Keeping down weeds
Weeds, so the saying goes, are just plants in the wrong place. The trouble is, there are so many of them. However much you might think dandelions are pretty or ground elder has elegant leaves, if you stop to admire them too long, you (and your plants) will quickly be overrun.
You'll probably never be completely free of weeds, but it's quite possible to keep them well under control. You'll find all you need in our garden centres, from weedkillers for persistent thugs to hoes to deal with tiny annual weed seedlings before they get their heads too far above the ground.
For a really effective anti-weed strategy, tailor your approach to the weed you're tackling: here's how.
Annual weeds: the easiest to tackle as long as you have a routine. Every week without fail, whether it looks like it needs it or not, use a Dutch hoe to slice through emerging seedlings just below the surface.
Deep-rooted dandelions and docks can regenerate from the tip of the root left in the ground, so dig down deep enough to get the whole thing out or spot-treat with a weedkiller.
Smothering bindweed: The twining stems of bindweed are a menace in the garden, strangling your plants and smothering everything. Hand-weeding rarely controls it properly: in our garden centre, you'll find hand-held gel weedkiller treatments to paint on the leaves without endangering nearby plants.
Persistent ground elder and couch grass: These won't kill your plants, but they do compete with them for water and nutrients. Their long, brittle roots mean they often survive digging out by hand. Spray with weedkiller, or keep them out with thick weed-control fabric, available in our garden centre.
Thuggish brambles: Often a problem on the neglected ground, brambles colonize large areas by arching stems which root where they touch the ground. Don a thick pair of gauntlets and wade in with loppers to cut them back, dig out rootstocks, or paint the stumps with a brush killer treatment like SBK.
Please ask the staff in our garden centres for more information and advice about dealing with weeds in your garden.