Weeding before Seeding

Weeds should always be removed before they have the chance to flower. Then, as the saying goes, there will be no risk of ‘1 year’s seeds becoming 7 year’s weeds’.

Return the goodness to the soil
In warm dry weather leave small uprooted weeds on top of the soil where they will quickly dry out. In wet weather do not leave uprooted weeds on top as they will re-root. Gather them up and bury in the compost heap where they will quickly rot down. If they have run to seed then dispose in a dustbin or at the council tip.

Take up the hoe
Regular hoeing of the soil will kill existing and germinating weeds. If left undisturbed weeds can deprive plants of moisture and nutrients. Avoid hoeing when the soil is wet as this will result in the weeds being transplanted from one place to another unless they are cleared away. Weeds can re-root easily in loose soil. If possible always hoe in hot and dry weather. Always sharpen your hoe as using a blunt one will merely bruise and bend the weeds in your garden rather than slice through them.

Weed cycle
Digging brings dormant weed seeds to the surface of the soil where they will germinate. A couple of weeks after digging check the site and hoe off any small seedlings that have developed.

Care needed
Pernicious perennial weeds such as Elymus repens (couch grass), Equisetum arvense (horsetail), and Calistigia sepium and Convolvulas arvensis (blindweed) develop fast underground networks of roots. Treat them with weedkiller or remove them carefully by hand as the smallest piece of root left in the soil will quickly throw up new shoots. Dig out all fragments using a fork, Then burn or dispose of them at the rubbish tip.

Deadly dandelion
Weeds that have long taproots such as dandelions can survive without soil or water for many months. It is unlikely the compost heap will heat up enough to destroy them it is safer to put them in the dustbin.

Frosted chickweed
Take advantage of periods of hard frost to get rid of Stellaria media (chickweed) by trampling it down hard whilst the clumps are frozen. Already weakened by the frost it will rarely survive such harsh treatment.

Blanket Coverage
To clear previously uncultivated land of perennial weeds cut down any tail specimens, then cover the area with old carpet, thick cardboard or heavy duty black polythene. Weigh the covering down with bricks to prevent it being blown off. Total exclusion of light will kill most weeds within a season. The more persistent varieties such as dandelions can take up to a year to die our completely.

Green Manures
Keep weeds out of fallow land with green manure crops such as buckwheat or tares. These fast growing crops smother weeds. When the growing season is over they can be dug into the soil or placed on the compost heap.

War on weeds
Before sewing a new lawn, dig over the area and remove perennial weeds. Leave the soil undisturbed to give the annual weed seeds time to germinate. Hoe the plot two or three times to kill them off before raking it level.


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