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There are roughly 2 sorts of weeds: annual and perennial weeds.


Annual weeds perform their life cycle (from flower to seed) within a single growing season. They spread throughout your garden by seed.


There are cold season weeds sprouting from autumn till spring which flower in late spring/early summer, and warm season weeds which start growing in spring through summer.


The only way to get control of annual weeds is to get rid of them before they go to seed again. Luckily annual weeds are very often shallow rooted and can be easily hand pulled or cut off with a hoe.


Some seeds remain dormant in the soil until ideal conditions present themselves and they germinate, so weeding is an ongoing process. If you can get in the habit of doing a little weeding each time you work in your garden, it won’t become an overwhelming task.


Examples of annual weeds include: chickweed, crab grass, knotweed, lambs quarter, groundsel, common nettle, prickly lettuce, speedwell, ...


Perennial weeds persist for many seasons even if the top dies back in winter. They are the most difficult to get rid of. They spread both by seed, creeping roots and runners.


If you don’t pull the entire root, the plant can actually reproduce from every little root piece left behind. This means hoeing and pulling are not good choices for removing perennial weeds. Hand weeding will work if you are very thorough about getting the whole plant and root system.


Examples of perennial weeds include: bindweed, horsetail (roots going to 2m deep!), plantain, couch grass, thistle, dandelion, dock leaf (the last 3 have deep taping roots), clover, creeping buttercup (the last 2 propagate also by creeping runners).


Tip: If you can handle the cold, perennial weeds pull out most easily in the early spring.


It is most important to prepare the soil properly prior to planting, especially at places where you want to grow something which will remain several years in the ground (fruit bushes, perennial vegetables) by removing all the roots of the perennial weeds, digging as deep as 30-40 cm in some cases. Do not compost them but you can transform them into (a smelly!) fertilizer by putting them to rot during a few months in a bucket of water.


Most of the other weeds can be dug into the ground (10-20cm depth) where they will rot, but only if they have not gone to seed. 

A good advice: remove those weeds by hoeing regularly before they flower and set seed. Try to hoe during a dry spell, let the weeds dry for a few hours before putting them on the compost, so you don’t remove too much soil from your garden.



For pictures of most common weeds, see


A good web site to identify weeds (but of course this is not an invitation to use weed killers as they are forbidden following the Club's rules):

  • For broad leaves:,-weeds-and-pests/broad-leaved-weeds/

  • For grass:,-weeds-and-pests/grass-weeds/




Lien en français sur les mauvaises herbes :,4354.html






How to manage weeds


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