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Should you pull or spray your garden weeds?

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Mika, Staff Writer

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Weeds are a problem for every gardener, affecting the aesthetics of your garden whilst taking nutrients away from your plants. There are different ways to deal with weeds. Some people choose to spray their weeds with weed killer whilst others opt for manual weed removal. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages which should be carefully considered before you make your choice.

If you need help clearing weeds from your garden, you can hire a local gardener. They are the experts, after all.

Here are the things you should consider when deciding how to remove the weeds from your garden.

Should you dig up weeds?

When you dig up weeds, you remove the entire weed including the roots from the ground. By taking the whole plant out of the ground, you can be certain that it cannot regrow.

The biggest advantage of digging up your weeds manually is that you can be sure that surrounding plants aren’t damaged or killed in the process. As long as you dig the weeds up carefully, any nearby plants will remain intact and healthy.

When you dig up a weed, its removal is instantaneous. You don’t have to wait for the weed to die – it is immediately gone from sight.

If you decide to dig up your weeds, you should wait until immediately after rain has fallen. The soil will be wet and the weeds will be easiest to remove at this point.

Are there any disadvantages to digging up weeds?

To effectively remove a weed, you should dig it up. Don’t be tempted to pull it from the stem or you will risk leaving some of the roots behind in the ground.

The problem with digging up weeds is that you may bring to the surface the seeds of other weeds which were buried deep in the ground. These old seeds may germinate when it rains, creating new weeds.

Digging up weeds individually is also extremely labour intensive, especially if your garden is large. This means that it will take a long time to remove all of the weeds and you may be tempted to put off weeding until they begin to take over your garden, making the job even bigger.

Should you spray your weeds with weed killer?

There are many chemicals on the market which are promoted for their weed-killing abilities. The two most common types of weed killer are pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.

Pre-emergent weed killers prevent the seeds of the weed from germinating, stopping the weed from growing. These herbicides are generally applied to a garden twice a year to prevent weeds from appearing.

Post-emergent weed killers are applied directly to the weed, causing it to shrivel and die. This generally takes around a week to occur.

Are there any disadvantages of using weed killer?

Weed killers typically kill any vegetation that they touch, meaning that they will kill surrounding plants if you aren’t careful in your application. They also leave toxins in your soil, meaning that you shouldn’t use weed killers on or near areas where you are growing fruit or vegetables for consumption.

Many herbicides are toxic to pets and children, so you may have to keep your children and pets indoors for a few days after applying weed killer. Always read the packaging to check before use.

Weed killer vs digging weeds

The choice between using a herbicide or digging your weeds up is a personal one. There are advantages and disadvantages for each method and you need to weigh up which is right for your garden based on your individual circumstances.

If removing the weeds from your garden feels like too big a job, you can hire a local gardener to help you. 

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