Manual weed control


Crowning is one of the methods used for removal of weeds by hand. See also digging out, below.

Crowning is suitable for seedlings, herbaceous weeds, and many grasses.

Before starting work, remove and bag seeds and fruit and place in the bin.

If the weed has a tap root, push a narrow trowel or long knife deep into the ground beside the root. Loosen the soil. Work round the root, then work the plant out gently.

Many plants which will not regrow from their roots (eg many grasses) can be crowned: Hold leaves and stems together, and use a knife to cut through all the roots below the ‘crown’.

Ensure there is no erosion of cleared soil by wind or water, e.g. by mulching.

Digging out

Using herbicides to control weedy plants can cause minimal disturbance and less germination of seedlings. But if you have the energy and the space in your garden you can almost always dig instead, making sure that you remove all the parts of the plant from which it can regrow.

Ensure there is no erosion of cleared soil by wind or water, e.g. by using mulch to protect exposed soil.

  • Seedlings and small plants may be pulled by hand when the soil is moist.
  • Plants with bulbs, corms or tubers (eg Montbretia, Madeira Vine) may need deep digging to ensure complete removal. Bag bulbs, corms and tubers and send to the tip; do not compost.
  • Removal of well established Agapanthus will require a mattock, or even a crowbar. Try cutting through large clumps with an axe.

Illustrations: Norman Yeend and Virginia Bear