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Keep on top of annual weeds

10 January 2014
Keep on top of annual weeds

Keep on top of annual weeds which have been popping up unnoticed in corners here and there over the winter period. These usually belong to a particularly persistent group of annual weeds which just don't know when to stop. Chickweed, groundsel, and bittercress grow right through the coldest months, especially now winters are warmer. Several generations of chickweed can set seed between October and March, quickly spreading across your plot while your back is turned, so to avoid a small problem becoming a major infestation you can't afford to drop your guard.

You can dig them up by hand, but they're not deep-rooted and running a hoe over the surface of the soil takes care of the worst of them – be especially careful around the emerging tips of spring bulbs, though. It's a job for a dry day if possible, so the greenery wilts on the surface of the soil; if the weather isn't co-operating, just collect the debris up for the compost heap. Doing the job now makes sure you aren't struggling to squeeze in the weeding when you're in the middle of the spring rush. And every time you do it you prevent a generation of new weeds setting seed, so you reap the rewards for months to come.