How to Get Rid of Weeds in the Garden
Weed Control in The Flower Garden
In general, the weed problem in some parts of the flower garden may not be so acute as elsewhere. With close growing plants (as in a bed of summer-flowering subjects), manyare suppressed by the density of the flower foliage, but close attention to weed control in the early stages is still essential.
Sometimes, however, despite everyone wanting to know how to get rid of weeds, it is possible to make use of weed growth. An empty flower bed can be allowed to develop a crop of weeds in late summer, then the whole be dug in, before they seed, to act as a “”. Chickweed forms a heavy “mat” of growth, and I have often used it effectively for this purpose.
Remember that some weeds are acid-loving plants. If any of the following are prevalent, they serve as a guide to the fact that lime is needed in theconcerned, unless in a lawn, where slightly acid conditions are best. Some examples are: daisies, scentless mayweed, plantains, sheep sorrel, sow thistle, coltsfoot and wild pansy.
Perhaps the worst problem in the flower garden is a herbaceous border that is badly weed-ridden. When wanting to know how to get rid of weeds from such an area, the best advice I could give you is that you are often best to re-plant it, even if you only do it a little at a time. This does give the opportunity of digging deeply and removing at least the bulk of the weed roots as the work proceeds. If the worst part can be left unplanted over the following summer (fallowed), so much the better, as this allows unrivalled opportunity to dig outand permits repeated hoeings. A fine, warm, summer is ideal for maximum “fallow” effects.
Mulches as a Weed Control
You will soon discover how to get rid of weeds with mulches, as this is a very good method of weed suppression. Before it is used, pull out by hand as much weed growth as possible, in spring, whilst theare small, then put down a thick mulch of lawn mowings as a weed “smother”. Sawdust can also be utilised, but to guard against nitrogen shortage, as the sawdust rots down, mulch first with a generous layer of (if not already done).
Spent hops can also be used, or a mixture of equal parts lawn mowings, sawdust and spent hops. Some of the stronger-growing perennial weeds may grow through even a deep mulch, but considerable suppression will be obtained by this method. If the area is small, try and dig out as much weed root as possible before the mulch is applied.
If the area is large, hoeing rather than hand pulling may have to be done. In such a case, hoe off as deeply below soil level as possible to weaken weed growth, and repeat this as many times as practicable.
The same principle can be adopted with annual borders, bedding plants, roses,and , i.e., keep a permanent layer of mulch material over the surface compost in summer. Even a thin layer helps; even if mulching material is in short supply, make as much use as is practicable of this method of weed control.
Weeds on Lawns
Weed control here has nowadays become almost completely given over to the use of chemical (selective) weedkiller materials. These have the advantage of killing broad-leafed weeds but leave the grass unimpaired. Such material may be referred to as containing M.C.P.A. or 2.4.D., but in either case, if used, follow the instructions to the letter. If possible, keep an old watering can solely for use with selective hormone weedkillers. There is then no risk of damage arising to crops if residues are left in the can or rose.
Lawn sand was widely used, especially before the arrival of hormone-type weed-killers. This, a mixture of sulphate of iron, sulphate of ammonia and sand, is applied during the period from March to September. It readily kills the broad-leafed weeds such as daisies and plaintains, but blackens the grass for a time. If made up at home, a suitable mixture is as follows: Sibs. sulphate of ammonia, lib. sulphate of iron, and 20 lbs. lime free sand, used at the rate of 4 ozs. to each square yard.
Much can be done for weed control inby cutting off the plants with a flat growing habit, such as plantains, with a knife. In a small lawn area, daisies and dandelions can be dealt with in the same way. Try to cut out some of the roots as well, for, if the top growths only are cut off, further foliage can arise from the remaining roots.
Weeds on Paths
The harder the surface of a path, the less weeds there will be. Keeping the surface firm, by rolling, is a good practical method of indirect weed control. In the same way, if one avoids treading soil on to a path, there will be less trouble from weeds. The same applies to using barrows, or tools, and leaving a soil deposit in which weeds can grow. Sweep up loose soil or compost regularly, to prevent this.
If the path surface is of loose material, and cannot be kept firm, then frequent raking to disturb any weedis a good control measure.
If dealing with a neglected garden, the paths of which are covered in weeds, skim off the upper crust of the path surface and renew this with fresh ash, clinker or gravel. If much perennial weed growth remains, then use of a chemical weedkiller may have to be resorted to. Do not apply this too close to the soil verges on either side, as there may be danger, with some materials, of “creeping”, and plants growing alongside may be damaged, or even killed.
Some Special Weed Problems
It is important with weeds that flower and “seed” quickly, such as groundsel, to pull them up and get them to the compost heap before the seeds are formed, or the population may be increased very quickly. (One year’s seeding is said to make seven years’.)
Bindweed needs a special mention, for it is one of the most persistent weeds. In a border, it can only be pulled out when seen, the plot be mulched with sawdust or lawn mowings and, in winter cultivation, as much root as possible be removed by hand.
If you have a patch of nettles to deal with, aim at cutting off the new growth in spring, when it is but bins. high. Repeat this treatment several times, but make full use of the nettle foliage in the compost heap, as it is particularly valuable in this respect.
Many perennial weeds, including convolvulus, thistle and ground elder, are deep rooted. Pulling up as much top growth as possible will serve to weaken subsequent growth, but not kill the plant, and a programme of patience and regular hand pulling may have to be adopted. The important point is to pull up as much of the early growth, as possible. Very deep-rooted subjects, such as docks, should have as much of the root dug out, as is feasible, for merely cutting the tops off, is not sufficient. I am afraid that it is purely patience and persistence which will do much to keep down the weeds really in your quest to know how to get rid of weeds from your garden.