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Weeding advice

I did a long all-day job yesterday clearing a massive border that's populated with mature shrubs, of well grown weeds between the plants. Took me ages with a draw hoe, spade, rake and my trusty Mantis tiller. The thought occurred that there must be a quicker, more efficient way to have cleared this massive square footage, without affecting the existing shrubs and lawn edge, than I was doing? It was a joy to experience the wonderment of mother natures design, whereby brambles kept catching, nettles kept stinging, shallow roots and Ivy kept stopping my tiller ... what joy! For example, would a weed burner have saved any time/effort? Would sbk applied earlier save any time? I'd appreciate any thoughts and advice as i type this my whole body hurts :)

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  • PRO
    I do quite a few borders like this and have never found an easy shortcut that looks as good. I first go through and remove all brambles as I have a personal hate for them. I then tie back any roses which always seem to lie in wait for me and scratch me.
    I then start at one end and with just a spade I scrape the surface of the whole border removing large weeds as I go. I then go back and turn over usually with a spade again. I have never used and machinery on borders like this because I find them not precise enough and don't give them the desired effect. I am maybe old fashioned though learning from my father who was a gardener in the 1940s for the big posh houses round here that could and can afford the labour time.
  • Weeding is one of the many jobs i do every day.

    I dont do the hard manual way. I try not to hoe too much. Definately no turning of soil.

    Each time the soil is disturbed dormant seeds come up or go down to germinate. Hence constant return to the same sites doing the same job.

    I dont use poison because the shrubs can suffer or die.

    I may wet the ground a little or ask the owner to water the night before. Damp earth is better for weeding as the roots come out better when pulling. I pull out the weeds. I use tools of course for the deep tap roots. I very gently scrape the little weeds if I really must. But prefer to wait and let them grow a little then pull them out.

    Alternatively I hoe the area and then pack loads of bark onto the area. And I mean loads of bark. That can last for years and is weeds free area.

    • Cheers fellas, I appreciate the feedback :)
    • I don't use poison either - I use weedkiller. 

      If it's a big border I'd probably strim the weeds down low one visit (and blow them off the border onto the lawn to be collected with the mower), spray them the next, then buzz it all over with a reticulating hoe a couple of weeks later. Much quicker than a regular hoe. I'd rather be making money than wasting time on my hands and knees pulling out every little weed.

      • Not heard of a retiiculating hoe, can't find anything online either, would you happen to have a picture or other name it's known by please? Also appreciate the idea, love it, might try next time :)
      • Looks like it should be called an Oscillating Hoe   https://www.quickcrop.co.uk/product/oscillating-stirrup-hoe

        • I use the wolf cultiweeder attachment for the small amount of weeding I do, stirrup hoe on one side and cultivator on the other. Makes the soil look like I spent ages digging it over :-)

          • I have that one too. The smaller one for tight areas and the larger for the bigger areas.
            Love the fact I can use the handheld handles or the various longer handles I have in my van.
      • Agree with Dan here and do what he does................handweeding really is a last resort.

        • Thanks fellas as always. Yes I have and in fact used a push hoe, as I know it by that name, and I gotta say it was a lifesaver.
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