Gardening expert details best way to ‘combat weeds’ using a ‘physical barrier’

Homebase outlines how to control garden weeds

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Weeds can return to our gardens year after year if they’re not stamped out quickly. While it may be tempting to head straight for a chemical weed killer, there are some more natural methods that could oust pesky weeds without harming your other plants. In a YouTube video for Homebaseuk, a gardening expert shared some tips for “combatting” weeds.

The video, which was published in April 2012, saw the former Head Gardener at Holland Park in London, Stella Fear, demonstrate some of her techniques.

The gardening expert explained how to control annual weeds using a “cultural control”.

They said: “The best way to combat weeds with mulching is to combine an artificial membrane with an organic one.

“Buy some weed membrane from a garden centre and cut it to the size of your plot.

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“Cover this with plenty of bark chips or other organic mulch to create a complete physical barrier to weeds that keeps the soil warm, moist and looks attractive.

“You can cut holes into the membrane so that you can still plant into the bed.”

Mulches are made from dead plant material including materials like compost, leaves, bark or grass clippings.

Shredded newspaper, wool, animal manure (vegetarian) and sawdust can also be used.

You could use inorganic mulch which includes rocks or gravel.

However, be warned, these can include plastic sheeting and rubber mulch.

Cultural control is also known as “organic control” which means not using chemicals to kill weeds.

Organic measures rely on killing or restricting weeds by using physical action.

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This can be anything from removing them manually using a trowel or fork to smothering them.

Other methods include burning them or using barriers like mulch.

Hoeing is also a great option for annual weeds if you don’t want to use chemicals.

Other physical barriers include edging boards or strips which can be used to edge lawns and grass paths to prevent unwanted grass growth.

There are also root barriers which are actually put in the soil to stop perennial weeds from spreading.

If this sounds like too much work, you can use ground covers or landscaping fabrics over recently cleared soil to suppress re-growth.

You may have to leave the soil covered for a while to ensure the weeds don’t return.

Some coverings include spun materials, woven materials and plastic sheeting.

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