‘Stop killing weeds’ Gardeners urged to allow ‘common weeds’ and lawns to grow by minister

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Former gardening presenter turned environment minister Rebecca Pow urged British gardeners to only cut their lawns every three to four weeks and stop killing weeds. Ms Pow’s plea is a bid to help the UK’s carbon emissions reach net zero by 2050. The MP for Taunton Deane in Somerset was interviewed on the Daily Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast earlier today.

During the interview, Ms Pow said the weed is simply a “plant in the wrong place”.

She continued: “We have to open our minds to a different thought process on what weeds are.

“A lot of these plants are really beneficial to insects and very much part of the rich diversity of life.

“So that is just a different way of thinking.”

Some of the most common weeds found in gardens across the country include dandelions, nettles and hairy bittercress.

Ms Pow was supported by The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) which said the common weeds are actually good to eat.

Guy Barter, RHS chief horticulturist, said common weeds often grow where they are not wanted, and often return year after year despite our best efforts to kill them.

Rather than eliminating the “plentiful supply”, Mr Barter said we should use them.

Weeds that live for several years in our gardens are usually perennial weeds.

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They often have long, well-established roots that can store nutrients, allowing them to survive.

Meanwhile annual weeds have a lifecycle that they complete within a year or less.

Annual weeds like bittercress germinate, grow, flower and then release their own seeds before dying off.

The seeds then germinate bringing back more weeds throughout the year.

Ms Pow, who has previously worked for BBC Radio 4, also urged Britons to cut their lawns less frequently – a method that has also been expressed by Gardeners’ World lead host, Monty Don.

Monty said in an interview with the Radio Times earlier this year that cutting grass “burns lots of fossil fuel”, makes a lot of noise and is the “most injurious thing” you can do to your garden’s wildlife.

Experts have claimed that allowing grass to grow also absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases oxygen.

Ms Pow said she leaves patches of her lawn to grow wild which allows a range of other plants to grow.

She said: “I have got one particular area and literally within two and a half weeks you could see a whole range of other plants growing – clovers, yarrow, all coming into flower and growing there in our grass sward.

“They look really pretty. And you can definitely see the insects being attracted to them.”

The Tory MP advised gardeners to leave their lawns to grow for “three to four weeks” or allow them to grow at different lengths.

She suggested mowing pathways into the grass if you’re worried about how your lawn looks.

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Ms Pow is not alone in her plea to stop gardeners killing weeds.

Mr Plant Geek AKA Michael Perry, Rowse Honey’s gardening expert, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the benefits of allowing weeds to grow.

He said: “Why would you pull up weeds? They’re great for pollinators.”

Mr Plant Geek also said you can use dandelions in a sale or grind down the roots to make coffee.

The Rowse gardening expert explained: “If you put a dandelion in a box under a pot in the dark, you’ll actually get really tender foliage which is great for salads.

“You can grind down the roots to make coffee as well!”

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