|Pete has lovely Julie's help to remove his weeds (and to design and plant his borders)|
I feel sorry for those who through lack of knowledge, prejudice or impatience fail to eliminate perennial weeds such as couch, ground elder and convolvulus and are for ever fruitlessly pulling or scratching away.
I admire those gardeners who have achieved a nirvana where a casual walk round the garden and the odd stoop to pull out a weed gives a shot of serotonin and is all that is needed to keep the garden completely weed free. It will be a small loved garden where no weeds are allowed to seed. Pure joy to love your plants and nurture every wanted self sown flower.
I preach that weed control should be varied and all appropriate methods should be melded together. Each weed has it’s own strengths and vulnerabilities. Ring the changes. Many of you will not share my penchant for using glyphosate which for me is essential for the several acres that I garden and be surprised to hear that I frequently hand weed.
|Even a spade might be enrolled (in truth I am dividing an alstroemeria)|
I firmly believe that to dig over borders is yet another sin.
|The nicer of my two problem epilobiums|
|Brenda's wellies see little weeding|
|This is all you need to pull out this sowthistle|
|My cacti grown in garden soil sometimes need hand weeding with the help of my secateurs to grip them|
For tap rooted plants such as dandelion and docks you can loosen them with a spade and grasping the root/stem juncture pull them out cleanly.
I am cavalier about any to-hand aids to weeding. I will enrol my secateurs to grasp a weed nestling in a pot of prickly cactus. Of course I will wear gloves if I pull out a large nettle or as recently soft thistles growing in my colourful annual display. I am quite prepared to bend further if cutting back with my hedge trimmer or shears to take out an intruder.
My own penchant is to fling the weed over the garden sometimes flamboyantly to the back of the border. In normal dry conditions it will shrivel and die and its goodness will return to the soil. Do not equate this with sweeping dust under the rug in the kitchen. Recycling is good and if the slugs like my scattered weeds that suits me fine (decaying vegetation is more tasty to slugs than are your plants). I prefer slugs and snails to eat scattered weeds rather than my hostas.
It takes only a day or four for the weed to disappear. I doubt if tidy people like my dear friend Peter can bring themselves to do it. You can always take them for compost but oh what a chore.
People fear the weeds will re-root or continue to seed as they die. If the weeds are such that they still have substantial root, or the weather is wet you are probably doing it wrong or at the wrong time. Just use your gumption. If hand weeding is your only method of weeding then you need to do it often or my method of disposal are just too untidy.
|Hairy bittercress will not seed in the lawn|
I know to many of you my untidy methods sound ridiculous and indeed if you are tackling a border full of seeding large weeds when wet conditions prevail they jolly well are. If so just remember they should go to compost and not to the municipal bin! (And if I might say as a cynic, permit you to recycle all those weed seeds when you spread your compost)
When I need to hand weed
|Goosegrass is not a grass!|
|Too many to hand pull|
Epilobiums. 75% of my time spent on weed control is spent on this pretty and evil invader. Having eliminated most of the other weeds they just take their place. Their weedy credentials are impressive. Here is their portfolio.
1. Arrive in the air in copious quantities August to October. If any of your gardens flood as mine does it floats in on the water!
2. Germinates profusely at literally any time of the year.
3. Grows in most insidious spaces in all manor of soils and in all conditions from wet to dry.
4.It floats on the air into the middle of your plant clumps where it thrives and right through the summer pops out as if from nowhere
5. It is partly resistant to glyphosate and its overwintering tight mats of shining rosettes almost completely so.
|Shiny epilobium hides in the foxglove|
|If you don't pull epilobium out cleanly the stump proliferates likes this one|
6. If not hand weeded or hoed out cleanly it regenerates into straggly difficult to control irritating snippets. (It is a joy to cleanly pull out in Summer: the tight rosettes in Winter are best hoed undercutting a little more than severance at ground level. In this case in wet weather they might take a few weeks to die, but they do).
7.It is perennial
You might gather I don’t like this willow herb relative and have written about it here
|Nettles get into insidious places|
|The only way to get rid of this sow thistle is to pull it out|
|This fat hen needs yanking out|
|The phantom weeder|
No links today but I have written before about almost all the weeds named in this article and can be found by inserting their names in my search box. I have also done major articles on perennial weeds such as equisetum, brambles and ground elder. You might want to check out my statement about slugs and hoeing