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 that are glyphosate free and will naturally breakdown in the soil such as Roundup Weed Control.
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.
1. Mulch your flower bed
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 and gives slugs and snails a place to thrive. 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.
2. Weed on a dry and sunny day
In order to get the best performance from any weedkiller, we would always advise to apply the product when the weather is fair and not to apply in windy conditions. Do not apply if rain is expected within 6 hours of application as this could reduce the efficacy of the product.
3. Leave for up to 7 days
Roundup Optima+ and Weedol RootKill Plus are systemic weedkillers. Systemic weedkillers are designed for tough weeds as well as all round weed killing. 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 to get the weedkiller down into the root. Best used in spring and summer.
These concentrated systemic weedkillers can be applied either through a watering can or a pressure sprayer (check pack details for application methods) and are biodegradable. Children and pets need not be excluded from treated areas once the product has dried.
Weedkillers are best sprayed in the evening when it’s cooler as it gives maximum time for the chemical to be absorbed and ensure good results.
As a general rule of thumb with systemic weedkillers: the faster the weed is growing, the faster it will die after application.