Call James on 07973 796 406 for further information

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Weed or Wildflowers

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We use the term “weed” quite freely but what it really is, is just the wrong plant, in wrong place, at the wrong time. One persons weed is another person’s favourite wild flower and weeding is complete dependant on what plants you are trying to cultivate.

Every square inch of your plot is home to hundreds of dormant weed seeds nestled in the ground. Only those in the top couple of inches of the soil will get enough light to germinate and grow; digging and planting brings these hidden weed seeds to the surface. Every time you turn a patch of ground you will expose these dormant seeds to sunlight and encourage germination. Try to only ‘open up’ (dig) a patch of land when you really need to, it is important to then immediately fill the patch of turned ground with plants and mulch to stop germination of the weed seeds you will have disturbed.

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Weeds in Wildflower Meadows and Flowering Borders

The warmer wetter weather is perfect growing conditions for grasses and weeds, sadly it makes growing wildflowers harder as the weeds and grasses will take over without quick action. Weed seeds germinate at lower temperatures than most flowering plants and set seed very quickly. It’s important to recognise and remove weed seedlings at this early stage, so you can eliminate them without accidentally removing your carefully sown flowers!

When preparing a patch to seed wildflowers (or flowering borders) to give the flowers the best chance you need to ensure the seed bed is ‘dead’, meaning that no weed seeds will germinate, as weeding a wildflower patch can be problematic. Ideally on larger patches prepare the ground with a standard herbicide/ weed killer and then rotorvate the site to pull all the weed shoots and seeds to the surface, we recommend that the process is repeated 3 – 4 times to fully ensure your grass and flower seeds get the best start in life. You can hand turn the site with a fork if you don’t have access to a rotorvator but this can be very labour intensive on larger patches of land!

If you are not keen on the use of herbicides you can do this process without it, however you need to ensure the rotorvation is done 5-8 times and you will need to manually remove seedlings and shoots.

Once the meadow or boarder is germinated targeted weeding will still be required, but by preparing the ground effectively you will have a lot less to do through the summer months.

 

Weeds in Paddocks

Wet winters wreak havoc on grazing paddocks and this year in many cases has left pony and livestock fields with large patches of ‘poaching’ (muddy turned over waterlogged land). These areas are highly susceptible to weeds and without quick action will end up covered. To avoid the germination of weeds in paddocks the ground will need to be harrowed (raked); harrowing will remove dead material, shallow growing weeds and aerate the soil.

If the ground is heavily poached it will also need rolling. However, rolling the ground whilst still very wet will form a crust of heavy soil, not only will no weeds grow but also no grass will recover and your paddock will become patchy. The ground once rolled will need to be aerated and harrowed and then reseeded. I would recommend ‘over seeding’ in grazing paddocks as this will crowd out the growth of weeds.

Horses will not graze soiled areas of their paddock, it is important to pick up the horse’s droppings as you will end up with parasites and patches of un-grazed land. These patches will become over run by Docs, Dandelions and Ragwort which is poisonous to horses. Mowing your paddock regularly through the summer months will prevent weeds from shedding further seeds.

For areas of persistent weeds in paddocks we suggest using a targeted herbicide to avoid regrowth.

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Weeds in Lawns

As with paddocks lawns often become muddy and waterlogged over winter and can end up with patches of poaching, not on the scale of a pony paddock but this can still leave open patches of ground susceptible to weed growth. As with paddocks, aerating and raking the soil to remove weed seeds prior to reseeding bare patches will assist with regrowth.

When it comes to removing weeds from flourishing lawns in spring and summer, the most direct tactic is still the simplest, pull them out by hand. If you have lots of weeds but are short on weeding time, focus on pulling the weeds that are about to set seed. Not allowing plants to reproduce is a key strategy in winning the war on weeds.

It is worth noting however, that in all this weeding, weeds are actually really great for wildlife. They provide valuable food and habitats, so if you don’t really need to remove the weeds, it might not be as aesthetically pleasing, but it’s far better for biodiversity in your garden to leave them where they are.

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James Gillies MIgrAM

Suite C, Unit 1, Eagle Industrial Estate, Witney, Oxon, OX28 4YR

Phone: 07973  796 406
Email: Send me and email

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