3 ‘invasive’ and ‘destructive’ weeds to remove that will ‘smother’ your garden

Gardening: How to remove ivy from brickwork and trees

Garden weeds can steal water, sunlight and soil nutrients from food crops, and some even kill other garden plants and damage properties. The director of Easy Garden Irrigation, Sean Lade, has claimed that there are three “good” weeds to keep in gardens and three “bad” weeds, which can actually “do more harm than good” and should be removed. The gardening pro has detailed how the three bad weeds can be removed.

Three bad weeds to have in the garden

1. Bindweed

Bindweed is a fast-growing vine-like plant with white trumpet-shaped flowers that can be attractive but “problematic” in a garden. 

Sean claimed that its deep and extensive root system can “quickly take over and smother other plants” in its path, causing harm to whatever it is climbing on. 

Bindweed is also a persistent weed that can be challenging to eradicate once established. 

Gardeners should remove bindweed “as soon as it appears” by pulling up the plant and its roots by hand or with the help of a digging tool. 

The expert urged: “Avoid letting the plant go to seed, as even a small piece of root left behind can quickly sprout into a new plant.”

Covering the affected area with mulch or landscape fabric can help smother any remaining bindweed roots. 

2. Ivy 

Ivy is a bit slower than bindweed but can be “just as destructive” to shrubs, trees, or even buildings and walls. 

It can root itself to anything without soil and be difficult to fully remove. While ivy provides shelter for wildlife, its dense growth can quickly swamp other plants in a garden or border, causing them to struggle for light and nutrients. 

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Ivy is also notorious for obscuring potential structural problems in buildings and walls if its roots are able to penetrate any cracks. 

Gardeners should consider removing ivy when it starts to become a problem, cutting it back to the ground and carefully removing any roots from the soil or surfaces it has climbed, suggested Sean. 

He said: “For mature plants, it may be necessary to use a systemic herbicide to kill the plant, but this should be done with caution and care to avoid harm to other plants or wildlife.”

3. Giant hogweed 

Giant Hogweed may resemble the cow parsley plant, but it’s an “invasive and potentially harmful plant”, warned the gardening pro. 

Sean explained: “The sap from this plant contains chemicals that can cause severe skin irritation and blistering, and even blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes.” 

Therefore, it’s important to remove this plant with caution, wearing protective clothing and gloves and covering any exposed skin. 

It’s also important to avoid exposing the sap to sunlight, which can aggravate skin irritation. 

To effectively remove it, Sean suggested that gardeners should cut off the flower heads of the plant and carefully dig out the roots, making sure to dispose of all parts of the plant safely and responsibly. 

However, if there is a widespread case of giant hogweed, it’s recommended to hire a professional to remove it safely and effectively.

Three good weeds to have in the garden

1. Nettles 

Nettles are a surprisingly valuable addition to gardens as they can be used to make “homemade liquid fertiliser” and are a “delicious and nutritious edible plant”. Plus, they attract beneficial insects to the garden, which can help with pollination and pest control.

2. Sorrel 

Sorrel is a herbaceous plant that not only “adds beauty” to any garden but also serves a dual purpose. Its edible leaves are packed with vitamin C and act as a natural diversion for pests like slugs, snails, and aphids. What’s more, sorrel is a hardy and low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow, making it a perfect choice for novice gardeners. 

3. Dandelions 

Despite being commonly regarded as a troublesome weed, dandelions offer “significant value” as a source of food for early pollinators like bees and butterflies. In the early spring, when not much else is flowering yet, dandelions provide an important source of nectar and pollen.

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