Weeds: you can’t leave it alone?
Weeds are the eternal problem of every gardener. And although everything in nature is logical and logical, we cannot reconcile with their existence on our site - they prevent cultural plants from living. Therefore, we devote the lion's share of labor and time in the country to weed control. Perhaps this is the most difficult and unpleasant physical work that has to be performed on the beds or in the garden. Which way is better? And is it really necessary to achieve sterile cleanliness in the area?
- About weeds and weeds
- Traditional weed control methods
- Organic Weed Control Methods
- Fight or get along?
About weeds and weeds
It is difficult to give an exact definition of what weeds are. We used to call all plants that did not grow in their place. And even last year’s siderat, arbitrarily growing on a bed next to a seeded parsley or salad, this year we perceive as a weed. Raspberries, which climbs where they do not ask, is also a weed? It seems to be a cultivated plant, but so arrogant that in the wrong place to bring it out is more difficult than wheat grass. Cultural species that emerge on the site without our blessing, it is customary to call weeds.
But what is considered classic weeds? As a rule, this group of plants includes wild-growing species that are distinguished by their special vitality and aggressiveness in the development of new territories. Their strength is provided by the following factors:
- Weeds are fertile envy - they form a lot of seeds;
- Their seeds are extremely tenacious - they retain viability, staying for several years in the ground;
- Propagated by all possible means, including vegetative.
Unfortunately, cultivated plants do not have even a tenth of the viability of weeds. Leaving them to grow in mutual company with each other means relying on the mercy of weeds, which, for sure, will not leave any chance for our pets. Therefore, the "holy war" of summer residents with weeds has no end, no edge. And the victory of gardeners in it is always temporary.
Traditional weed control methods
“Holy War” is more from the story of adherents of traditional agricultural practices in weed and weed control. These methods have been unchanged for many decades and boil down to the following:
- Mowing the ground part of the weeds, which leads to inhibition of root growth;
- Herbicide treatment.
Dig - do not dig
There are heated debates between supporters of natural farming and traditional farming over the benefits and harms of constantly digging a garden. The first claim that, firstly, it is very difficult physically, and, secondly, it violates the structure of the soil, which can then be restored only by constant fertilizing and loosening, which, in fact, is done by summer residents, plowing the garden in spring.
Fans of organic farming offer their methods of weed control, eliminating the heavy physical labor of a shovel, we will talk about them later. But all these methods are ineffective when it comes to virgin soil, on which for years nothing has been growing, except wheatgrass, dumplings and nettles. The top layer of the earth, consisting of weed roots alone, will not take any plane cutter. A much better option is to use for digging forks. This will minimize the rhizome dissection into many parts, as a result of which the weeds spread even faster.
A more modern mechanical method of getting rid of weeds is the work of a tractor, walk-behind tractor or cultivator. Such a technique significantly reduces the physical costs of a gardener (you don’t have to wave a shovel!), But it complicates the process of collecting weed roots several times.
All the roots, in any case, you still will not choose, so the summer season with a chopper for weeding is provided to you. And for most summer residents of the post-Soviet space there is nothing special about this. Those who can not or do not want to spend six months without unbending, weeding out weeds, turn to another method of traditional agriculture - the use of herbicides.
Herbicides to herbicides - discord!
Modern realities are such that we use the products of the chemical industry hourly, if not every second, hardly thinking about it. But when it comes to herbicides, the vast majority of those who prefer natural methods, as well as people who do not grow anything but only consume, will say that it is “horror as bad”.
But if you look, then this "horror" is not so scary, and people who claim this can not remember the name of any of the modern herbicides. Most “naturalists” and people who advocate the use of “pure” fruits and vegetables do not want to know that modern herbicides are not at all the same ones that were used 20-30 years ago. Most of the old drugs have long been discontinued, and new high-quality herbicides in skillful hands and the right doses do no harm to the environment or the quality of the products grown. And to be honest, any detergents we use daily harm the environment much more seriously.
Conventionally, all modern herbicides can be divided into two groups: those that are applied to the soil and, being absorbed through the roots of plants, suppress weed growth, gradually destroying them, and those that are sprayed directly onto the green mass of weeds and get to the roots through the leaves.
The former are more aggressive, and even manufacturers themselves often do not recommend them. Firstly, they have the property of being stored in the ground for several months, which means they can also influence the cultivated plants grown on it. Secondly, if you use them from year to year, then the earth, in the end, will cease to “digest” them and become practically unsustainable for many cultivated plants.
