What is a weed? Generally, a weed is more often than not a plant that’s growing in the wrong place. So, if you’ve got unwanted weeds growing in your garden borders, it’s time to take them out! Now is a great time to carry out some maintenance on your beds and borders to keep your garden looking and growing at its best.

In a recent video, our friend Martin of Pots & Trowels imparts some of his hoeing and hand weeding wisdom. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the advice you need to keep your garden borders clear and weed-free as we move into the colder months.

How to hand weed garden borders

  • If you’re dealing with bigger weeds, then hand weeding them out is quick and easy. Once you’ve located a weed you want to get rid of, it’s important to remove the whole root and not just chop away the growth above the soil, as you run the risk of the weed growing back again from the leftover roots.
  • Grab your gardening hand fork (our Bamboo Weeding Fork is great for this) to help fork out the whole weed with its roots intact altogether.
  • If you’ve got tougher weeds with a deeper tap root, say for example thistles, or weeds in a tighter, more awkward space then the Darlac 5-in-1 Trowel is perfect for levering in, chopping through the roots and taking care of them.
  • By removing the weeds you’ll create space for your plants to grow, without them having to compete with the surrounding weeds that may be smothering the ground and stealing nutrients and water.

How to control weeds with a garden hoe

  • Martin also recommends regularly hoeing using a Dutch hoe or push hoe for weeding smaller weeds in beds and borders. The idea behind using a hoe for weeding is that it chops the weeds with its cutting blades, which slice through the soil, cut through the roots and disturb weed seeds that are germinating as you work through your beds and borders.
  • Use the hoe in a cutting action along about 1cm below the surface of the soil to cut through weeds and loosen them off. If you’re standing on your borders then be sure to always work backwards, that way you won’t walk over where you’ve just hoed and risk pushing any seedlings back into the soil.
  • It’s best to hoe on a sunny day so that when you chop the weeds they will sit on the surface and wither away in the sun.
  • If you come across any bigger weeds while you’re working your borders then it’s best to still remove them by hand as you go, as if you leave them to sit on top of the damp soil there may be a chance that they’ll root again.
  • By disturbing the soil surface not only are you controlling any existing weeds that are there, but if you do this on a warm, sunny day and then get a period of prolonged dry weather, the surface of the soil will dry out and create what is known as a dust mulch.
  • Dust mulching is an old technique that Victorian gardeners used to use that involves having damper soil below with a thin layer – maybe an inch or so – of dry soil on the top where you’ve disturbed it with a hoe. The weed seeds can’t germinate in that dry soil as there’s not enough moisture, but it also acts as like a blanket over the damp soil and prevents it from evaporating and being lost. Assuming you’ve had some rain recently (it is the UK after all), there will most likely be some moisture in your soil, so by hoeing it now you can dry off the surface to conserve the moisture below and control weeds at the same time.
  • Using a hoe is also useful if you have any mobility issues, as it means you don’t have to kneel and can work from a standing position.

Where to Buy Darlac Tools

Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre, or you can buy selected products direct online from our website. Find your local Darlac stockist here.

If you enjoyed this blog post and the Pots & Trowels video, be sure to subscribe to Pots & Trowels on YouTube and to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for weekly practical videos all about gardening.

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