Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Weed It and Reap. the Benefits

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Weed It and Reap. the Benefits

Article excerpt

WEEDS are simply plants in the wrong place but that doesn't mean they are not super-annoying. They do need dealing with - yet ignorance of weeds is as rampant as the pesky things themselves.

A study of amateur gardeners found half were unable to distinguish flowers from weeds.

One in 10 thought dandelions and bramble blossoms were flowers. Half didn't know morning glory was a weed. A third thought ivy was a flower and one in five thought creeping buttercup was, too.

They may not always look ugly, but weeds will take nutrients and moisture from our plants of choice - and their spread can be rampant.

Remember the old adage - one year's seeding, seven years' weeding? So get on them before they take over your garden.

Taking control of weed populations early on in the year will save you endless grief later.

Once they grow, establish and set seed, it is far harder to eradicate them. I've seen dandelions growing through Tarmac On the driveways like wet paper.

clock: Dandelion disaster Once you know what you are looking at, you can decide how best to handle them.

Weeds can be divided into two main groups - annual and perennial.

Annual weeds grow, flower and release their seeds in one year.

The parent plant dies in autumn but only after it has spread its seeds. Chickweed and bittercress are types of annual weeds.

Perennials come back every year and can live indefinitely.

Dandelions, nettles and brambles are the best-known British examples.

The top method of getting rid of weeds is to remove them from the soil the old-fashioned way.

Small weeds can be pulled out by hand. Larger or perennial weeds need to be dug out with a fork or trowel.

Using a garden kneeler or some knee pads makes the job slightly less back-breaking.

Try to remove all the root system.

Some will regenerate, zombie-like, from the smallest scrap of root that is left in the soil.

If you can't get on your hands and knees, then use a hoe. Put the blade on the ground and pull it towards you, severing the stem. But this method only kills annual weeds and seedlings.

Chemical weedkillers are not for everyone but if you are using them, here is what you need to know.

Obviously always wear protective clothing - gloves, glasses and an apron- and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. …

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