Hoeing weeds

Five ways to eradicate garden weeds

Find out how to get rid of garden weeds using a variety of techniques, from hoeing to digging.

Many of the worst garden weeds can quickly take over your garden during the growing season. Weeds start growing earlier in the year than many garden plants, in early spring – so be sure to get on top of them early before they get out of hand.

Not sure which young plants are weeds? Check our weed seedling identifier to help you identify them.

Then each week, check your garden for weeds and take action to control them. If you ignore them, they'll spread or set seed, causing bigger problems later on. Perennial weeds can be a particular problem – discover five ways to tackle perennial weeds without chemicals.

There are lots of different ways to deal with weeds, from hoeing to pulling them up. It's best to weed on a dry day, when the soil is moist – this will make them easier to dig up, then clear away.

Here are five ways to eradicate garden weeds.

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Dig them up

Use a trowel to remove spreading weeds like couch grass. Watch Alan Titchmarsh's video guide to weeding by hand. If digging up perennials such as bindweed or nettles, dig deep using a garden fork, and be sure to pull up the whole root, as tiny pieces left will become new weeds.

Hoe them off

Hoe over bare areas of soil weekly to sever weed roots and create a dry surface that helps prevent weed seeds from germinating. Choose a dry day, so that weeds on the surface dehydrate, wither and die. Find out more about using a hoe.

Pull them out

Pull out annual weeds such as groundsel with the roots, before they have a chance to set seed. Hand weed after rain has softened the soil, allowing you to pull out complete root systems.

Scrape them out

Scrape out weeds between gaps, such as dandelions or meadowgrass, in paving using a weeding tool or an old knife. Tease them out, roots and all. You could also apply a residual path weedkiller afterwards, to prevent further weed growth.

Spray them

If you have a bad perennial weed infestation and don't mind using chemicals, you could use a systemic weedkiller containing glyphosate. Spray or dab onto dry leaves, when rain is not forecast, in midsummer. If tackling bindweed, train up a bamboo cane first to isolate from the other plants. Always read the label.

 If you ignore weeds, they'll spread or set seed, causing bigger problems later on. 

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