pumpkin
compost executive
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Dairy Flat, New Zealand

Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

16 Sep '13 3:48 pm
How do gardeners control weeds in their gardens? Apart from the tedious and time consuming act of hand weeding what do you do in your garden?

I have always had the organic approach to my garden although from time to time I will squirt a bit of Glyphosate along fencelines. My actual gardens get so weedy so fast at this time of year and tend to get overcome.

Mulching is a good way to go but I find if the mulch lasts for any length of time it is often too heavy or barky for around young plants and seedlings. In the vegetable garden I use a lot of straw but that provides a safe harbour for slugs which presents another problem.

Any ideas? :-s

Kerole
A Gardener of Disrepair
User avatar
Taupaki, New Zealand

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

18 Sep '13 8:10 am
No ideas sorry! I have the same problem, this time of year the weeds are growing at an alarming rate - way faster than I can pull them out. The old adage goes 'one year of seeds = seven years of weeds' or something like that. Removing the weeds before they flower and set seed will save a lot of angst in the years to follow, even if you just cut the tops off them. Many of my gardens are near a neighbour who cares not a hoot that his back paddock is harbouring weed infestations that could take over the world. Add to this the weeds that come from the surrounding pasture, grass, clover etc.

I would love to potter through my garden with a tasteful trug and immaculate gloves, pulling a juvenile weed here and there out of beautifully friable, compost-enriched tilth. My reality is never this!

I have to take a pretty hard stance. Although I don't use sprays of any sort on my lawns, roses, or veges (a copper spray on the fruit trees very rarely) I do use glyphosate. Everywhere. I have been known to use it IN my garden beds when faced with a particularly beligerent weed. I spray the boundary, squirting out into the neighbouring properties if I see weeds yonder. I spray the edges of the beds to keep the mad-hatter kikuyu grass from smothering everything. I spray the weeds that colonise the gravel driveway - all 500 meters of it. I spray around the base of the trees that grow in the lawn to make mowing that much easier and to stop me ring barking the trees with the edge of the mower. I spray in the tree boxes (that protect the trees from stock) because the horses can't reach in to eat them and they go to seed quickly. I spray the paddocks to kill weeds that reduce the grazing quality.

With all this spraying you'd think that the property looked like it was dying of some pox, with browned-off bits everywhere, but actually it never looks too bad probably because I don't do it all at once.

The other thing I do is mulch. Big time. I have a lot of semi-broken down stable muck and a massive pile of wood chips. You are right, this is too coarse for tiny seedlings. And of course it stops any nice plants from seeding about too. I tend to take cuttings or dig up tiny seedlings to grow on a bit before planting them back in the garden. I apply a massively thick layer. It is great for water retention in summer, really makes a difference to the weed population, and eventually becomes incorporated in the soil. I have had to resort to weed matting in places. I am about to re-do a path that has every weed known to man in it, the soil sems to have a never-ending supply of seeds too. I will take up the massive schist pavers, pull out the clumps of black mondo, de-weed it. Then re-plant the mondo in clumps, lay weed mats around the plants, put gravel down and replace the pavers. Might even do it today... 8)

pumpkin
compost executive
User avatar
Dairy Flat, New Zealand

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

18 Sep '13 11:13 am
Oh my goodness Kerole! You have addressed so many things in your post that I can relate too!

I got through the first paragraph and thought 'sounds so familiar but at least we don't have the dreaded kikuyu!' and then out you come with it, eeek! My sympathies :wink: We have had a couple of small patches appear here and they got dealt too straight away. Not having that horrid (although great if you have drought problem) weed taking hold.

I also have a path which I am going to lift and re-bed due to weeds. I've pulled out so many with the sand attached that there is now nothing left between them, they have moved further apart making more room for bigger weeds! Arrgh!

I might look out for a finer mulch too.

I think part of the solution is in your first paragraph, removing the flowers before they seed. This might just be where I have run amok. They get the business done before I even see them. One of my biggest problems though is raging buttercup, nasty stuff and creeps everywhere. It is so hard to get out of the ground and destroys clumps of perenials. Loves growing amongst mondo :wink:

Hope you do get out in the garden today, it is glorious out there! I think I will do the same thing, maybe with a grubber :lol:

Thanks for your helpful reply :)

Kerole
A Gardener of Disrepair
User avatar
Taupaki, New Zealand

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

21 Sep '13 11:22 am
Yes, I think we are definately on the same page! AKL country gardens perhaps all suffer the same issues?

