3 tiered planter

How to Control Weeds in your Garden

Weeds are tricky little devils – just when you think you’ve got them all, you’ll spot another one hiding among your prized perennials, or creeping between the gaps in the patio - just out of reach! Garden weed control presents a seemingly endless campaign for the gardener, and different weeds require different methods of attack to triumph over them. It’s always tempting to reach for the herbicide but there are lots other ways to stop these pesky garden intruders.

As our Facebook and Twitter followers have asked us so many questions about how to control weeds in the garden that we decided to bring all of the answers together to share this information and hopefully solve some of your garden problems too!

If you can’t find a specific answer to your problem then here are a few tips to help you choose the best method of weed control.

  1. Know your enemy - Annual weeds can be controlled with regular hoeing but the same method makes perennials grow back bigger and stronger than before! It’s well worth identifying your opponent to help you select the best method of control.
  2. Attack annuals regularly - The old saying that ‘one year’s seeding makes seven years weeding’ certainly holds true. Annual weeds produce huge amounts of seed that rest in your soil until conditions are right, and then suddenly appear overnight. Fortunately these can be easily controlled with the hoe while they are young. Never let them reach flowering stage.
  3. A perennial problem - Hand weeding perennials is often the most effective method but can be time consuming. Don’t be tempted to take short cuts by chopping perennial weeds such as bindweed and mares tail with a rotavator – these weeds can regrow from the smallest pieces of root, leaving you with even more weeds than before!
  4. Cultural controls - To reduce future weed invasions consider mulches and weed control fabrics to create a physical weed barrier.
  5. Use chemicals with care - If you need to resort to using weed killer then make sure that you read the label carefully, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Never apply chemicals near ponds and other water habitats. Always choose a still, calm day to undertake spraying. Always wear appropriate safety equipment when applying herbicide.
  6. Patience is a virtue - Unrelenting perennial weeds will require several applications of weed killer to weaken them. Be persistent and attack them regularly.
  7. Organic weed control – If you are not keen on chemicals, your best bet is to stick to hoeing and hand weeding. Little and often is the key! But if your back won’t take it then try investing in a weed burner.
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Sue Sanderson

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.

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