weeding your plants
Weeding can be one of the few laborious tasks we gardeners face. But like many things, prevention is better than cure. One simple rule applies when suppressing weeds in the first place - stop light reaching the soil and you will help your gardens weed problem.
| This can now be achieved with several different materials and methods, the choice is a simple one based on individual taste as each choice creates a different look to your gardens borders.|
The most natural in appearance is to grow ground cover plants in your border amongst your specimen plants, which will form a covering over the soil denying the weeds their share of light.
| One important point with this option, is that the border needs to be thoroughly weed free in the first place.|
You must have a strict weed removal policy employed whilst the ground cover matures to cover the entire soil area of the bed.
Another method is to use a proprietary weed membrane under a covering of mulch all over the border, with individual holes cut for each of your specimen plants. This method, if executed properly will prove extremely effective at weed suppression, however your borders will assume a less natural appearance due to the mulch covering.
weed membrane with mulch, gravel or cocoa shells Weed membrane blocks sunlight getting to the soil, but does allow water to pass through, so your existing plants continue to be watered in the normal way, and you dont end up with your borders flooding in heavy rain!
| There are now many choices of mulch available including bark or wood chippings, ornamental gravel, pebbles or even cocoa shells (not recommended if you have pets or if other peoples pets use your garden). The choice is a personal one, although it is worth bearing in mind that some organic mulches will decompose and so although cheaper to buy initially, they will need topping up annually.|
If you are not happy with either of these options, then there is always the traditional method of removing any weeds regularly by hand, which on a warm summers evening can be a relaxing job.
weedkillers, persistent weeds and the environment
Weedkillers can be used for spot treatment of persistent weeds, although this option is becoming more and more unpopular with gardeners for environmental reasons, but it can prove extremely effective in areas such as patios and paths, but you must remember to follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter - and be careful with your specimens!