I did get out in the garden. Pulled up the huge stone slabs, dug out the mondos, took a slice of weedy soil off the top, flattened the path bed. And that's as far as I got. The mondos sit in bags, the stones and pavers in a pile, the weed mat at the ready.

The weeds are growing as I sit here. At this point all our lawn is dreaded kikuyu so it cannot be erradicated just yet! Keeping it back from garden edges and paths is a constant nightmare. But as you say, it is a blessing in a dry summer when the horses get to nibble on the only thing that remains green, even though the pastures only have a few scimpy patches of the stuff.

One day, when my undergardeners grow up a bit and I have more time (and more funds!) the whole place will be redesesigned and landscaped. The lawn will diminish in size, have strict bounaries (rather than running under a fence and becoming a horse paddock), and will be proper lawn grasses. I will mow it will at self-propelling wide-blade mower with a built in roller that will leave stripes up and down the length just like Eden Park. Much of the gardens near the house will be transformed. This means I put most of my energy into parts of the propert that will remain unaffected by this big alteration, e.g. the tow path and pond, and the cottage garden near the stables.

fenwillow
member
User avatar
Fraser Valley, BC, Canada

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

23 Sep '13 4:42 am
It's exactly the same here in the Fraser Valley. Now that Fall is here, all the weeds are springing up with the first hard rains. I also spray with glyphosate, usually on the fence lines only, although if I remove a new area from lawn or have an area of rampant perennial weed growth, I will use it there as well. I have 3 acres but usually don't spray in the two acre pasture because the goats take care of that and seem to love the weeds.

I think the best guidelines to follow are to try and spray at times when bees and other pollinators are not active. With the world wide drop in the bee population it's very important to try and reduce their deaths anyway possible, but as we know, it's also difficult to do without some chemical weeding over an area bigger than a city lot.

And, as Kerole says... mulch, mulch, mulch!

I use quite a bit of landscape fabric on the pathways under much, but I've found that it you don't buy the heavier, more expensive kind, the skinny little grass leaves will sometimes come up through it. Argh... I also use it if I have a bed with quite a few larger perennials or shrubs in it and the tall heavy grasses have tried to invade. That way, I can keep up with the weeding around the edges or have a much smaller area to spray if necessary.

Good luck with your weed battle. If you at least cut them down before they seed, as mentioned, it will be easier to get on top of the problem.... so many weeds, so little time... sigh!

June
FenWillow,
Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Canada

Kerole
A Gardener of Disrepair
User avatar
Taupaki, New Zealand

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

23 Sep '13 7:15 am
I have been saddened by the worldwide drop in bee numbers. I am always aware of the bees here, I enjoy their busy ways! To the point where during a big clean up weekend I made my farm lad leave a rather large gorse bush in place along the creek because it had a wild bee nest under it! 8)

pumpkin
compost executive
User avatar
Dairy Flat, New Zealand

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

6 Oct '13 7:25 am
Bee lover here too. where would we be without them! I have been spotted using sewing needles to remove the seemingly strongest substance in nature, spider web, from bee wings so they can fly free before being the main course. Takes a very steady hand and an agreeable bee :wink:

Hi Fenwillow :D Fraser Valley, is that just outside of Vancouver? Must be especially pretty at this time of year.

I am using all of the ideas suggested and have a plan! I have decided to use some glyphosate to spot spray big thistles along the fenceline to start.

In my veg garden I will use landscape fabric and wood chip on the paths and outside edge. When the veg beds are waiting a couple of months between crops I will mulch thick with straw.

Those which are considered weeds elsewhere I will chop of their heads after the bees have finished with them. Well, that takes care of my summer!

I am considering using grass clippings for mulching flower gardens. We have a lot of that so keeps the cost down. I wonder tho if this will produce more grassy weeds?

Has anyone used white vinegar with any success? If so, in what quantities?

melgibson
helper

Re: Dealing to the weeds... of the plant variety ;)

27 Nov '14 6:59 pm
I recently redesigned the structure of my house and additionally included the garden from denver structural engineer as I love gardening a lot. I would say that weeds are nature’s healing remedy for garden sites that are in a wounded, plant-less state, but weeds and gardeners have different ideas of what makes for a good recovery.Digging and cultivating brings hidden weed seeds to the surface, so assume weed seeds are there ready to erupt, like ants from an upset anthill, every time you open a patch of ground.Don't dig them out.


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