Considering Weed Control?


I think that the first thing we need to establish is what we consider a weed to be. Experience has shown us that what is one man’s pride and joy is another man’s weed, and from a botanical point of view there is no such breed as a weed.



These are young Forget-me-not plants and they bring that wonderful show of blue flowers in late April. However, you may not like them and may want to remove them altogether.
On the other hand, you may really like them. However they remain in flower for only a few short weeks, and during the course of the summer months the seeds that they produced will germinate and totally fill up your border with more Forget-me-nots.

This is a very healthy Dock plant. A very desirable thing to have if you’ve just received the unwanted attention of a Stinging Nettle. It is not grown deliberately for its ornamental value however.

But which of these two plants is a weed? Of course, they both are. But for different reasons.

How do I Control Weeds in Different Situations?

Physical Control

This is a Dutch Hoe, and pushing it through the soil, just below the surface cuts the root of the plant and kills it.
This is fine if your Forget-me-not weeds are in a cultivated border measuring 2M x 1.2M, but it is not very effective between paving slabs on your 40 square metre patio.
It is also not fantastic at controlling Dock plants because, under the surface of the soil lurks a tap root which may be as much as 30cms long. Our Dutch hoe may well be able to chop off the Dock leaves, but the root will soon be able to throw up new leaves, and the Dock plant will be as healthy again as if you hadn’t touched it.


So sometimes in some situations we have to use chemical methods instead of mechanical ones. This is usually for 2 or 3 reasons. Firstly the cost reduces dramatically. Secondly by not disturbing the soil, no further weed seeds are brought to the surface, thus risking further contamination, and thirdly, in some situations, like lawns for instance, it it not practically possible to remove an infestation of weeds by mechanical means without seriously damaging the lawn itself. So we use a product which kills broadleaved plants, but does not harm grasses.