Weeds are a gardener's nightmare. Without control, they can take over your space before you know it. However, believe it or not, all weeds can be controlled- without weed killers!
Annual weeds are those that only live for a year. Ephemeral weeds will live for less than a year. Both types are much easier to control than deep-rooted, as their roots are shallow and are much easier to pull out by hand. However, they do spread much easier and will reappear much quicker, requiring more maintenance.
Deep-rooted weeds are perennials that die off in the winter but will re-grow each spring. They are very difficult to suppress as if you only pull the top off, and not the whole root system, they will only just grow back again.
When to control weeds:
Weeds should be controlled whenever they're being a problem- this is usually during spring/summer. It's probably best to put weed barriers and matting down at the end of winter or beginning of spring, as this will provide ultimate protection and suppression.
How to control weeds without chemicals:
There are several ways you can remove weeds without having to buy or use loads of chemicals (that are usually not very good for the environment!).
Some of these methods include:
- Hoeing- run a hoe over the soil to kill weed seedlings.
- Hand-pulling/use a fork- pull up annual weeds by hand. try digging up the roots of perennials, to prevent them coming up again.
- Repeated cutting- with large areas, repeated cutting down to ground level over a few years will either dramatically weaken or kill off some weeds completely. This is usually best done with a strimmer, or something of the sort.
- Weed knife- used to get rid of weeds between paving slabs etc. It's a useful tool with a little hook on the end.
- Use weed barriers- try adding mulch to the base of your plants to help suppress them as much as possible.
- Lay out weed-suppressant fabrics.