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Keeping down weeds

Keeping down weeds

Weeds, so the saying goes, are just plants in the wrong place. The trouble is, there are so many of them. However much you might think dandelions are pretty, or ground elder has elegant leaves, if you stop to admire them too long you (and your plants) will quickly be overrun.

You'll probably never be completely free of weeds, but it's quite possible to keep them well under control. In our garden centre you'll find a range of solutions for preventing weeds emerging, physically controlling the weeds and chemical treatments.

For a really effective anti-weed strategy, tailor your approach to the weed you're tackling - here's how.

  • Annual weeds: the easiest to tackle as long as you have a routine, and does not require chemical treatment. Every week without fail, whether it looks like it needs it or not, use a Dutch hoe to slice through emerging seedlings just below the surface. 
    You can also cover the soil with weed control fabric in winter before the weeds emerge as this cuts out the light and so prevents weed seeds from germinating.
  • Deep-rooted dandelions and docks: these can regenerate from the tip of the root left in the ground, so dig down deep enough to get the whole thing out, or spot-treat with a systemic weedkiller.that is taken through the internal system of the weed and kills the roots too.
  • Smothering bindweed: If you're unfortunate enough to have bindweed in the garden, it is virtually impossible to control by physical means.  Bindweed smothers your plants and will probably require treatment with a systemic weedkiller so that the entire weed - right down to the roots - is controlled..
  • Persistent ground elder and couch grass: These won't kill your plants but they do compete with them for water and nutrients. Their long, brittle roots mean they often survive digging out by hand. Prevention by covering the area with weed-control fabric or a systemic weedkiller are the best options for these aggressive weeds.
  • Thuggish brambles:  These are generally only a problem when you're trying to cultivate a new area that has been neglected.  Brambles colonise large areas by arching stems which produce roots where the stems touch the ground. You'll be able to make an impact with loppers to cut back what you can, but don't forget to wear a thick pair of gauntlets as Brambles can cause nasty cuts and scratches!   When you've cleared what you can by cutting back, either dig out the roots or paint the stumps with a brushkiller treatment like SBK.

If you need further help and advice with the best way to keep your weeds under control, our plant team at Merryhatton will be delighted to help.