Date posted: 09 May 2014
One of the most despised aspects of gardening is weeding. However, smart gardeners get an upper hand in the battle by choosing to prevent weeds rather than playing catch up. Here are some of our tips to help you minimise weeds without reaching immediately for pesticides.
Unless you keep your garden inside an enclosed dome, it is vulnerable to the introduction of seed weeds on many fronts.
Firstly, there are some avenues of weed arrival that we are powerless to control, such as:
- seeds carried on the wind
- seeds carried by birds
- seeds carried by pets.
However, just like customs agents at our borders and airports, we can scrutinise a number of elements vulnerable to weed introduction.
Not everything from your garden centre is good as gold
Whenever you buy seeds, seedlings or plants from a garden centre, a fete, or even get some as gifts, always look for telltale signs of weeds hitching a ride. When it comes to seeds, look closely to see if there are any seed objects that look out of place, they are likely to be weeds. While seeds from commercial suppliers are likely to be a safer choice, it still pays to be vigilant.
With seedlings and potted plants, always look closely for other plant material in the soil. If weeds are already emerging in the pot it is a sign there could be more viable weed seeds inside, just waiting to spread through your garden.
Soils ain’t soils
Another are for some concern is potting soils and mulches. If you go for the ever popular bales of straw, be aware they are often a significant source of weeds.
However, soils can be dangerous too unless they are specified as weed free. In particular, we want soils guaranteed to be free of perennial weeds like:
- Nutweed Cyperus rotundas
- fragrant onion or fragrant false garlic Nothoscordum inodorum
Wipe your feet and wash your hands
The age old advice your parents always gave you about cleaning up after playing outside most certainly applies to gardeners. Weed seeds can accumulate on and in your garden equipment and tools, and on your shoes. Make sure they are regularly cleaned, with waste dirt and vegetation disposed of safely.
Your car and trailer can also harbour weed seeds so, again, whenever you clean vehicles, make sure that waste dirt and vegetation is not being washed into your garden.
We hope these tips for seed and plant hygiene help you stay on top of the weed problem so that you can enjoy gardening and your garden all year round.