‘Best’ method to kill winter weeds – ‘tried and tested’ hacks

How to remove weeds and moss from lawns

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“It doesn’t matter what time of year you happen upon the ‘to-do’ list of any gardener, more often than not you will see the word ‘weeding’ within that list of jobs to be done,” self-confessed ‘gardening addict’ Joe Harrison (@Grow_with_joe) told Express.co.uk.

“You may think that due to the cold and uninviting weather conditions you can gleefully cross this job off that never-ending list during winter.

“Unfortunately, those weeds are a hardy bunch some of which will require attention even during the winter months.”

Although the drop in temperature might be unfavourable to some plants, this isn’t the case for weeds. Joe, who is a Bioscapes biodiversity ambassador explained: “Winter weeds such as Docks, Common Chickweed, Bittercress, Shepherds Purse and Lamium will all thrive throughout winter and can take over if left unattended.

“Weeds which appear unannounced can look unsightly. They are extremely tough, vigorous, and determined plants which are in direct competition with the more welcome plants in your garden.

“They want the same things your flowers, grass or edibles require – light, space to grow, water and soil nutrients and will stop at nothing to get them which includes starving, choking, and stifling neighbouring plants. So, it’s a good idea to keep them under control where possible.”

While there are many chemical pesticides available that promise to get rid of weeds in a flash, gardening experts often advise against them for the sake of your garden’s health.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) “wants everyone to reduce their reliance on pesticides to better protect the insects that benefit our gardens and protect the wider ecosystem”, and recommends using alternatives wherever possible.

Joe explained: “There is a myriad of different DIY non-pesticide methods you can use to keep those weeds at bay.”

These include both preventative measures and homemade weed killers. If you are lucky enough to get a head start on weeds, Joe recommends creating “weed barriers”.

He said: “To stifle a few of those winter weeds from appearing you can create weed barriers using a thick layer of mulch or cardboard on your beds.”

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Alternatively, there are a couple of household ingredients which can work wonders to smother growing weeds.

“These include adding vinegar or lemon juice diluted in water to a spray bottle to douse the unwelcome plants or just simply by using boiling water,” explained Joe.

Vinegar is often recommended as a natural weed killer thanks to its high percentage of acetic acid, which works to dehydrate the weed. The citric acid in lemon juice works in a similar way.

However, gardeners should use homemade weed killers with caution, especially if weeds have cropped up near other flowers and plants.

Joe explained: “I must stress that whilst these methods are tried and tested in the destruction of all weeds, the vinegar or lemon solution will also kill any other plant in touching distance of the spray so should be used with care.

“It’s also worth noting that boiling water, in addition to killing the weeds, will also have an adverse effect on the soil’s biodiversity.”

Instead, it might be better to take a more organic, hands-on approach to weeds.

“In my experience, the best way to kill off weeds is by removing them with garden tools,” said Joe.

“I realise this is not much of a ‘hack’ and is almost certainly more laborious, but it’s a winner in my book.

“A sharp garden hoe can be used to remove annual weeds, with the more stubborn deep-rooted perennial weeds benefiting more from the use of a garden fork or weed knife.”

Joe Harrison is a BioScapes biodiversity ambassador and has been working with them as they have developed their biodiversity-promoting planters – WildPod, Nature Ark and BioCube. BioScapes offers a range of specialist wildlife-attracting planters that contain houses for hedgehogs, butterflies, bees and more. They have been designed to quickly boost biodiversity in any residential, educational, community or commercial setting.

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