Weeding- how to spot and deal with those weeds as you dig!
If you are digging the plot weed it too. If you have a new plot or border to dig over that has been invaded with weeds it pays to know your enemy.
Here's a quick guide to dealing with those unwanted plants as you prepare the soil. It's been a mild winter so far, so do the job as soon as soil is workable and you'll end up with weed free soil that is ready to plant or sow into when spring arrives.
As you turn over the soil with a spade or fork remove any perennial weeds such as tap rooted dandelions or deep rooted nettles.
You can bury any annual weeds at the bottom of the trenches covering them as you dig; the annual leafy weeds will rot down and add nutrients to the soil. But don't bury perennial weeds or put them on the compost heap because unlike annual weeds perennial weeds can regrow easily from even tiny pieces of root.
Weeds to look out for: Docks and dandelions are easy to spot with their long, tapering tap roots, use a spade or special long bladed weeder to get them out. Our 5-in-1 Multi Trowel is a brilliant hand tool for extracting weeds, as well as all its other garden uses.
Bindweed (Convolvulus) has very brittle creamy coloured roots, they are easy to spot because they often coil and twist and the thick roots snap easily. Ground elder is similar and also spreads from the tiniest fragment so try not to break the roots of either of these tenacious perennial weeds!
Nettles have very distinctive sulphur-yellow fibrous, rather woody roots that form mats and travel a long way into the soil, they can snap too but they are easier to pull out of the soil.
Meadow grass is an annual weed that is easy to pull out or hoe but couch grass spreads from underground rootstocks and it can quickly invade the soil.
Don't overlook Buttercups they may be one of the easiest weeds to pull out but if you leave them they'll colonise beds and borders and lawns in double quick time. Their thin white roots are easy to spot, and if they get a foothold in the border they'll tangle through the roots of herbaceous plants and try to choke your favourites! Once you've uprooted them Let roots wilt and dry out completely before adding to the compost heap.