How can you tell when spring has arrived? Easy – you will know when the weeds start growing! As spring has been unusually late this year, growth has been very slow to start, but everyone is quickly making up for lost time. If you can get on top of weeds in the garden around now, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy later on.
What is a weed? Really it’s just a plant in the wrong place – every plant has its uses and its reason for existence but if you want a well - kept garden, there are some individuals who need to be shown the door to prevent them competing with your precious ornamental plants for light, air and nutrients. In the race for survival the weeds will always win unless you tackle them –compared to most “garden” plants, they grow faster, quicker, and stronger and have developed survival mechanisms that make them hard to get rid of.
I never use weedkiller as I don’t see the point in introducing chemicals into a healthy ecosystem when there is no need. Most annual weeds can be pulled out by hand or hoed off successfully and if you catch them early in the season, they won’t have had time to set seed and multiply yet. Perennials like dandelions and bindweed are harder, but still worth tackling early – you need to take care to gently ease out as much of the root as possible, as breaking them can encourage new plants. The very best time is after a showery few days when the soil is damp and roots can be pulled out easily.
For paths and driveways, where roots can really get stuck in, a kettle of boiling water poured straight on to the offenders shows them who’s boss – I do this a few times a year and it stops them being a problem.
For lawns you can use a “grubber” – a metal tool with a forked point at the end – to lift up invaders, although I’ll admit to having a soft spot for daisies, and unless they’re really running riot, I’d be inclined to live and let live!
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
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