Weeding is a perpetual garden chore, and most gardeners like to pull out weeds while the plants are still young.
But it can be difficult to distinguish between weeds and garden flowers, and this is bad news for the garden. We think some weeds are pretty flowers and leave them to get nice and established, and accidentally yank out and bin emerging garden flowers instead.
Now I have always said that weeds are simply plants in the wrong place, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to recognise them. They can interfere with other plants that are growing and take valuable moisture and nutrients from the soil.
Once you know what type of plant you’re looking at, you can decide whether to keep or remove it.
So double check any young plants before you rip them out, and don’t assume that pretty flowers mean the plant is worth keeping!
Top 10 tips to get on top of weeds
1 Keep on top of unwanted growth by pulling them early.
2 Pull the entire weed out, not just the green top. Some can regenerate from just the roots!
3 Only spray weedkiller on a calm, wind-free day, or you risk killing other plants.
4 Weed when the soil is moist. It’s easier to pull out all the roots.
5 Prevent weeds in borders with weed-block fabric covered with a bark chip mulch.
6 Carry a hoe with you when you wander around the garden, so you can chop down any weeds you spot.
7 Make sure new plants don’t have weeds growing on the soil of their pot – they will spread quickly in the garden.
8 Weeds all over the lawn can be treated with a combined lawn feed and weedkiller. For the odd one or two, use a spot weeder instead.
9 Use different weeding tools for different sites. Hoes for garden beds, a blunt knife for weeds in paving and a sprayer for paths and drives.
10 Never let weeds go to seed! The old saying, ‘one year’s seeding, seven years’ weeding’ is spot on. Get them out now and save yourself hassle later on.
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.