Cultivate with Caution
If you water the entire garden, open spaces will become the perfect breeding ground for weeds. Deprive weeds of water by using a soaker hose to add moisture just where it’s needed – at the base of garden plants. By only watering these areas, you narrow down where weeds may pop up.
How to Prevent Weeds
You can’t avoid tilling or hand cultivating when creating a new garden bed. It’s the best way to aerate the soil and incorporate organic material. What you don’t see is the buried weed seeds lying dormant just under the surface of the soil. Moving them to the top of the soil wakes them up and boosts them into germination. Once you’ve established a new garden bed, avoid unnecessary tilling and cultivating unless absolutely necessary.
A weed is simply a plant growing where it’s not wanted. After all, one person’s wildflower is another person’s weed.
Weeds compete with grass and garden plants for space, light, water and soil nutrients. Not only do they look bad and have the ability to take over quickly, they’re also the perfect hosts for disease and insects. Before you know it, one weed can turn into many little thieves robbing your plants of their health.
On very weedy sites I recommend delaying sowing for up to two years to ensure that you can ‘bastard fallow’ the ground.
While there is no need to plough, total control of the weeds described is recommended. Power harrow in summer 3 to 4 times per year across the surface. Or cut the meadow very often this year to weaken the weeds, rotavate in late summer when dry, keep we free over the winter and power harrow in following summer. Weed killer can assist.
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EXISTING_VEGETATION (see web for full details)
Before sowing please clear the site of any weeds such as
No need to plough or rotavate: If the soil that you intend to sow wildflowers on has only got grass and no weeds it is best not to turn or cultivate the soil.
Instead kill the grass and remove the dead foliage, then rake or harrow the upper surface of the soil, do not turn it, then sow the seed. This method stop weed seeds in the soil from being turned up into the light into which they will germinate.
Dock Dock page < difficult to eradicate in early years, if infestation is controlled, by killing plants and stopping flowering/seed set, dock will cease to be a problem, a grassy meadow will help control dock. Dock sets seed whilst in flower.
Creeping Buttercup < difficult to eradicate, if Creeping Buttercup this may re-colonize the meadow, especially on your soils. A specific cut is required when Creeping Buttercup is in full flower. Do this in the early years even if it means sacrificing wildflowers.
Nettles < difficult to eradicate, regular cutting will remove nettles.
Couch Grass < very difficult to eradicate, remove as much root material before sowing, spot and weed wipe control after sowing, hand pull or
Thistle < depends on species> Can be attractive, will become a nuisance if uncontrolled.
Bracken Bracken Fern page < difficult to eradicate, regular cutting will remove bracken, clearance of roots will be essential. Meadow management must include cutting or burning to control.
Reeds < very difficult to eradicate, a mixture will be recommended that requires cutting to control this weed.
Gorse < difficult to eradicate, a mixture will be recommended that requires cutting to control this weed. Pull seeding as they emerge.
Briars, Bramble, Blackberry < Regular cutting once or twice a year will eradicate this species. Briars are good for wildlife cover.
Site specific weeds < Species which are site specific and have a strong footfold will most likely be native to the site, we recommend working with them, in most cases, regular cutting will control and favour grass and other species.