Weekender: Gardening: Time to Grab the Gardening Advice with Nettle; Wenvoe-Based StyleGardens. WWW.StyleGardens.Co.UK
Byline: Janice Casault
ONE of the most frequently asked questions that I am presented with often centres upon treatments for a variety of weeds, some of which can be easily disposed of, but where others can be persistently troublesome.
For this reason it may be beneficial to produce a `two-parter' on this topic that can be kept for further reference.
Weeds are simply plants that are growing where they are not wanted: for example, clover in a lawn might be perceived as problematic, but for agricultural purposes it is often a welcome addition for its nitrogenous properties. A clump of nettles thriving in an herbaceous border would be most unwelcome, but in a designated wildlife area, they would be perceived as an essential part of the flora to attract the fauna!
Weeds are classed as annuals - those that grow, flower, set seed and die off within a year - or perennials, which persist year after year.
Annual weeds can most easily be dealt with by pulling them out by hand or hoeing them while they are still quite small. Importantly however, is the need to get rid of them before they set seed. I'm sure many of us have experience of `Hairy bittercress' (Cardamine hirsuta), a persistent annual that has flat, oval leaves ( looks like a smaller version of watercress)and will if allowed, produce small, white flowers. If it sets seed this nuisance will appear all over the garden including tubs and containers so vigilance and persistence is required. Another annual weed that often appears growing through hedges and bushes becomes very annoying when you try to remove it. Galium aparine, commonly known as `goosegrass' or `Sticky Willie' sticks like glue to anything it comes into contact with as the stems, leaves and even its fruit are covered with tiny, hooked bristles - again, pull it out before it sets seed.
Of course, the more problematic weeds are the perennials some of which are herbaceous, when top growth dies back to soil level at the end of the growing season, but where fleshy roots, rhizomes or other `storage' organs lurk in anticipation until the weather warms once again!
Then there are those perennial weedsthat sport woody stems which survive winter by storing food in stems and branches and will wait patiently until the next growing season before increasing substantially if not dealt with. …