Gardeners' World: Expert says gardens are 'under attack'
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Any gardener has had to tackle weeds at some point, and while the errant plants which grow between paving stones and in borders can be easy to tackle, fighting weeds in your lawn can be tricky. The issue is getting rid of weeds without damaging the grass, as some weedkillers can damage or discolour grass. You can craft your own weedkiller out of white vinegar and water, however, this won’t discriminate and will kill everything in its path – grass included.
A wide range of weeds can pop up in our lawns, from daisies to clover, creeping thistle to silverweed and even moss.
Some may take a quick treatment and be banished for life, however, others can grow in year after year.
Perennial weeds like dandelions can return each year from their roots, and distribute new seeds.
So how do you tackle weeds in your lawn without damaging the grass? Read on for some top tips.
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Corn gluten meal
One effective weedkiller which won’t damage grass is corn gluten meal.
While you may not spot this product in your everyday supermarket – you can buy it online for around £5.
Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of the corn milling process and prevents new weeds from growing.
This natural weed killer prevents the weeds from germinating and then growing into plants.
Corn gluten meal is safe for the soil, adds nitrogen and is also safe for use around pets.
While this time-consuming method may not be everyone’s first choice, it is very effective and makes sure your grass is left in tip-top condition.
This method is the most effective against early weeds, preventing them from developing deep roots or spreading seeds.
For the best technique, push a sharp spade or specialist weed pulling tool in a diagonal motion towards the centre of the plant and loosen the soil around it.
Then pull the weed upwards, while still using the tool around the base.
Once the weed has been removed, add some compost to the affected soil and sprinkle grass seed over.
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Store-bought weed killers
If you need a more heavy-duty approach, you can buy weedkillers which target the weed and don’t damage the grass.
Products like Weedol and Resolva are available from most garden centres and online and kill weeds without hurting your lawn.
These weedkillers come in concentrate or ready to use sprayers.
Once dry they are both pet and child safe, and prices start from £5.95.
One of the best ways to stop weeds growing in your lawn is to keep on top of your grass and soil health.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) advises regularly “feeding, aerating and scarifying” your lawn as this “will encourage the grass to be more vigorous and so make it more difficult for the weeds”.
The RHS also says to:
Remove rosette-type weeds, such as dandelion, daisy and plantain, with a handfork.
Dig out weeds resistant to weedkillers in autumn; and re-turf or re-seed.
Rake over and then mow to discourage creeping weeds such as speedwells, white clover, silverweed and sorrels.
Apply garden lime to acid soils in the winter. Dress with lime at 50g per sq m (1½oz per sq yd) to deter weeds such as sorrels and field woodrush.
Avoid close mowing, particularly with parsley piert and pearlwort, as this can weaken the grass and allow the weeds in.
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