When it comes to weeding in the garden there are many tips and tricks to keep them under control. These methods of weed control in the garden don’t require chemicals, so check out my tips below.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that weeds are defined as ‘a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.’ Therefore, some plants that would be deemed as weeds to one person, may be a worthwhile plant for others. In fact, many weeds are edible.
Gravel is a relatively cheap covering that can help to suppress weeds. To make it effective, apply it at a thickness of 2.5cm so that it is easy enough to walk over rather than being too deep. Keep weeds at bay by hoeing away any weeds that make their way through. This method of controlling weeds is great for pathways and drives, places with a lot of footfall.
Next is a method that is available in a few different variations, but the main purpose is to use the close weave mesh as a suppressant to stop weeds growing through. It can be made from plastic or textiles. It can still be used in planted up areas by laying it and then cutting slits into it to plant through. These sections can then be hidden with bark chippings to keep the area looking appealing. Due to the mass covering, this method is best around established shrubs or in borders where access isn’t needed regularly.
Black plastic can also do the trick of suppressing weeds. This can be laid and left for around 6 months, then removed along with the weeds underneath. The black plastic eliminates light so the weeds cannot grow.
For a quick solution in a space that’s not needed to look incredibly formal, newspaper can be used. Different thicknesses can be used on top of light weeds to smother it. Remember the paper will need to be weighed down, so covering it with chipped bark will keep it in place whilst making it look neater too. Also, the newspaper will eventually decompose too.
As mentioned within the other methods of control, chipped bark is a worthwhile addition to try because it will last a long amount of time and has a natural finish too. A layer of around 3cm deep is sufficient, but can be topped up as and when as necessary. This method is great in woodland gardens, cottage gardens, and informal spaces.
Rather that piling materials on top, mowing may be a method to trial. Most weeds won’t be able to survive being cut often, therefore a patch that’s been infested by weeds can be kept under control by mowing regularly through the season. Although this isn’t a feasible option for every garden because it can take time when you want a more rapid solution.
Depending on the type of weeds, hoeing is a way to keep on top of weeds. Draw hoes can be used to slice the top of weeds by bringing the tool towards you. Alternatively, for small and specific areas, handled hoes are shorter and allow a more direct experience without damaging surrounding plants.
Ground cover planting
Groundcover planting with low-growing evergreen plants is a way of controlling weeds because it forms a dense mat of growth. This is good in shaded spots under trees and shrubs.
Similarly, green manures can be sown to enhance the soil, cover bare ground from the elements, and keep the ground covered to deter weeds from poking through.
Throughout autumn, leaf mould can be produced by collecting together fallen leaves and leaving them in hessian bags to allow moisture in. Then, within a year or two it will have turned to organic matter that can be used on beds or borders. Leaving it on the surface of beds and borders can act as a mulch to retain moisture, insulate plant roots, and suppress weeds.
When controlling weeds in the garden, there are a few methods to try and keep them at bay. These tips and tricks will get you started, so let me know how these methods work for you in your garden.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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