Let’s talk weeds. We’re all familiar with them and, sadly, they are an unavoidable feature of any garden. All of the conditions we need for our garden to thrive like light, space and moisture are also the same conditions that will enable weeds to thrive. There’s no denying they are a nuisance, growing not just amongst our carefully placed shrubs, perennials and herbaceous plants, but in our lawns, between cracks in paving, and sometimes even between brickwork.
Controlling weeds is a regular maintenance task we all must undertake. Allowing weeds to run amok can cause specimen plants to fail. Lots of weeds are invasive and grow vigorously – they’re competitive, and usually win the race for space and light. For some, weeding can be a practice in mindfulness, even therapeutic, however for a lot of us it feels like a never-ending battle.
So, what can be done to stay on top of these garden invaders and how often should you be doing it?
At this time of year conditions are perfect for seeds lurking in the soil to germinate and, and there is the potential for more to blow into your garden or be dropped by birds. Because of this, it is best to carry out weeding as often as you are in your garden; in doing this you can catch weeds before they flower and set seed. An added benefit is by getting up close and observing your garden will help you to spot the first signs of pests or disease amongst it.
When it comes to carrying out weeding there is no hard and fast rules for how you do it. Mulching goes a fair way to suppressing annual weeds, but beyond that controlling weeds means getting hands on in your garden. One method is to dig out weeds using a spade – this is best done in an area of your garden where you aren’t already growing anything. For large weeds it’s best to dig out and remove all parts of them, including the roots to avoid regrowth. The same goes for smaller weeds but you may want to use a hand fork for easier removal.
If you are noticing weeds growing amongst your ornamental plants then pulling them out before they set seed is most effective, just take care to remove the roots which can sometimes be much larger than the actual weed itself. Hoes are a good tool for weeding and can be useful for bigger jobs or those with back problems. It is best to hoe when soil is dry as the this will inhibit new weeds from becoming established. The key to weeding your garden is to do it thoroughly and regularly. Regularly weeded gardens look fresh and tidy and well cared for and even a little bit of work can go a long way to improving the appearance of a garden.
Plant Tip –
A great plant for this month are Penstemons, they come in a range of colours and flower prolifically, this perennial is ideal to brighten up a border!
JASON IS A PROFESSIONAL GARDENER AND LANDSCAPER, AND OWNER OF JHPS-GARDENS LTD.
HE REGULARLY WRITES A PIECE FOR OUR WEBSITE, PLUS THE SENTINEL NEWSPAPER,
AND IS A GO TO EXPERT ON BBC RADIO STOKE’S GARDENING PROGRAMME.