Put simply, garden weeds are just plants growing in an undesirable location. These unwanted plants compete for nutrients, water and light, taking away precious resources from the plants you do want to grow. Several different types of weeds are native to Australia. You can identify them by doing a quick Google search and matching the images to what you have growing in your garden or by sharing a photo with your local nursery or horticultural expert. These pesky plants are much more common than you may realise! Some of the most common weeds frequently found in the garden include dandelions, flatweed, nut grass, dock, purslane and clover.
The trouble is, the plants we all consider weeds are extremely good at reproduction and are very hardy, making them difficult to kill off. Another reason they are so invasive is that birds, dogs, cats, ants, and a vast array of other animals carries and spreads the seeds around unknowingly. Plus, there are other natural factors such as wind, imported soil, mulch and even new plants from the nursery, all of which can have weeds growing at the base. It's safe to say that weeds will find your garden no matter how vigilant you are. Some weed seeds can even lay dormant for up to seven years before sprouting!
Despite this, we still have to do our best to win the war on weeds and give the plants you actually want to grow the best chance of survival. I, like most people, try and use as few chemicals in the garden as possible, not only for my personal health but for the health of the garden and its beneficial insects too.
Fun fact: Did you know that weeds can tell us a lot about the type of soil we have? Some will even be a sign of healthy, nutrient-rich soil. So, there you go – they aren't always a bad sign!
Manual weed removal
Manually removing weeds is by far the best and most effective way to get rid of them. This way, you are removing the whole plant, its roots, foliage and seeds. Some weeds can re-grow if even a little bit of the root system is left behind in the ground, so getting as much of the root ball out as possible is essential. Another reason removing the weeds manually is better is because you are taking away the seeds. If you spray the weeds with chemicals, although the plant dies, there is no guarantee that all of the seeds will die with it, and, before long, the living seeds will germinate to produce yet more weeds. If you're a bit worried about completing a task as big as manual weeding, fear not! Hoselink have a great range of weeding tools to help you through it:
Possibly my favourite from the range, Hoselink's Stand-up Weed Puller is a popular pick, and for good reason. This weeding tool has been ergonomically designed to protect your body, allowing you to pull weeds from an upright position, saving your back. Simply push the claws into the ground, pull out the weed, and then eject into one of Hoselink's Heavy Duty Planter Bags. It's oddly satisfying if you ask me! If you'd like to learn more and see the Weed Puller in action, you can check out Hoselink's video with yours truly here.
Another handy tool is Hoselink's Hand Scythe Weeder. This tool is great for those tiny weeds that you may spot sprouting up between the pavers on your driveway or in other hard to reach places. This weeder is slim enough to tackle them but strong enough to pull and cut the edge of the weed root in one sweeping motion. The Hand Scythe Weeder is made out of stainless steel for longevity in the garden with a rubber handle for an easy grip. Having a hand tool for weeding is ideal for storing in your Hoselink Garden Tool Tote Bag or toolbox!
Hoselink's Garden Weeder is another handy and more traditional tool for removing weeds. Designed with a split fork end to get a strong grip on the weed, the rounded edge provides a smooth weed removal. This tool is also equipped with a soft grip handle for easy, comfortable use. Better yet, this one is also the perfect size for storing in your favourite Hoselink Garden Apron.
If you're looking for other weeding methods that don't involve manual removal, here are a few natural alternatives that don't involve chemicals:
Mulch your gardens
Weeds need sunlight to germinate. So, spread a nice layer of mulch, whether that's compost, wood chip or straw, to around 60mm thick to stop a lot of your weeds from coming up. Mulch is excellent for the health of your garden in general, so it's a win-win!
Make a natural weed-killing cocktail
Head to your pantry and get some vinegar and salt. Mix a couple of tablespoons of salt to a bottle of vinegar, and you've got an instant cocktail to kill weeds! Once combined, pour or spray over the weeds you wish to treat. Some people add a little bit of dish soap to their cocktail mix, which acts as a surfactant and, therefore, will decrease the likelihood of the treatment not being adequately absorbed by the weed. Be careful not to get any of it on plant life you want to live, though, as this cocktail will not discriminate and promises to ruin anything it comes into contact with!
Apply some boiling water
Here is a tip that requires no equipment and no trip to your local hardware store - plain and simple boiling water. Boil the kettle and pour on to the weeds; it's that easy. It's obviously going to be a lot more time consuming if you have a large area to do, but it's great for little weeds here and there. Keep in mind; you may need to complete some repeat applications for it to take effect.
Organic weed killer
If you're looking for a treatment that will cover a larger area of weeds, try organic weed spray. There are some great organic weed sprays on the market now, including Slasher, Nature's Way Organic Weed Killer and Bioweed. If you do choose to spray your weeds, these are the best way to go. Do some research to ensure you are selecting the spray that's best for you and the type of weeds you are treating.
There you have it, Ben Hayman's top tips to help battle your weed struggles! While weeds are a pest, it's not all bad news. As the weather warms up, everything springs to life, and your garden will begin to look better and better. On the downside, so will the weeds, and even though weeding can seem like a chore, pull up your sleeves, get out in the garden and enjoy the sun as you get started winning the war on these unwanted plants!