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Talkback: Removing weeds

i must admit I laughed on reading your advice to get rid of dandylions, here in France they make up the famous Fields of Gold & in the meado...

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i must admit I laughed on reading your advice to get rid of dandylions, here in France they make up the famous Fields of Gold & in the meadow at the bottom of our garden we have millions in flower. We have decided they are beautiful & given up on the impossibility of getting rid of them & just live with them, the same goes for moss, with forests full of it all around its impossible to get rid of it & as for clover, the other field bounding our garden is carefully sown annually with it, get rid of it, no chance. In short, what can't be cured must be endured or at least change of attitude from unwanted weeds to glorious colour. Good luck with your weeding!
I dont agree with your solution of weed killer in this day and age and altho some of the weeds are very persistant of those you have described, a cardboard or plastic cover would be more ecological to stifle the weed growth. have they invented a weed killer which doesnt harm the soil and its millions of inhabitants?
Alina W

Glyphosate is inactivated on contact with the soil, and does not affect it in any way.

I would point out that Elizabeth was not advocating killing the weeds she mentioned, but living with them.

Digging out Japanese Knotweed does not work - it has rhizomatic roots and can regrow from the smallest part, so digging tends to make it worse. It grows through concrete so covering in plastic isn't going to work either! It's near impossible to get rid of - councils and construction companies spend thousands dealing with it. Best home solution is to thoroughly glyphosate it in mid/late summer so it takes the weedkiller down into its roots. But you'll need to do this for several years in a row. It's also a controlled waste substance - you cannot put it in your own or any municipal garden waste. When you've cut it down, keep it in plastic bags until it is completely rotted before disposing or it can re-propagate.
A few years ago our council tendered out the gardening to a company who are supposed to keep the grass verges etc clipped, but they don't and the majority of dandelion seedheads just blow in from these verges. It then takes me hours to dig them all up, both from the lawn and flower beds, meaning that I inevitably also dig some of my own planting as I believe in soil coverage to keep annual weeds and local unwanted cats at bay.


Re killing Japanese Knotweed. I found that by cutting the stem and pouring in a strong solution of Glyphosphate ( I buy it in France where it is more concentrated ) the majority of the plant does not reappear the following season. You will get a few small shoots appearing but these are quickly eradicated with a quick dose. Also, by pouring it into the stem, there is no risk of the solution being blown onto other plants by the wind.

My idea of heaven a lawn full of daisy's. Love them.    

I've filled 3 bags of weeds, this afternoon, the first full days sunshine we've had for about three weeks. As i'm still recovering from a nasty virus.I'm quite pleased with myself.. The old fashioned way,down on the knees (kneeler) seems my best option..

I have a major problem with horsetail on my plot - it is rampant coming in from every side , in the grass and even in the pond! obviously covering it is not an option everywhere, neither digging it out. Has anyone got any good ideas or is this like the danadelions that I will just have to live with it and like it for its medicinal properties - appraently it is very good for your health!!

Alina W

Covering horsetail has no effect, I'm afraid - it'll just run along to where there is light. Your best bet is to use a glyphosate-based weedkiller (glyphosate is non-residual, and inactivated completely on contact with the ground), crushing the horsetail first so it absorbs the weedkiller; it's also an idea to add a drop of washing-up liquid to the weedkiller. This won't get rid of it all, but will shift a significant amount. The rest can either be treated again, or you can keep pulling it up when you see it.

I must agree whole heartedly with Elizabeth. after all what is a weed? mostly a wild flower in the wrong place. What a beautiful sight is a field of dandylion clocks or a lawn of pretty little daisies all raising their faces to the sun. perhaps those troubled with rabbits should plant a thick swathe of dandylions as a companion crop so that, by the time the rabbits have eaten all the dandylions, they won't want to eat your precious flowers and veg. and dandylion is a much better way to spell it.
I keep removing the yellow dandelion heads, the plants get weaker & weaker and easier to remove, without making my grass [in my own mind - the lawn!] look like a golf course!
Dandelions especially can be treated with approx 1/4 teaspoon of salt placed in the centre in dry weather (and best when it will be dry for a couple/few days). The grains then filter down into the soil, killing the whole root. Reapplication may be required. Salt is poisenous in the garden.

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