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Spring Weeds in an Irish Garden

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2173
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:10 pm    Post subject: Spring Weeds in an Irish Garden Reply with quote

Spring Weeds in an Irish Garden

Yes indeed, spring has well and truly sprung. I can quite confidently assure you of this fact, not because the golden daffodils have begun to bloom or because trees, shrubs and perennials are tentatively pushing leaves from their budded encasings. You see, for me, for you, and many other gardeners, spring is in full swing once the annual and perennial weeds germinate, reawaken, and emerge from their beds with what seems like light speed.

Annual Weed Control.
Tackling these weeds now, whilst they are still young seedlings, will save you lots of weeding in the months to come. Thankfully, our annual weeds such as "Shepard's Purse" and "Chickweed" are relatively shallow rooted individuals, making them easy to pull or dig out. Extracting them from your soil by hand, hoe or fork is the chemical-free way of calling a halt to their gallop, stopping them before they get a chance to set seed, causing further weed growth.
The chemical removal of annual weeds by applying a contact herbicide such as "Weedol" is of course much quicker, but it is harder on the environment and your pocket. Should you have a large open area of annual weeds, possibly a vegetable area or suchlike, you can still clear it of annual weeds without resorting to chemicals. Achieve this by restricting light to the weeds through laying a material such as old dark coloured carpet, lino or black plastic over the weedy area, ensuring that it is well weighed down with plenty of ballast such as bricks, blocks and stones. This weed clearing method is especially effective during periods when the weather is warm; the weeds become anaemic through lack of light and will be effectively cooked beneath their warm covering.

Tough Stemmed Perennials.

Perennial weeds also arise in spring; this group includes such terrors as Dandelions, Bindweed, Thistles, Docks and Scutch grass. Pulling these perennial weeds is often initially ineffective, as any section of the root or stem you leave behind in the soil will allow the weed to regrow, possibly two-fold. However, if you have the time and patience to continually pull or dig out a weed that re-sprouts from its roots, it will eventually weaken to the point where it dies out altogether.

Chemical Solution?
Because of the perennial weeds resilience, sometimes even the ecologically friendly gardeners reach for a chemical solution. The most effective type of herbicide to use on our common perennial weeds is a translocated herbicide. This herbicide will travel from the leaves to the furthest tip of the root. "Glyphosate" based herbicides are commonly used for this purpose, available under many names including "Roundup", "Gallup" and "Touchdown". Remember; follow the manufacturer's guidelines closely regarding application rates and safety issues for both contact and translocated herbicides.

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