What Are Weeds?

Weeds are basically plants that are growing where they are not wanted. They are generally plants that are fast growing and thrive in pretty much most types of soil.

Weeds, so the saying goes, are just plants in the wrong place. The trouble is, there are so many of them. However much you might think dandelions are pretty, or ground elder has elegant leaves, if you stop to admire them too long you (and your plants) will quickly be overrun.

You'll probably never be completely free of weeds, but it's quite possible to keep them well under control. In our garden centre you'll find all you need from weedkillers for persistent thugs, to hoes to deal with tiny annual weed seedlings before they get their heads too far above ground.

Annual Weeds

Weeds to watch out for: Annual Meadow Grass, Fat Hen, Chickweed, Groundsel and Bittercress

Annual weeds are usually the easiest problem plants to deal with in the garden. They are generally shallow rooting plants that can be dealt with by regular hoeing or cultivation of border soils so they don’t have time to establish. A hoe or weeding claw will either slice off their top growth or lift the whole plant, while disturbing the soil to prevent further weed germination. Left on the soil surface and exposed to drying wind and sun, annual weeds soon wither and die. When hoeing through borders in spring be careful not to damage emerging ornamental plants.

Make hoeing a weekly task and annual weeds are easily kept at bay. However, left to develop, annual weeds can quickly flower and scatter their seed over a wide area and the resulting seedlings can soon swamp an area of unattended soil. Where this has happened and hand weeding is no longer a viable option, patches can be quickly brought back up to scratch with Resolva 24H weedkiller.

Once weeds have been killed off, prevent them taking hold again by applying a weed suppressing fabric or organic mulch such as Bed and Border Chipped Bark or Plant Protection Bark. These will bury any lingering weed seeds, blocking out light and suppressing germination.

Tough Weeds

Weeds to watch out for: Brambles, Tree Seedlings, Japanese Knotweed, Horsetail, Ivy Bindweed

Some weeds are more aggressive than others, and will re-grow despite the hardest efforts to dig them out or kill them off with weedkiller. Woody weeds such as brambles, ivy and tree seedlings are particular problems as are perennial weeds such as Japanese knotweed, horsetail and those that re-grow from small pieces of root left in the soil such as bindweed and couch grass.

For effective chemical control, a super strength weedkiller such as Resolva Xtra Tough is called for, but if well established many of these thuggish weeds may still need a second application for total control.

Japanese knotweed can be a particular problem. Allow it to grow to around 1m high in late spring before spraying all parts of the plant. Die back will occur quickly but regrowth will be likely. Spray the re-growth in midsummer, and if the problem persists, tackle again in September.

Some tough weeds have a waxing coating to their foliage preventing proper intake of the applied weedkiller. Horsetail for example, should be trodden down before treatment, to wound the foliage and open up entry points for the weedkiller to take hold.

Perennial Weeds

Weeds to watch out for: Nettles, Bindweed, Couch Grass, Dandelion, Dock, Ground Elder

Unless faced with persistent weeds that re-grow from pieces of root left in the ground, aim to dig out perennial weeds growing in border soil. This is more easily done on light, workable soils when weeds are young. Heavy clay soils make it difficult to dig out weeds without leaving roots in the ground, and here it is best to use a systemic weedkiller. Resolva Xtra Tough offers effective control of deep rooted perennials when applied on a dry day through spring and summer when weeds are in active growth.

Allow weeds to mature in the joins between patio slabs or block paving and it can be a real problem to remove them by hand. With no room to dig out tap roots, perennial weeds will likely return soon after pulling off or scraping away their top growth.

Over time, regular removal of the re-growth will weaken the plant, eventually killing it off, but the fastest route to a weed-free patio or path is to reach for a systemic weedkiller such as Resolva Path and Patio weedkiller. Like Resolva Xtra Tough, this is absorbed by the plant and carried down to the roots to prevent any re-growth occurring.

Apply these on a dry day, when there is no wind to blow the spray on to plants or into neighbours plots. One application generally does the job.

Lawn Weeds

Weeds to watch out for: Buttercup, Daisy, Dandelion, Clover and Plantain

A pitch-perfect, weed-free lawn starts with an annual regime of timely maintenance jobs, seasonal feeding, regular mowing and a keen eye for weeds as they first emerge.

Great in theory, but for the average time-strapped gardener, a weekly mowing is as good as it gets! Fortunately there is a range of products to help keep lawn weeds at bay.

Weeds often first enter a lawn by setting seed in worm casts that have been trodden into the turf or smeared by a lawnmower. If worms are active on your lawn, brush their casts into the turf before mowing.

Where weeds are a minor problem it is best to tackle them with a daisy grubber or weed pulling tool. Where they have been allowed to take hold, make the first steps to control in spring with a catch-all product such as AfterCut All-in-One. Not only will it feed and green the lawn, it will also kill weeds and moss.

Some lawn weeds can be persistent and spot spraying with a selective lawn weedkiller may be needed. Resolva Lawn Weedkiller tackles a wide range of lawn weeds without harming the grass. It can be applied at any time during the growing season, but try to hit weeds when they are young for best results. Well-developed weeds may need a follow up treatment.

No matter how you choose to tackle lawn weeds, once removed from the turf, fill the gap with a pinch of lawn seed or AfterCut Patch Fix to prevent weeds seeds from settling.