How to Weed Your Garden

June the 13th is National Weed Your Garden Day so it is a good day to get out there in your garden and carry out some essential care and maintenance in the form of weeding. 

Weeds are one of the gardener’s worst enemies and we often wonder why the weeds can grow and spread so fast when compared with the things that we have actually planted!  The answer is that in most cases, we have enabled the weeds to flourish because of the way that we try to remove them.

It is important to remove weeds. They will use up the water supply intended for your plants, block out the light and strangle sensitive new plants. And although some weeds such as wild violets can be decorative, they will take over if you allow them to grow. 

Weeding the wrong way, helps weeds to grow

It is not enough to identify the weed and yank it out of the ground. If you leave the roots in place, you will just encourage regrowth and actually spread the weeds coverage. This means it is important to weed carefully and by hand, digging down with the trowel when the soil is moist so that you easily remove all of the offending root. 

Low weeds can be hard to remove

Low spreading weeds such as chickweed, henbane and wild violets can quickly take over your garden if left unchecked. To remove them you need to feel underneath the foliage to find the root and carefully dig it out and dispose of it. Make sure you don’t leave any leaves or small pieces of root or the weed will regrow. In addition make sure you chop the waste up and dispose of it carefully. Don’t put the roots in your compost bin or you will spread the problem even further.

Tall weeds are easier to remove

Tall weeds such as thistle, dayflower or pigwee can be easy to remove. Just grab the stalk as near to the ground as possible and pull it up. Use your trowel to dig down and remove any roots left in the ground and clean away any seed pods or pieces of flower or leaf left on the surface. Again be careful of how you dispose of the waste. You can chop up the stalks and add to the compost but not the roots or any seed pods as these will grow in the hothouse conditions of the compost bin. 

Taproot weeds can be a problem

A taproot weed can be hard to remove. These can be situated deep in the soil as far as a foot down, so they usually require some digging to remove. The most common taproot weed is the dandelion and if these establish themselves in your garden it can be hard work to remove them.

To remove a taproot weed, dig down under the base of the plant until you reach the root. Wiggle your trowel around the root in a circle until you can get under the root and pop it out. Make sure that you remove the entire root, hopefully in one piece and dispose of it carefully. Again be careful how you dispose of taproots because even a small piece of root will regrow again.