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in Problem solving
Hi all, sorry if this is a cross post, I'd be surprised if it hasn't been covered somewhere before, but I couldn't find it.
We have recently aquired a garden which was a bit neglected and overgrown, I am a complete newbie and would appreciate a bit of advice. There are a couple of areas which are heavily overgrown with weeds that I would like to try to reclaim to grow stuff in. Is it possible to use weedkiller to kill everything back and dig it through, or would the weeds need completely removed? I am not scared of a bit of work, but removing the weeds individually would be impractical, and I am concerned that I would need to replace a fairly large amount of topsoil if I were to dig them out.
I am in no particular rush do do anything with it this year but would be nice to have it ready for next year.
Sorry markh, but you really should try and dig out all the weeds, they'll only come back and haunt you later - depending on what you call a weed of course. Personally, I'm not a great weedkiller user but it is one way. Are the weeds (and situation) of the type that you could take a small flame thrower to them? At least you'd have some ash to put back into the ground! Good luck..
Mark, weedkiller can be used if that's your preference but you may need several applications to get rid of persistent offenders and you'd have to be careful not toget it on plants yu want to keep. Another alternative is to smother them thoroughly with black plastic so that you deprive them of light, and leave them till the late winter/spring so that you can start afresh. Are they on an area where you could use a lawn mower or a strimmer? If so, you an use that to cut them right down first to make it easier. If not, shears will also do the job. Some weeds -like horsetail- can still make their way underground to pop up at the edges where they get the light but you could tackle those individually if that happens. Many weeds are made worse by digging unless you are very thorough about getting every little piece of root out -eg bindweed - as even little pieces left in the soil will regrow.
Fairygirls advice seems sound to me , I would only add that you need a plan , you could divide it into sections and do a section at a time so that that you can see that you are achieving something
An alternative to black plastic is synthetic carpet. Its weight holds it down and therefore it doesn't need anchoring in place. also works a treat for pathways between raised beds/ vege patches etc. Do make sure it is synthetic tho or it will rot and the weeds will happily grow through it too. We have a local carpet shop that sells offcuts really cheaply and most of the allotment owners round here use it.
Thanks, sounds like a plan. I'll try cutting it all back then cover it. My concern was leaving the roots in, will they compost themselves under cover, or do we really need to get them out or killed?
I'm not really concerned about what is there at the moment, we haven't planted it at all yet. There are a couple of smallish sections, none of them look particularly unmanagable on their own, so we'll take it a bit at a time.
It depends how long you want to leave the area covered. The more aggressive the weed the longer it will take to kill. It will not kill bindweed if you have that but you end up with spaghetti roots on the surface which are very satisfying to remove.
I wouldn't bother weeding just cut back, cover and once you are ready to plant uncover and dig up anything still alive. Will be much easier to get out as it will be severely weakened.