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Best way to control weeds in the garden

Kermit
Valued Contributor

Best way to control weeds in the garden

Keen to hear Adam's thoughts on the best way to control weeds in the garden. Is pulling them out by hand more or less effective than using a weed killer in terms of stopping them from growing back...?

Adam_W
Experienced Contributor

Re: Workshop live - Ask your D.I.Y. and garden questions

Hey @Kermit great question,

This really comes down to a few things;
- present state of the garden
- size of the garden
- type of weeds

I’m going to digress for a second just on weeds in general. As a horticulturist I actually have a grudging level of admiration for weeds.

I won’t go into detail but this article I wrote a few years back for a garden-blog sums it up

 

If we’re talking a regular sized garden with the typical weeds popping up then I’d always encourage hand-weeding above other methods. Here are a few tips –
- Know your enemy. Having a basic knowledge of weeds can help with selecting the right technique. Drop into the nursery & ask a plant specialist if you can’t be sure but if you ever take plant samples in seal them in a zip-lock bag and make sure they are fresh, don’t leave them stewing in the car for hours…
- Try to get weeds before they go to seed and if you can’t do that make sure that you very carefully take the seed-head too. You may want to bag that, not just throw it in the compost.
- Some weeds will easily regenerate from parts such as a stem or will reshoot from a stump so take the whole plant, roots and all.
- Mulch after weeding no matter what technique you use. Spread a good controlled-release fertiliser, lay down newspaper around 6 to 8 pages thick, wet it down and then cover with at least 5cm of mulch all over. I’ve a little video on the subject of mulching here.
- Wear gloves when you’re weeding as some weeds have prickles, others have milky sap that can irritate the skin.

There are excellent tools to make weeding easier.


When it comes to tools you still can’t beat an old-school daisy-grubber.

For tougher, especially deep-rooted weeds, I’m a huge fan of this from Fiskars. Great for lawn and garden and seriously saves you back...

 

Spraying is an interesting topic.
A lot of people are, shall we say, surprised, to hear that as a horticulturalist that specialises in sustainability I do spray for weeds, sometimes with a glyphosate-based product, & I will sometimes recommend to do so.
I take a pragmatic approach to spraying so here are my thoughts on the topic –
- Spay when other options have failed or size doesn’t allow for other options. We are on a small acreage so obviously hand-weeding our boundary fence line twice a year is never going to be an option.

- Spot-spray the individual weeds, don’t blanket spray.
- Spray as little as possible both in volume and frequency.
- Use a non-glypho option such as the excellent Slasher. It is in-fact organically certified.
- Avoid using glypho-based products in organic gardens or around food plants (unless using something such as Slasher).
- Invest in a good quality sprayer as they will have a better spray pattern and less wastage or a convenient one and look at spray-hoods that will limit the spray area and over-spray.

 

Sooo… short answer Kermit… hand-weeding should always be the first option.

Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

We've had a big weeding blitz at our place in the past week. Slowly getting back on top of them!

 

Thanks again for this fantastic expert advice @Adam_W. Very much appreciated.

 

Additional info can be found here - https://www.bunnings.com.au/diy-advice/garden/planting-and-growing/how-to-control-weeds-organically

 

Additional input from other Workshop members is very welcome. How are your efforts to control weeds in your garden going? Do you have any tips you could share?

 

Jason

 

How to control weeds.jpg

 

 

 

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sprayman
Budding Contributor

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

Very good advice Adam.
Although I don't pretend to be a great gardener (my specialist area was killing not growing), I love hearing different ideas and thoughts.
When I was weedspraying professionally, I used to quiz people alot about their gardening habits.
What did they want from their garden.
Were they growing fruit n veges.
Did they just want an asthetic look.
Type of section.
The list goes on........
Once you know what they are trying to achieve, it's easier to work out a plan to help control weeds.
Definitely planning your garden using raised borders and mulch etc is a much more desirable way to go rather than spray herbicides.
And above all else, doing the prep work properly can save you lots of time in the long run.
Happy gardening
jho
Occasional Browser

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

I think you can also kill weeds with steam and hot water

Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

Thanks for sharing @jho and a warm welcome to the Workshop community. We look forward to reading about your projects and plans. Feel free to post whenever you need a hand or have something to share. And please let me know if you ever need a hand getting the most from the site.

 

Jason

 

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sprayman
Budding Contributor

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

Yep.

Sure can.

Its a good way to control weeds that are close to desirable plants as it reduces the chance of overspray.

Only problem is that it only kills the foliage and not the roots.

Happy gardening.

Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

I spent a few hours yesterday getting stuck into the weeds at our place. And tried the boiling water trick in a few spots where pulling them out completely was proving a little difficult. Will see how it goes. 

 

Jason

 

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poppins
Budding Contributor

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

Iam going to put some good dirt ontop of weeds ect and put black plastic on top and then put leaves on top of the plastic. Leave for a week then I will make some holes and plant a tomato in each hole. Moisture will stay under the plastic and it will also kill the weeds. Much the same as they grow strawberrys.
Kiwifr33
Established Contributor

Re: Best way to control weeds in the garden

Co-opt them. Buy 'Edible Weeds of Melbourne' and in no time what were once weeds become salad greens. There are very few common weeds that you can’t eat - capeweed would be #1 offender.
The alternative is to understand them and their function - most of the 'weeds' are pioneer species, growing in broken or degraded soils. They will actually improve the soil, often to the point where they’ll do themselves out of a niche. Of course if looks are your #1 consideration, then you’re back to square one. But if you treat your garden as the ecology that it is (and stop pouring poison on it!) it will look after itself and all the support species as well.
Rant over!

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