Weeds fall into two categories: annual and perennial. The former are spread throughout your garden by seed, while the latter are propagated by both seed and creeping roots, and are trickier to get rid of. Dying down through the winter, only to re-emerge each spring, perennial weeds include brambles, nettles, thistle, buttercup, ragwort and couch grass.
Here we look at other common perennials and what can be done to control these troublesome weeds.
Dandelions are easily recognisable from their bright yellow flowers. They are common in lawns but also found on hard surfaces, peeping through cracks in pavements, driveways and other cultivated ground. They can be treated by digging them out as soon as they appear, taking care to remove every part as Dandelions can regenerate from small fragments of the root.
Ground Elder stems form beneath the surface around garden flowers. Although fast-growing and highly invasive compared to other perennials, it can be removed relatively easily. If you’re pulling Ground Elder out, don’t put the roots on the compost heap where they can re-establish. Laying a weed control fabric, such as Weedtex from the Growtivation Product That Works range of professional landscaping products, will help suppress Ground Elder in decorative garden borders. Bear in mind that Ground Elder seeds can still be blown in or dropped by birds and establish in your garden despite such preventative methods.
This formidable weed is so destructive that new legislation now covers its control and its presence must be stated if you’re selling a property where it exists. It’s a fast-spreading perennial with tall stems and deeply-penetrating rhizomes. Digging out Japanese Knotweed is possible but needs professional help and specialist disposal. It can be treated with weed killers, but it can take four seasons to destroy this way.
Bindweed is often seen in hedgerows, characterised by its twining stems, heart-shaped leaves and large white flowers. Its roots can penetrate down to five metres, making controlling it growth and spread very difficult if the right geotextile fabric is not in place to suppress it. Field bindweed produces seeds that can be blown into gardens and remain viable in the soil for several years. So even if you have taken measures to protect your garden against Bindweed by laying a protective membrane, you can’t eradicate perennial weeds like Bindweed altogether.
Field Horsetail, also known as Mare’s Tail, can spread quickly. If you notice it, plan to hoe the ground regularly and deeply as the creeping rhizomes can go down as deep as two metres. Hoeing helps to weaken its growth before it establishes and crowds out other plants. Horsetail infestations can be persistent, so a chemical weed killer might be appropriate over several years to completely eradicate it. In addition to a geotextile membrane, a weed-suppressing mulch can help to stave off the establishment of Horsetail if it invades your garden from neighbouring land.
To check which weed control fabric is most appropriate for perennial weeds in your garden, use the Growtivation Geo Fabric Product Selector or visit our Weed Control FAQ. Find out more about the Growtivation Product That Works range by downloading our Product Guide and your free copy of our Landscaping That Works guide to weed control and geotextile fabrics. Some weeds (including some listed above) require special measures in order to effectively suppress, including double layers of membrane and mulch or surface covering – details can be found in our guide.