© Frances Michaels
Much as we may hate them, weeds have an ecological role to play in reclaiming degraded soils and
re-establishing damaged soil structure. Weeds are always present but only become a nuisance when conditions
allow them to become invasive.
Suggested Organic Strategies
- Try to avoid ever letting a weed go to seed. If you don't have time to pull it, at least remove the
flowering heads before seed is set.
- Try to do more mulching and less weeding. Always keep on hand a mulch supply.
- Weeds are a useful addition to compost heaps because of the diverse range of nutrients they contain but
only add them before the seed is ripe.
- Green manures can be used to smother persistent weeds, such as couch grass. Good choices for weed
- When weeding or starting a new garden area always try to start from an existing weed-free edge such as
a pathway and work out from there.
- Large areas can be dealt with effectively by 'sheet mulching'. This gets rid of grass and weeds without
back strain. Start with a generous distribution of organic fertiliser. Then simply use wet newspaper
(about 10 sheets thick) as your biodegradable weed mat. Soak the newspaper first; wetting it after placing
it on the ground doesn't work. Then top off with mulch, to cover the paper well. Over 8-12 weeks the grass
will decompose and you will have a weed-free garden area ready to plant.
- Consider using poultry in a moveable cage on a small area to clear weeds, move onto fresh ground as soon
as the surface is bare and mulch the cleared area.
avoid leaving the ground bare.
Growing a 'Living Mulch
' will help control weeds!
Slasher Weed killer
is a non-selective