They are one of the more unsightly elements of any garden out there, but unfortunately they’re also something that isn’t ever going to go away. You may have basked your garden in glorious plants, but over time weeds will enter the equation and threaten to take over all of your hard work.
Even if you believe you’ve been proactive and invested in something like a weed barrier, problems can still arise. Weeds can seemingly pierce the toughest of materials – and ultimately become on show in your pride and joy.
Following on from the above, we have listed five ways you can overcome the problem and maximize the chances of keeping your garden weed-free.
Adopt a careful watering approach
It might sound like one of the simplest tips out there, but it’s something that a lot of gardeners ignore nonetheless.
Next time you get out your watering can or hosepipe pay close attention to the direction it is pointing in. There’s a fine line in watering your plants, and watering your entire garden – and the latter can have painful repercussions when it comes down to the subject of controlling weeds.
To throw some statistics into the equation, it’s understood that if you can deprive your weeds of water you can limit their germination by up to 70%. It means that keeping the surrounding ground dry is absolutely paramount to combating this issue. If you manually water your plants you have complete control, but opting for a drip means that you have to get the placement absolutely spot-on if you are to minimize weed-growth.
Sometimes it’s better to leave weeds alone
This next suggestion might certainly raise a few eyebrows, for the simple reason that it probably goes against all of the weed-related advice you have heard in the past. For years we have been taught to pull up all weeds under every circumstance – but this time we’re going to go against such advice, somewhat.
It doesn’t matter how much you take care of your garden, there will be weed seeds all over the place (and they are very hard to see). However, this isn’t something that the typical gardener should lose sleep over – these seeds are only effective in the first couple of inches of soil. If they are any lower than this, they just don’t receive sufficient amounts of light to germinate properly and they’ll die off.
Ultimately, you need to be careful when you start cultivating any soil. By doing this, you might inadvertently bring lower weed seeds to the top and enhance the problem. Of course, there will be times where you have to dig, but the advice is to keep this to a minimum and only do it when you really “have to”.
You should also be careful with the type of tool you use for the task. If you’re dealing with a lawn, a sharp knife might be a better option to slice weeds and dandelions, as it doesn’t dig them out and cause the problem above.
Sometimes taking the head is sufficient
In an ideal world, you’d be able to remove weeds completely and save you and your garden a lot of heartache. Unfortunately, there are countless situations where this just isn’t possible – the weed might be too strong, or you might not be able to get to the root for whatever reason.
It’s on these occasions where you need to compromise and turn to the head. By just chopping off the head, you can limit the chances of reseeding significantly as this can limit how many seeds they can spread.
As well as this, there’s another really important reason why it’s a good move to take on the head. This is also a move that will take up a lot of their food reserves, exhaust their buds and ultimately prevent them spreading as freely.
The best way to tackle the head of the weed from a manual perspective is to use pruning loppers. For those of you who are looking for the quick and automatic approach, a string trimmer (with a significant blade attachment) will suffice and allow you to take on the weeds very easily.
It’s worth mentioning that this is more of a damage limitation exercise – you won’t completely remove the weed, but you can limit its progress significantly and at least keep your garden looking more pleasing on the eye.
To conclude – your garden is full of weed seeds that are ready to erupt, but everything will be fine if you leave them alone.
The wonders of mulching
It doesn’t matter if you’re a wood chip, bark or even straw person – mulching can work wonders when it comes to weeds. As well as potentially looking the part, let’s not forget that when you lay mulch it will keep the soil much more cool and moist. As well as this, and perhaps more importantly, your weeds will be denied significant light.
To make the matter even more promising, if you invest in certain types of mulches like organic ones, crickets and beetles are often hosted. The upshot of this is that weed seeds will be tackled by said creatures.
The design of your garden matters
A final point will focus around the design of your garden. If you are finding that you are starting to attract masses of weeds, a good way to negotiate the problem might be to alter the design.
When we talk about the design, we’re really talking about the gaps which might exist between plants. These gaps aren’t shaded (as there are no other plants in proximity), meaning that light can filter through and ultimately give the weeds the perfect ingredient to grow.
A lot of people are surprised to read that there are recommendations in relation to spacing between plants, so keep an eye on these as you plan your garden. Most people believe that you can probably place the plants about 25% closer to each other than the official recommendations – there is a little leeway.
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