What can I use to deal with weeds safely?

With the jury still out on the safety of mainstream, glyphosate weedkillers; Jean Vernon explores some of the alternative options.

Richard Jackson Double Action Weedkiller 1020ml and Power Sprayer
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As the temperature starts to rise, you can be sure that some of the first plants to raise their leaves and start to grow in the garden are going to be weeds. These incredible plants are survivors that have evolved to colonise every bare patch of soil and grow everywhere that you don’t want them to. That means they will sprout up between the paving, grow in the gravel and occupy every patch of soil where you haven’t removed their seeds, roots or the whole plants themselves. Take a moment to admire their incredible survival skills, as you may need to understand them to get back in control.

Elbow grease

The age-old techniques of hoeing and weeding early in the season can help deal with many garden weeds. Perennial weeds can be dug out, but be sure to remove the roots as otherwise they will grow back. Annual weeds can be hoed off regularly on a dry day, decapitating the weeds at the ground level. If it’s a warm dry day the weeds will desiccate quickly and not re root and grow again. That’s important.

Glyphosate free

If you don’t want to use conventional weedkillers but do want to control your garden weeds, especially those growing in awkward places to get them out, like paving cracks and corners, then you can choose a product based on natural ingredients. Richard Jackson’s Double Action Weedkiller is based on an ingredient found in geranium leaves. And it works. And it’s completely free of Glyphosate and it’s totally biodegradable. It’s fast acting, so when you apply it you get to see the results within 24 hours. It’s better than many of the weedkillers you can buy because it works on the leaves and the roots too. You need to apply it to dry plants on a dry day. Look at the weather forecast first as if it’s going to rain that will wash it off and reduce its effect. It will treat a wide range of weeds including bindweed, ground elder, dandelions, nettle and couch grass, but it is not suitable for weeds growing in the lawn, because it will kill the grass too!

Take a look at this time lapse visual that shows you just how fast this Weedkiller works. And remember that this is based on natural ingredients, so it’s the safer choice for you and your garden.

 

Weed seeds

If you allow weeds to set seed, then your soil surface will be a seed bank for those plants for years. If you can control the weeds before they flower then you will reduce your potential weeding needs. Take dandelions for example, the rich yellow flowers are a magnet for pollinators offering a rich resource of pollen and nectar when there isn’t much else out in flower. If you can let them flower, but remove the flowers before they set seed then you can control the spread of these plants but still help the bees.

Plants not pests

Do remember that many plants that we consider to be weeds are actually wildflowers, or maybe just plants growing in the wrong place. Some play an important role in the lifecycle of the butterflies and other beneficial insects we love to see in our gardens. Nettles for example are a host plant for peacock butterfly caterpillars, which eat the leaves before they turn into the beauties we love to see in our gardens. Ladybirds need nettles to lay their eggs on. And actually nettle leaves are a great activator for your compost heap. I’m not suggesting you plant them in the borders, but if you can leave a patch to grow somewhere, it would help the natural balance.

 

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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