Dandelion clock
Photo credit - Markus Bernet

At this time of the year the weeds are growing really well and need to be removed as soon as possible, particularly things like hairy bitter cress, shepherds purse, groundsel and other ephemeral weeds, (that is weeds with the ability to produce several generations in one season).  These plants have adapted really well and all have the ability to shed their seed and make literally thousands of new plants!  Remember the saying, one year’s seed, seven years weed!  Before you tackle other tasks on the allotment, make sure that you spend some time weeding.

There are several ways of addressing the problem; if they are just annual or ephemeral weeds then the use of the hoe is the best way.  Make sure the blade is sharp and then just slice the top off the weeds with a push and pull motion and then leave them to dry in the sun, as long as they have no seeds on them you will find they will soon disappear. 

Hand-pulling or hand-weeding with a fork is another option. Pull up annual weeds by hand before they set seed.

Perennial weeds should be dug out with as much root (or bulb) as possible, using a hand or border fork. Hand weeding is easiest on lighter soils and should only be attempted where it will not disturb the roots of garden plants. Further pulling may be necessary with persistent weeds such as bindweed or couch grass where small root sections left behind can re-grow into new plants. 

Weed knife and other weeding tools: A weed knife has a hooked end and is a useful tool for weeding between paving slabs and along path edging. Various other hooked, narrow-bladed or spiral-type tools are available for specific weeding jobs such as digging out dandelions on a lawn.

Cutting the weeds down in large weedy areas, to ground level over several years will weaken and even kill some weeds. This is best done with a strimmer .

You can also use a flame gun to burn off weeds between paving slabs. Use only when the foliage is dry and allow sufficient burn-time for deep-rooted weeds, such as dandelions, to be killed.

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