Many of you have probably expended a great deal of elbow grease, pain and suffering trying to remove certain weeds wedged between paving bricks or deep-rooted in the lawn. You may be devastated to know that the definition of a weed is not some nasty indestructible enemy, but simply “a plant growing in the wrong place” – can you believe it!
Many see them as the enemy, so let’s look at how you can eliminate them with a simple military-like strategy:
- Surprise element: Firstly, always act immediately. There is an old saying that goes “one year’s seeds, seven years weeds”. This little expression is talking about when a weed is able to scatter its seed, you will probably have weed seeds germinating in that area for the next seven years. If you are unable to remove it immediately, make sure that any flowers or seed pouches are removed since you don’t want the seed to be dispersed before you treat it.
- Surveillance: Identifying the weed will almost certainly assist you in finding the correct treatment to eliminate the weed. You can ask for advice at your local Garden Centre, or online at www.lifeisagarden.co.za. If you can’t identify the weed, determine whether it has grass-like leaves or if is a broad-leaf plant.
- Attack: Applying the correct treatment should be the easiest part of the solution, but this is often where many gardeners don’t read the instruction booklet carefully and often make the common mistake of doubling or tripling up on the suggested dosage. This can cause especially hormonally based weed killers to be ineffective, and others may burn surrounding plants and damage the environment. Millions of Rand are spent on trials and tests on these weed killers as well as environmental impact studies, which can take up to five years before the products are registered. Therefore, follow dosage rates and instructions accurately.
- Further attacks: Inspect treated weeds and where necessary, re-apply the treatment if the weed is not looking grey, wilted or shriveled two weeks after application.
Extra tips when using herbicides (chemical weed killers):
- We hope that you have first tried other alternative and/or organic control solutions possible, dear gardeners.
- Read and adhere to all safety instructions. Keep away from children and pets.
- Lawns often need to be actively growing otherwise they may be damaged by some of the stronger herbicides. Apply in the growing season and try to boost the lawn and weed with fertilizer two weeks before your herbicide application. The weed will not absorb the herbicide if it is struggling to grow and the lawn will recover more quickly when growing actively.
- If you have a broad-leafed plant lawn like daisy lawn or wonder lawn, rather than a traditional grass lawn, be sure to mention this when asking advice on weed killers.
- In garden beds, you may have to paint the chemical onto certain weeds for the plants around it not to be affected.
- When applying non-selective herbicides, especially on paving, be careful that there is no run-off into the beds because this type of herbicide will kill any other plants. In the same way, do not spray on a windy day where spray may drift and harm other plants, animals, children, and insects.
- Spray early in the day and not in the midday heat. In the heat of the day the herbicide can evaporate and or may burn the lawn.
- Gardening is so exciting, isn’t it? Equipped with all this knowledge, it’s time to have a peaceful, but victorious war against the weeds!