Prominent in the garden this week are weeds. They are clearly winning the battle for the limelight. There is something about summer in a garden that does not entice me out to weed. Every morning, a balancing act occurs between starting early enough to beat the heat, flies and bees but not too early or you just get bitten by mosquitoes until the sun is higher in the sky. The weeds are prolific this year with so much rain and are certainly unwelcome visitors. However, I’ve been reading up on the best weed strategies and I’m hoping to have them under control through Autumn.
On a brighter note, the garden after the rain thrives with lovely red-tipped new growth on every rose. Buds like spring are opening to gorgeous blooms not seen for many weeks. Autumn Joy succulents are almost out in flower, and the myriad of different coloured salvias provide that ethereal look amongst the larger bush roses and shrubs and give a splash of extra colour.
It’s undoubtedly a mid-summer wild and unruly garden that is not the picture-perfect vision I had imagined, but it’s alive, and not burnt or devoid of foliage. Summer this year has been so mild and is in stark contrast to last year. I’m a little cautious saying this if it turns around next week with another 40-degree heatwave. As we go through February it feels more like early Autumn with a slight chill in the air in the morning and making it to 30- degrees in the afternoon- bliss. Plenty of time to do tasks early if so inclined, warm enough to enjoy swimming and all that summertime offers.
At present, my weeding strategy is to dig weeds out with a shovel because they are so many and just scratching them with a hoe does not eradicate them enough. My main problem is the lawn getting away into the garden so this week I’m installing steel rust coloured edging that hopefully will make a difference. Many areas of the garden have no weeds because I’ve managed to keep the beds so full and there is no room or light under the roses and large salvias. From my limited experience and what I’ve learnt from the experts the following are some useful tips on weed control.
Weed Control Tips
- Make a plan of weed management ( something I did not do)
- Weed when the soil is damp
- Weed so you get the entire plant out at the roots.
- Don’t let weeds go to seed.
- Get the right tools to help so it’s not such a strain, like weeding forks, wands, weeding bench or mat
- Keep the garden full by shading the ground with plants like ground covers. The areas of my garden that are abundantly planted have no weeds.
- Do not till the soil as this brings more seeds to the surface every time you dig.
- Suffocate weeds with a mat of mulch either cardboard, newspaper or garden weed mat to prevent the light from getting to them. Plants cannot grow without light.
- Mulch with organic matter such as pea straw, wood chips, leaves, pine needles, mushroom compost, sugar cane mulch or who flung dung (terrific). If mulching was done in early Spring now is a good time to top it up.
- Spray weeds with vinegar in the sun or boiling water it will kill them, but be careful as it will also kill your good plants.
- Use organic weed killer called “Slasher” but with caution as it will kill everything else too.
Weeds are not only annoying but in some instances, toxic called noxious weeds. There is a wealth of information and weed management advice via the Weeds Australia website or for more information go to this link on how you can help Weed Management Nationwide.
As gardeners it is essential we start in our own area and look after our unique Australian biodiversity, environment, waterways and natural landscapes. This is discussed in the Weeds Australia website. Another site that is helpful for weed management is The Invasive Species Council where you’ll find information on types of plants that have escaped gardens and are now causing a tremendously detrimental impact on native flora.
Enough from me, and now and back to the weeding.
Content by Di Baker 2021 All Rights reserved
Images by Unsplash
Title quote by Marty Rubin