The second group of herbicides that act through the leaves on the roots of weeds is much more interesting. Once in the environment, such herbicides are destroyed in a couple of days, without significantly affecting either the state of the soil or cultivated plants growing next to weeds.
Of course, to use herbicides, like any other chemistry, you need to carefully, strictly adhering to the recommendations of the manufacturers regarding the dosage. If you can do without them, do it, but in some cases they are simply irreplaceable, for example, if you need to tidy up an abandoned garden a few hundred square meters in size in one season.
Organic Weed Control Methods
The main difference between weeds and classics works on weed control is that organic farming methods are mainly aimed at preventing the emergence, that is, preventing weeds, and not at quickly getting rid of them, as is customary in traditional farming.
How are they “fighting” weeds in organic farming?
A lot of natural materials can be used as mulch: mowed grass, including weed, sawdust, tree bark, needles, etc. Handy tools are also suitable: roofing material, slate, polyethylene, etc. (but here again the question arises of "naturalness"). Having covered such a mulch with a certain plot of land, by the end of the season it is really possible to get rid of the annual weeds present there. Wheat grass and other perennials mulch will not immediately take. But after using it, they are easily pulled out of the ground by hand.
Using mulch could really be called the ideal and safest solution. If not for a couple of “buts.” Firstly, when using organic mulch to kill weeds, it is important that its layer is at least 10 cm thick. Imagine how many sawdust you need to bring to the site to mulch at least two hundred parts of soil? And if we are talking about a hectare?
Secondly, pests do not disdain under the mulch, which before use could not bother you - slugs, mice, snails ... And getting rid of them by natural means (without using chemicals) is even harder than weeds.
"Naturalists" argue that weeds can appear only where the "walks" the earth. And it's true - the less empty land, the less weed. Do not want to constantly fight weeds, do not leave empty land! Partially this problem is solved by mulch or sowing of siderates in the aisles, as well as new crops (the bed was cleared under the onion - there were sown siderata or fast-growing greens). In addition, compact landing can help. If you correctly approach this issue, weeds simply will not have anywhere to grow.
A method in which weeds die under the film under the influence of sunlight. It is carried out before germination of cultivated plants.
This method is used universally in both traditional agricultural technology and organic farming. However, firstly, not all weeds can be mowed, but only in areas where crop plants have zero probability, that is, on undeveloped ones. Another problem is that some weeds, after cutting off the aerial parts, spread even more aggressively with rhizomes, for example, the Syrian quail.
Thirdly, this method really works, but very slowly. If during the season at least four to five times the weeds are mowed at a certain place (chickweed, wheat grass, sedge, nettle, etc.), preventing these plants from forming seeds, then, indeed, this site will eventually turn into a no less attractive the lawn. Only, unfortunately, this will not happen soon, or rather, in three or four years. Three to four years of regular mowing - and your absolutely “organic” lawn is ready! Are you ready to wait so much? And, perhaps, still use herbicides at least once?
Prevention against the “war”
On well-groomed, used for many years under beds, flowers and garden crops, the seeds of malicious weeds are introduced by the owners themselves. This happens when the mowed grass with seeds is placed in the compost and they are not allowed to ripen completely. Contributes to the infection of soil by weeds and the use of fresh manure, which is rich in weed seeds.
Fight or get along?
From the foregoing, we can conclude that there is no panacea for weed control. Each method of both traditional and organic farming deserves attention, but also has its weaknesses. A smart gardener must draw conclusions independently, based on his own realities and the tasks to be solved.
One thing is for sure: weed control should not be an end in itself. Moreover, many modern studies prove that cultivated plants grow healthier in areas with fewer weeds than in perfectly clean beds.
Weeds protect our pets from the hot sun and drafts and can even be used as siderates. The main thing is not to let these plants produce flower stalks, that is, to mow them or pull them out in time. The green mass of weeds can serve as a good mulch (avoid only plants propagating by division - purslane, creeping buttercup, cactus buds, etc.). However, these weeds can also be beneficial. Based on them, liquid green fertilizer is prepared, which will serve to stimulate the growth of cultivated plants.
In general, in nature there is nothing superfluous and useless. And this also applies to weeds. Take nettles. Weed? The most that neither is. But how valuable! This is a real treasure of the necessary trace elements! Nettle will benefit not only your plants in the garden and the garden, but also yourself, so let it grow in a secluded corner of your garden. Moreover, what year have you been uselessly trying to expel her from there ...