Gardening expert on how to keep your garden free of weeds

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Garden weeds aren’t necessarily a bad thing, with some producing pretty flowers and others serving as a pollen source for insects. However, if you’ve spent all spring working on your garden, the unexpected arrival of weeds can be a nuisance.

Regardless of whether they spring up on your lawn or in your flowerbed, James Shipley, managing director of Hedges Direct, says the “best” way to deal with them is by taking a “manual” approach.

He told “Hedges Direct’s viewpoint on removing weeds would be that, rather than using chemicals and potentially affecting the soil bio-diversity, the most ecologically-friendly approach, where possible, is to dig them out and pop them in the green waste bin.

“Once weeded you can put a mulch or bark chippings down which helps retain the moisture and nutrients in the soil but also keeps light out which helps to suppress weed growth thereafter.”

However, the technique to remove weeds may differ slightly depending on whether you are tackling lawn weeds or those which have popped up around your bedding plants.

Mr Shipley said: “Some weeds are quite difficult to remove from your lawn – particularly those with a large taproot, like dandelions.

“Firstly, you can dig them out with a specialist weeding tool or grubber, although you have to be prepared to dig deep for weeds like dandelions to ensure all of the long taproots are removed.

“You would then treat the gap in the lawn.

“You can backfill with compost to just under lawn level, sprinkle some grass seed in, then cover over and water. Grass will then grow to fill the gap.”

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In flowerbeds, weeds may be slightly smaller, and as a result, Mr Shipley recommends using a garden hoe.

Hoes are traditional hand tools which are useful for loosening earth and removing weeds.

Mr Shipley explained: “It is advised to cut off shallow weeds at the surface, after which the root will die, or to use a hand fork to loosen the soil around them.

“You could also dig down to remove the weed and the root in one go by hand.

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“Weeding as soon as you see them will mean less work for you to remove them.

“Using a mulch once an area is weeded can also help to prevent them from coming through again afterwards.”

Only in the case of a substantial breakout does Mr Shipley advise using a chemical killer, and even then, you should be careful to only target the weed itself.

He said: “With this, you should use a targeted chemical weed killer which will treat the weeds but not kill the grass.

“This type of weed and feed treatment is popular, but care should be taken if you have pets or children to ensure you buy a pet or child-safe formula and read instructions carefully as even these treatments have a time limit on when it is safe to walk or play on again.”

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