The warmer temperatures, longer hours of sunlight and occasional showers we get in the spring months are the perfect growing conditions for unwelcome weeds in driveways, patios, lawns and flowerbeds.
Keeping weeds at bay in springtime is a matter of prevention, cure, and proactive preparation for the seasons to come.
Here are some top tips to tackle weeds this spring across your lawn, beds and borders, and any paved parts of your outside space.
As grass starts to grow faster in the warmer months, you can mow the lawn more frequently, which cuts down any weeds and stops them from producing seeds.
Over time, this should reduce the number of weeds growing back in your lawn – a great long-term solution and a good way to keep a new turf lawn free from weeds too.
If mowing as a deterrent against weeds, make sure you have your clippings container attached to your mower, rather than letting the cut grass land on the lawn – this will help to catch and remove any weeds you’ve clipped.
Light mowing in early spring spurs the grass back into life after a dormant winter and can actually help to promote healthy growth, to keep your lawn looking lush throughout the summer.
If weeds are a common problem for your lawn, you may also want to think about reseeding to repair any over-weeded patches.
Adding a layer of mulch to your soil reduces the amount of sunlight that penetrates the surface, which in turn suppresses weed growth, and springtime is the perfect time to mulch your soil.
Mulch is often made of organic matter, such as old leaves or wood chips, and as these rot down they can add nutrients to the soil to feed the plants you do want to grow there. If your lawn mower has a detachable grass container, you can even use the clippings collected when lawn mowing in a process called grasscycling.
Non-biodegradable mulches such as slate chips, shingle and gravel also work to block the light, and can add a desirable aesthetic effect around the base of shrubs.
If you don’t mind a bit of elbow grease, a wire weeding brush is a cheap and handy accessory for tackling weeds that have taken root in nooks and crannies.
The stiff wire bristles can get into cracks between paving slabs or bricks, and with a quick scrub you can dislodge the weed right down to its roots.
Long handled weeding brushes give you even more leverage and are a handy solution if you have difficulty getting down to ground level, or you just don’t want to get dirty knees on your freshly washed jeans!
On hard surfaces where you can’t use a mower, a freshly boiled kettle can be incredibly useful to penetrate cracks and kill off weeds, roots and dormant seeds.
Remember, this is a fairly intense solution – don’t use it on surfaces that might be damaged by the hot water, in areas where you have plants you want to keep alive, or in places where you have ants and other insects you’d rather not harm.
If you’re confident there’s no damage to be done, then pouring a kettle of boiling water on weeds can be surprisingly satisfying, as well as one of the least-effort solutions for a weed-free driveway.
A spoonful of baking soda helps the weeding go down – sprinkle it directly on to the leaves of individual weeds and it will act as a phytotoxin, drawing moisture out of the plant and increasing the sodium level by an unsurvivable amount.
You can apply one teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to each weed, covering all of its foliage and concentrating on the stem and base.
Springtime is a good time of year to do this, because the occasional showers will leave weeds damp so the bicarbonate of soda sticks to them, and the rainfall should also wash away any remaining baking soda periodically, so it does not harm nearby desirable plants.
Baking soda is particularly useful on hard surfaces like patios, as you can sprinkle it into the cracks to suppress weeds as a medium-term solution. Avoid leaving it sprinkled on your paving slabs though, or you may get a white cloud-like discolouration the next time it rains.
White vinegar can also work well – spray it on to the weeds to be killed, taking care to protect your eyes and skin, and don’t breathe in the vapour.
If you’re lawn is already weed-infested, or patchy from over-weeding, you might like to consider laying new turf. Our gold standard turf always comes healthy and weed-free.
By using these simple methods and natural ingredients, you can stem the tide of weeds growing in your garden, for a lush green lawn of pure springy grass, as well as tidy flowerbeds and greenery-free patios this spring, summer and beyond!