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Dealing with annual and perennial weeds

Dealing with annual and perennial weeds


There are two main different kinds of weeds in your garden, and it does well to know the difference between them. The first type are the annuals, which come up one year, seed, and then die. The second lot are the perennials which are indeed a perennial nuisance. They come up every year, generally spreading by means of fat underground roots that last for years on end. Annuals are things like this… Hairy bitter cress, it’s often called the garden centre weed, because you’ll find it in pots that you buy at most garden centres; sorry garden centres, but you do. I’ll pull it up just to show you there’s nothing enormous there, or fat, apart from a worm, in the way of the root. The same is true of groundsel, this weed here. Again leave those on the surface of the soil if you want, and they will actually die away, but, if you don’t pull them out, and you leave them to carry on, their way of perennating themselves is by seed. They will sprinkle seed everywhere, and there’s a famous old saying, ‘One year seen, seven years weed’, they really will carry on. Pull them out, pop them on the compost heap before they seed. Then there are perennials like the dandelion, the nettle and buttercup. Now buttercup spreads not only by thickish roots but also by runners that it sends out a bit like a strawberry plant. That needs to come out completely, and take these roots out because they too might have buds on them. The dandelion has an enormous long taproot – that is what is going to carry on. Break that top off, or just hoe it off, and that root will send up another shoot, so it’s important with all these thick-rooted weeds that they come out completely. You don’t compost them because then you put the compost back on the garden, and if it hasn’t heated up enough, you’re just reintroducing the weeds. So the annuals, get rid of them before they seed. The perennials, get those roots right out the ground, and then all the plants you want to grow will have a much easier time of it.

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