The manual removal of weeds is the old-fashioned way of weeding. While it may supply some people with necessary exercise, most of us consider it the biggest back-breaking chore in gardening.
Blistered hands and aching backs are common complaints after digging or hoeing.
Sometimes it is not only the gardener who is damaged. Digging and hoeing can damage the roots of wanted plants, reducing their vigour and encouraging the formation of suckers.
Few of us have enough time to do the jobs we enjoy, so finding a way of saving time on weeding is a big benefit. It is possible to treat large areas quickly and with little effort. Apart from the selfish benefit of saving time and effort, there are cultural benefits to using modern weedkillers.
When digging out weeds or hoeing, the gardener will bring thousands of weed seeds to the surface where they will find the right conditions to germinate. This is not the case with chemical control which does not disturb the soil.
Breaking up the roots of perennial weeds, like couch, ground elder and bindweed, leaves behind small pieces that can quickly grow into a new plant.
Mulching will help
Keeping weeds under control isn’t always a question of digging or spraying. A physical barrier (called a mulch) will also help to prevent weed seeds from germinating. This light-excluding layer on the soil surface can be of gravel, bark chippings or easily obtained organic matter.
Gravel is suitable for alpine beds or the surface of sink gardens but is expensive for large areas. Black polythene, on the other hand, is cheap but unsightly. The best product for mulching is bark chippings or cocoa shells. They suppress the growth of weeds and at the same time deter the movement of slugs and snails. Above all they allow rainwater through to plant roots but reduce surface evaporation.
Weedol 2 and Weedol Gun! Rootkill Plus
The Contact Weedkiller. Starts to work the moment it is applied, kills weeds within days. Formulated for general purpose weed control and works all year round. Especially useful in autumn, winter and early spring, but most effective during the growing season, and is rainfast in 10 minutes. Weedol 2 and Weedol Gun! Rootkill Plus are inactivated when they touch the soil, so you can plant or sow new plants or seeds the same day as soon as the application has dried. Ideal for use in vegetable patches and allotments. Children and pets need not be excluded from the treated area once dry.
Tumbleweed is a systemic weedkiller designed for tough jobs, it kills from the inside out, right down to the deepest root. A job this thorough takes time. It may be three to four weeks before the task is complete. Best used in spring and summer. Children and pets need not be excluded from treated areas once dry.
Roundup GC Weedkiller is a systemic weedkiller. Systemic weedkillers are designed for tough as well as all round weedkilling. They kill from the inside out - right down to the deepest root so weeds can’t re-grow. Leave weeds 7 days before digging or soil cultivation, for the weedkiller to move to the root. Best used in spring and summer. Concentrates can be applied either through a watering can or a pressure sprayer. Biodegradable. Children and pets need not be excluded from treated areas.
Weedkillers are best sprayed in the evening when it’s cooler. This gives maximum time for the chemical to be absorbed and ensure good results.