Weeds and ways to get rid of them

A perpetual problem in Brittany (and everywhere I reckon!) being surrounded by farmland certainly doesn’t help! I’ve never seen weeds like it here – 8 years of a garden being left definately gives me licence to write about such topics!!!

This time of year especially, with the mix of rain and sunshine are the perfect growing conditions for a lot of the weeds we encounter.

There are two main categories – Perennial (they come back year after year) and Annual weeds (die in winter). Some of the most common here are:

Image not found.Field Bindweed – a perennial weed – has white wiggley roots which when digging can be found in the soil (not totally disimilar to Ivy and couch grass roots which are also pale coloured) – even a tiny part of the root system left in the soil will produce a new plant.

It has a climbing and clinging habit and has white/pinkish flowers in summer. If you’re doing a good thorough digging job – much of the roots and plant can be taken out, but there is always some that escape. One tip I’ve found that works wonders, is to place canes in the ground in the areas it grows and once it has started to climb the canes you can treat each individual stem with a glyphosate based weedkiller such as Roundup.

Dandelions & Docks – both perennial weeds with deep rooting tap roots – even by digging methods of removal, getting the tap roots (very long, slim and tapered) of the Docks especially, can be difficult. However in wet and damp weather they will pull up a lot more easily than if left for warmer weather when soils are hard and difficult to dig. Make sure you get the whole root as like many perennial weeds, if any part of the root is left, this will just produce another plant. A Weedkiller such as Roundup mentioned above will also get rid of these garden menaces, but if treating these weeds near to a water source this is not advisable as it may well affect wildlife and fish etc. So it’s back to the hard slog of digging!

Stinging Nettle
– These are not fun to get rid of either and love alternate warm and wet weather to grow very very quickly. These can be removed by hand – don’t forget a long sleeved top and some thick gloves! My advice here – although I’m not a fan of weedkillers at all would be to use Roundup again. Ideally treat, when the nettles are young as this will act a lot more quickly than on tough old nettles and may take more than one treatment.

I will continue on this theme in weeks to come – do write in with your tips on weed removal and what has worked for you – that way everyone benefits…

•With thanks to Miranda Bell

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