Weeds can crop up throughout the year, which means that although most of your garden may be laying dormant in the winter, there’s still the risk of unwanted plants cropping up. Daisy Payne, who is best known as ITV’s This Morning gardening presenter, shared gardening tips and tricks with an audience of 20.3k followers on her Instagram account @gardentogarnish and is Dobbies Garden Centres’ Ambassador.
“In the UK alone there are lots of different types of weeds that can be found in our gardens and on our lawns,” she told Express.co.uk.
“All of these weeds are unique, have different life cycles and appear at certain times of the year. In the winter, you’ll find Shepherd’s Purse, Purple Dead-Nettle and Bittercress.”
Before you head into the garden to seek revenge on weeds, Daisy says it’s important to identify exactly what is growing. She explained: “Not all weeds are bad and in fact leaving them be in the winter can help to increase the biodiversity in your garden and help look after your natural habitat.”
If you do want to put a stop to weeds, the best method is prevention. “During the winter months, many plants in your garden are likely to fall dormant,” said Daisy.
“However, one key way to help keep weeds at bay is mulching your soil.
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“Mulching is a really simple process, where you add peat-free multi-purpose compost, farmyard manure or materials such as wood chip.
“Mulching helps your soil retain moisture in summer, help rain to penetrate the soil in winter, prevent weeds from growing, and protect the roots of plants in winter. It’s also quite a satisfying gardening job.”
Mulching is also a “cost-effective” way to prepare your garden for the spring months. But, if weeds have suddenly emerged before you’ve had a chance to mulch, simplicity is key.
Many gardening experts, including the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), advise against using chemical pesticides in your green space.
The RHS said: “[We] want everyone to reduce their reliance on pesticides to better protect the insects that benefit our gardens and protect the wider ecosystem.
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“The RHS believes that avoiding pests, diseases and weeds by good practice in cultivation methods, cultivar selection, garden hygiene and encouraging or introducing natural enemies, should be the first line of control. If chemical controls are used, they should be used only in a minimal and highly targeted manner.”
Daisy is of the same school of thought and recommends removing weeds by hand. She explained: “Keeping on top of weeds that take over in your garden is important because it will keep the rest of your garden healthy.
“To get rid of pesky weeds, the best thing to do is dig them up from the root.”
How to correctly dig up weeds in your garden
When done properly, digging up weeds is one of the best methods to stop them from coming back time and time again.
The help of a garden fork or hand trowel will help to gently lever them out of the soil and ensure you remove the full root system.
A weed-pulling tool can also be used for more laborious jobs, especially if you have a lot of ground to cover. Weed-pulling tools work by using a claw to grab around the weed and pull the intruder out of the ground.
You can also hand pull weeds, though this may take a little while longer and you must ensure the entire weed is removed including its roots.
To pull weeds, start by breaking up the soil where the stem meets the top of the soil bed. Grip the bottom of the weed in your hand and pull firmly at a straight angle to remove it from the roots.
Weeds can be easier to remove from the ground after a good rainfall when the soil is moist. The same goes for early in the morning when there are still remnants of dew on the ground.
This way, it is easier for the whole weed to slip through the soil from the roots.