Nothing can spoil a beautifully crafted garden quite like a pesky patch of weeds – especially when you want to showcase all your gardening efforts to friends and family around a BBQ or two in the summer. Although weeds are of course a common problem, they are also notoriously difficult to remove – so if you’re often left wondering how to tackle them, make sure you keep reading to find out.
Although you’ll find a number of weird and wonderful ways to kill weeds online, from using vinegar and vodka to baking soda and bleach, the two main ways to eradicate these rogue plants are by using chemicals – or with a bit of good old-fashioned hand weeding!
The most common type of chemical weed killer is known as a ‘selective’ weed killer, which gets rid of unwelcome weeds without damaging the surrounding grass. It’s typically applied with a sprayer, which helps to make light work of larger weed areas, but it can also be applied using a watering can, which is perfect for taking care of any smaller patches. Pressure sprayers are available in a range of different sizes, from larger 16 litre knapsacks to smaller hand held sprayers – which still come with a powerful pump action, so it’s easy to find one to suit your needs. Selective weed killer works to eradicate weeds through the growth hormones it contains, which ultimately cause weeds to grow too quickly and subsequently die. While it doesn’t damage your lawn, it’s still crucial to remember that this sort of chemical can harm other plants – for ideas on how to avoid this, we’d recommend reading this article.
Whilst using selective weed killer is the most common way of removing weeds, there are other chemicals out there, such as non-selective weed killer or pre-emergence herbicide, which kills weeds that are yet to surface. Non-selective weed killer is a popular choice for killing weeds that grow in cracks between bricks and pavement, as it kills most plants and grass – just make sure you have a weed brush to hand, as this is the ideal tool for specific weed targeting in these hard-to-reach areas.
For those who prefer a more ‘hands-on’ approach to removing weeds, they can also be physically dug and pulled out. This is a particularly popular method when unwanted weeds have grown near flowers and plants that you don’t want to spray chemicals around. To get started, you’ll need some weeding gloves and a weeding tool – there are two basic styles of weeding tools, short handled, which are best for working on your knees or for closely planted areas, and long handled, which you can use whilst standing to cover larger areas. A good tip to remember is to water before you begin hand weeding, as this will help to moisten the soil and subsequently make the weeds easier to pull out. If you come across a weed where the root feels particularly deep, make sure you continue using your weeding tool to dig around it, to help loosen the roots from the surrounding soil. This process can also help to aerate the soil, which aids its water and air circulation, so remember, whilst you’re weeding you’re also helping to improve the quality of your soil – now that’s what we call multitasking!