GUEST POST: Methods on Tackling Weeds

Weeds are considered as one of the greatest threats to crop yields in the farm and are well known as an eyesore to the everyday garden. Reasons for this include their fine-tuned abilities honed on aggressive invasion and reproduction. Aside from providing an aesthetic displeasure, plants deemed to be weeds compete with the natural resources required to grow your plants and crops, namely sunlight, nutrients, soil and water. For a hassle-free and pleasant looking garden, they must be dealt with, although this can prove to be quite troublesome, in this article I will attempt to convey popular methods of eliminating these garden pests.

Consider weeding to be the botanical element of pest control. Weeding can be achieved through both chemical and physical methods; the most basic method of weeding on a large scale is ploughing, which severs the roots of weeds annually. Chemical weed killers (herbicides) are a popular choice in the garden and farm, but occasionally have implications regarding the quality of crops.

For a pre-emptive strategy of weed control, it is useful to check if you are using clean soil, devoid of any other roots or seeds. If you’re unsure, you can attain clean soil from gardening stores, which is usually enriched with nutrients for healthy growth.

When tending a domestic garden, covering the ground with layers of wet newspaper or a black plastic sheet for the duration of a few weeks prevents sunlight from reaching the weed ridden areas, disposing of the unwanted plants underneath. It is also helpful to saturate the newspaper with water daily to speed up the decay of the dead plants, you would think that water would be counterproductive, but the lack of sunlight is enough to stop new weed seeds from sprouting. This is an incredibly cost-effective method for the environmentally friendly gardener.

Weeding by hand can also be an effective and low-tech method despite it’s time consuming nature. This process is simply achieved by removing and physically pulling up as many weeds as possible, in addition to the roots.

Herbicides are a controversial alternative for weed control because despite their effectiveness they must be used carefully. Herbicides have the potential to harm your plants, pets and beneficial insects in your garden. The dead weeds will also require removal by hand after spraying. When using this method it is important to research various products to minimize unwanted effects.

Ewan Michaels, a guest contributor to GBE, recently wrote about water management. He is passionate about green energy and believes we would all benefit from less dependence on non-renewable sources. He currently works for UK Water Features

Photo:  Flatbush Gardener