little fantasy is never going to come true, and since weed control is an integral part of gardening, I think the best approach is to make it as painless and easy to manage as possible. Having tackled what feels like way more than my share of weed disasters over the years down at the allotment and in the garden, I think I’m pretty well-qualified to share my learnings!
Here are my top weed control tips to help you manage those unwelcome invaders.
Weed little and often
If you’ve ever taken your eye off the garden for a few weeks, only to be confronted with a daunting weed control problem in what feels like no time, you’ll know the pain of dealing with weeds that have got out of hand. The picture above is from my garden last week, so I’m no exception!
While I may not stay on top of the weeds all the time, my absolute top tip is to try and tackle them regularly. Taking this approach means the weeds will never get a chance to become established, nor will they spread seed as easily. A few minutes every week really is all you need (unless your garden is vast), and doing it this way actually takes up less time overall, leaving you more time for the gardening jobs that you enjoy.
Roots and all
If at all possible, try to remove all of a weed’s roots along with the top growth. That way, you only have to tackle the problem once, whereas a piece of root left in the ground will quickly grow into another weed. This can be trickier with some plants than others – dandelions and bindweed are my two main offenders – but it really is worth taking a little bit more time to dig out as much root as you can.
Starve the weeds
This method of weed control works well if you don’t mind taking a few months to deal with the problem. You simply smother the weeds with a layer of compost, leaf mould, thick black polythene or cardboard, and wait for the light-starved weeds to die. You do need to regularly remove any re-growing stems, but generally it’s a very hands-off approach which is ideal if time is tight.
I used this method at our allotment last year, when a big chunk of the plot got really out of control. I knew I wouldn’t have time to dig out all the weeds, so I wrote off that particular piece of land for the season, covered it with polythene, and left it until everything had died underneath and I was ready to use the land again.
I also regularly mulch the paths between my raised beds with bark chips, which keeps the weeds nicely under control there too.
Fill up your land
It sounds obvious, but this is one weed control method that we tend to forget about. There’s a reason why a bare patch of earth becomes covered in weeds quicker than an area that is planted; weeds find it harder to become established when they’re competing with other plants for light, water and nutrients. So you now have a very valid reason to add some lovely new plants to your garden!
If you struggle to find time for gardening, consider introducing ground cover plants too; these act as a natural weed suppressant and are great for creating areas that are very low-maintenance.
Deal with tough, problem weeds
If you’re struggling to tackle problem weeds, taking action with a product that’s specifically designed to deal with them is a good option. I’ve been trying out Job done Tough Weedkiller as part of my pre-spring tidy up.
Job done Tough Ready to Use Weedkiller is designed to kill tough weeds such as brambles, nettles and dandelions, giving visible results in 24 hours and preventing re-growth for up to three months. It comes in a ready-to-use spray bottle, which makes it quick and easy to work with. You simply shake the bottle well, open the safety nozzle and you’re ready to spray.
The aim is to spray the weeds until they are thoroughly wet, but stop before the liquid starts to run off the plant. You need to avoid the spray coming into contact with your other plants, so a dry, non-windy day is ideal for use.
I’m forever battling prickly nettles and brambles next to my shed at the allotment, and they’re perfect candidates for Job done. I sprayed the plants a couple of days ago, and can already see evidence of them dying off. It looks like I’ll be able to get to my wheelbarrow without being scratched and stung this year!
I’ve also been using Job done to tackle weeds around the base of walls and in a gravelled area of the garden. We have quite a few spots where the weeds are growing between bricks, and the gravelled seating area is home to a really annoying weed called creeping cinquefoil. When I try to remove weeds by hand in these areas, I inevitably end up snapping them off at ground level, which allows them to re-grow. Job done is ideal for this type of tricky spot.
I’m really impressed with how quickly the product worked; within a couple of days of treatment I could clearly see that the weeds were on their way out, and after a week they were dead. It definitely lives up to it’s name in my experience, tackling weeds fast with minimal effort on my part.
The Job done range also includes weedkiller products that target paths, moss and algae, and a general purpose weedkiller that allows immediate replanting after the weeds have died. If you need to tackle a particularly stubborn weed problem it’s well worth a look.
And there you have it: my tips for controlling those pesky weeds, most of which were learned the hard way! Hopefully they will save you some time and effort, and help you stay on top of one of the more mundane gardening tasks – and if you’re one of the minority of gardeners who enjoys weeding, feel free to pay my garden a visit 😉
What are your tips for weed control in the garden and vegetable patch?
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