Weeding and pruning your garden: 3 expert tips

February 29, 2016

When caring for your plants, you want to do it properly to avoid the risk of damaging or causing them harm. Here are three tips to bear in mind before starting work in the garden.

Weeding and pruning your garden: 3 expert tips

1. Weeding

Weeds compete with garden plants for nutrients, light and water.

  1. You can prevent them from proliferating by installing ground cover, such as thyme or Roman chamomile, which will prevent the emergence of weeds.
  2. Hand weeding is the most effective method of putting an end to invasive weeds, especially perennials with rhizomatous roots such as the goutwort or ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria).
  3. Ripping off the parts above ground is not enough: you will need to dig up the entire root system.
  4. Don't leave weeds that have gone to seed on the compost, or you'll find that they have returned to your garden.
  5. If weeds are too invasive, cover the floor with a woven mulching fabric that allows air and water to pass. When planting, simply cut it with a knife or scissors. Once in place, cover it with a decorative mulch (like bark or gravel); and secure the borders with wire. Woven fabric is preferable to black polyethylene sheets, which prevent the soil from breathing.

2. What is an invasive plant?

Putting the right plant in the right place is not always easy: a hardy plant, able to withstand drought or survive in harsh conditions, may eventually invade the entire garden.

  • Make sure that the plant you intend to grow is not considered invasive. Consult the staff at your garden centre: they will tell you which plants are likely to be invasive in your region. From one region to another, the climatic conditions and soil types aren't necessarily favourable to the same plants.
  • Plant invasive plants propagated by their root system in pots (outdoors or buried in the ground) in order to contain their roots. Remove the flowers before seed formation, to prevent them being spread in the wind or by birds. Regularly prune the tips of plants such as mint and eliminate them by taking the necessary precautions.
  • If in any doubt about the invasiveness of a plant, check with an environmental protection association or horticultural society. If your garden is near farmland, talk to the farmer.

3. Pruning

Many aromatic plants like to be cut back each year by about a third.

  • They will benefit, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also because it causes the appearance of new buds.
  • Gardeners are generally advised to cut the stems of annuals and perennials after flowering.
  • That said, leave plants with edible seeds (like coriander, dill and fennel) to complete their growth cycle.

As for plants that aren't grown for their flowers, pinching off the buds promotes the growth of the foliage.

Tree branches need only need to be pruned if touching, as this can weaken the bark and encourage diseases or pests, or if they are too close together, which prevents access to light and air circulation.

  • For lower branches, use a small handsaw.
  • For large branches, call in the professionals. Always protect your eyes from flying sawdust .
  • For regular sizes, invest in a good pair of secateurs. For larger branches, opt for anvil secateurs with an ergonomic handle. If you take good care of your tools, they will last for years.

You now know all of the secrets to do with weeding, pruning your plants and keeping a tidy garden. You're ready to put this advice into practice and get started with confidence!

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