removing weeds by hand in a garden

After spending winter and early spring planting bulbs, it’s a joyous day when we finally see our gardens starting to sprout again. However, this can be overshadowed by the unwelcome apparition of weeds that spring up every year with a vengeance. Removing weeds is often a timely and expensive endeavour, with product after product promising to free your garden, yet often having lacklustre effects. We have tried and tested several free and cheap weed removal strategies to give you (and your wallet) a break.

First, (and most obviously) pull them. Removing the root of a weed completely from the ground ensures that it will not grow back. For long roots, like dandelions, hydrate the ground before pushing a long screwdriver into the earth to loosen the dirt. Grab the weed from the base and pull it out, you should end up with a long root in your hand and nothing in the ground!

Another idea is to pour boiling water on weeds. This will cause the weeds to shrivel up within a couple of days. If you decided to pull your weeds, we would suggest pouring boiling water where they were growing to ensure that no bits of root are left which could grow back.

For low growing weeds like clover and crabgrass, try smothering them. By laying several layers of newspaper over the weeds you eliminate any sunlight that could reach it; the eventual lack of sunlight will exterminate them.

To stop weeds springing up along your garden paths as the weather starts to warm, try sprinkling rock salt on paths and patios at the end of winter to fight weeds in spring. Avoid any concrete areas though, as salt can be erosive if left long enough. If it’s too late in the year for rock salt, then pour vinegar on persistent weeds. They will be dead and withering within a couple of days. This is a fantastic way of getting rid of weeds with long taproots like dandelions and plantain.