There have been quite a lot of scares based on the carcinogenic properties of chemical weed killers. Why not get weeds under control the natural way? Here are some tips!
• Check your garden regularly for weeds that are flowering or beginning to seed. If you control weeds before they seed, you’re getting to the heart of the problem. Weeds without seeds can be left for a little while – until you’ve got the time to attend to them – but weeds in seed can produce literally hundreds of offspring!
• Mulch. Have you ever noticed how many weeds come up on soil that’s been recently dug over? That’s because most weeds are ‘pioneer’ plants that are evolved to grow on disturbed, exposed soil. If you cover the soil with a mulch, the soil temperatures don’t favour weed germination.
• Use ground covers. A healthy cover of low growing plants has the same effect as mulch and is much prettier! The plants help to cool the soil and supress the germination of weed seeds. If ground covers are getting leggy, trim them to encourage dense growth.
• Pull weeds rather than digging over the soil when possible. Sometimes, you’ll have to go at it hammer and tongs if you’ve got dense weed populations, but for weeds here and there, just pulling the weed results in less soil disturbance and less new weed seed being brought to the surface.
• If you’ve got an area of, for instance grass, that you’d like to kill without using herbicide, try covering the area with anything that excludes light: cardboard, old carpet or plastic sheeting have all been used for this purpose.
• Lawns aren’t very environmentally friendly, since they use a lot of water, and they’re labour intensive. If you’re going to have lawn areas, look after them properly. If the lawn is healthy and growing strongly, it should be able to stay relatively weed free.
Thin or patchy lawns are those most prone to weed growth.