Are you losing the war with weeds? You can fight back and prevent weed growth by using the right techniques. Here we take a look at the best ways to stop weeds from taking over your garden.
What Is A Weed?
A weed is generally considered to be an unwanted plant that is growing in competition with cultivated plants. Weeds compete with other plants for sunlight, space, water and nutrients and can harbour disease and pests if left unchecked. They also look unsightly and not what you want in your pristine lawn.
Of course, it’s all in the eye of the beholder – some species that are considered weeds you might think are just lovely! Some of the more common garden weeds here in Queensland are things like dandelions, the dreaded bindis, thistles, clover, nettles and soursob.
If you’re not sure if you’ve got a weed species, try using the Brisbane city council’s weed identifier tool – http://weeds.brisbane.qld.gov.au/browse/weeds.
How Do Weeds Spread?
Weeds can spread by a number of ways. Airborne weed seeds can be transported by the wind, some species can climb and creep their way into gardens or they can be transported by animals and insects. Weeds that are not removed correctly or disposed of correctly will also spread.
Weed Prevention And Removal Techniques
As with most things, when it comes to those pesky weeds, prevention is absolutely better than cure. So what can you do to prevent weed growth as well as treat them?
Good Garden Design
Weeds love bare soil, so design the garden so that you have as little as possible by using ground covers and plants of different heights that will help shade the soil and make a less hospitable environment for weeds.
Mulch is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent weed growth. Mulch keeps the soil moist while blocking sunlight the weed seeds need to grow. Organic mulch is rich in nutrients and makes an ideal environment for bugs that will munch on the weed seeds in your soil. The mulch will obviously break down and decompose over time, so try and replenish it as often as possible without over applying. Usually around 5cm deep is a good guide.
Use Weed Matting
Weed matting is another popular method for preventing weed growth. It’s reasonably inexpensive and readily available at most gardening stores. The matting is usually made of cloth or plastic and is placed over the garden soil. The matting still allows water through but supresses weed growth and stops them from reaching the surface. Another option is to put down a layer of newspaper before spreading mulch on top.
Inspect All New Potted Plants
If you’ve purchased a new plant, be sure to inspect it. Weed seeds can easily be brought into your garden this way, so be sure to remove any weed seeds right down to the roots that may be in the soil of the new plant.
Don’t Disturb The Soil Unless Necessary
It may seem counterintuitive, but leaving your soil alone can help fight weeds. Gardens are normally full of weed seeds that lay dormant and aren’t able to germinate because they’re so deep in the soil. Disturbance from unnecessary tilling and digging can bring the seeds to the top of the soil, allowing them to reach sunlight and germinate. Try to only disturb the soil when absolutely necessary to avoid the growth of more weeds.
Cover Bare Soil
Bare soil is a flashing neon welcome sign to weeds and should be covered. Cover bare spots with other plants, ground cover plants or mulch to help keep weeds away.
Make sure you remove weeds as early as possible. The sooner a weed is removed, the less likelihood there is of the weed multiplying and taking over. Much easier to remove one than an entire gardenful!
Weeding your garden is an on-going task, but take some comfort in the fact that your consistency will be paying off. Every time you weed your garden, you’re effectively stopping the spread of hundreds more. Try and schedule a time for weeding the garden and stick to it. You’ll soon see the results of your efforts.
Other Treatment Options
If you have weeds that have grown along a pathway or in an area where there aren’t other plants, try pouring boiling water over them. Another one to try is simple household vinegar in a spray bottle.
You may also choose to use herbicides that can be applied before the weed has grown called – ‘pre-emergent herbicides’, however they can contain some pretty harsh chemicals so be sure to do your homework before applying.
Do It Right!
The best time to weed is when the soil is moist. Be sure to pull the entire root out of the ground and dispose of the plants carefully so that seeds aren’t further dispersed.
Win Your War With Weeds!
If you need help or advice or you’d like to get your hands on some of the best mulch in town, give Aussie Tree Solutions a call on (07) 3351 1722 to find out more about our forest mulch and professional tree care and maintenance services.