Alan Titchmarsh shares advice on tackling weeds

Weeds can make a garden look untidy and messy if you let them grow out of control. Even small weeds can cause problems in flowers beds and potted plants. Alan explained what the different types of weeds are and how to get rid of them, as well as what to watch out for.

He said: “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.”

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Alan explained that annual perennials include “hairy bitter cress” which is often known as the “garden centre weed” because you’ll find it in potted plants you buy from garden centres.

The garden centre weed isn’t very big in terms of its root size but it can keep coming back.

Groundsel is another weed which is quite small but can be a nuisance.

He added: “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.

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“They will sprinkle seed everywhere, and there’s a famous old saying, ‘One year seen, seven years weed’ – they really will carry on.”

Alan then explained how to remove them and dispose of them.

The gardening expert said for to pull small weeds out and pop them on the compost heap before they seed.

However, disposing of perennial weeds can be a bit more tricky.

He continued: “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.”

Dandelions, which are very common, have an enormous long taproot which will carry on sprouting if you don’t remove it.

Alan added: “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.”

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs today at 10am on ITV.

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