A gardener’s work is never done. The weather is unpredictable and nature is constantly changing our surroundings. We see different plants spring up, changes to the condition of our lawns and differences in the types of wildlife that visit our garden throughout the year, and all of these things can give us pause for thought: What to do next? In the midst of this flux, there is one job that remains constant – weeding. You may let out a groan at the prospect, others may relish the thought of spending an hour getting lost in the task – some may even call it therapeutic!
Whichever way you look at it, it’s unavoidable. Lots of plants love the favourable conditions in our gardens: light, space, and air – and weeds are no exception. They set themselves apart from our ornamental plants by being ruthless and competitive. Many of them grow fast and spread faster, outgrowing most plants around them and dominating their environment.
How to tackle weeds
Weeding isn’t a one-off job. All around us wildlife is working to introduce more of the blighters into our gardens, so it’s important to remain vigilant and get out when you can.
Grab a spade, hoe or hand-fork and get stuck in. Effective weeding means removing the roots, so don’t be afraid of digging a bit deeper. If you’re hoeing, dig in a sweeping motion to really pull the weed up – just be sure not to catch any of your precious ornamentals in the process! Hoeing is favourable as it’s gentle on the back, particularly when there’s a lot to be done. For weeds squatting amongst ornamental plants, grasping them by hand and pulling can be effective in removing the weed whole. For areas not yet planted upon, a spade is the best method, allowing you to dig deep enough to unseat the roots.
The biggest problem comes in our gardens when we allow weeds to flower and then set seed. If you can catch weeds before they flower, you’re giving yourself a good chance of keeping them to a minimum.
There are no hard and fast solutions to totally preventing weeds, but there are ways to discourage them. The best method is to use mulch on your borders. Mulching smothers any weed seeds in the soil and prevents them from germinating. There are plenty of different types of mulch that can be used for this to great effect. Organic mulches can not only stop weeds from appearing but feed other plants, which can elicit a healthy display in your borders. Landscape fabric can be used, particularly beneath gravel, to act as a barrier.
If you feel like you may need some help getting on top of your garden this summer then feel free to contact us at Blue Iris. We offer one-off tidy ups or regular maintenance visits to help you with jobs like weeding – you can find out more here. Whatever the task, we pride ourselves on ensuring your garden stays in tip-top condition all year round.