Mechanical weeding

By hand, with tools or by using a machine, mechanical weeding offers instant results without needing to resort to chemicals!

By hand

The most obvious and quickest way to weed is simply by hand. When the soil is wet and not compacted, it is quick work. Pull out the plant by grabbing it as low down as possible. Shake it briskly to remove any soil from around the roots, if you do not do this, you risk loosing a lot of good soil along with the weeds.

If the root ball provides too much resistance then use a tool, otherwise, you risk leaving some of the plant in the ground and it might grow again. Bits of plant left in the ground are often harder to remove! If the ground is dry or very compacted, go directly to using tools or a machine.

Mechanical weeding

Using a weeding knife, good for large leaved weeds.

Using tools

When plants are still young going over them with a hoe will usually lift out the young plants and break off their main roots. You do not need to force the hoe: just lift off a couple of centimetres of soil by holding the hoe head parallel to the ground. In fine weather, the plants that have been lifted will dry out in under an hour. In wet weather, only a part of the plant will perish and you will need to repeat the operation, because they could reroot themselves if only weakened.

If the weeds are well established in the soil, then using a hoe will not be enough. Use a weeding knife or weeder; this is a tool with a thick blade that allows you to lift out the plant. An asparagus gouge or curved fork can also be used. Try a few different tools and see which is most comfortable depending on your build and the type of soil.

Using a machine

If you have large areas to weed, then doing it by hand is not feasible. You need to use different solutions like mulching, weed-killer or machine weeding. This is done with a tiller or motorised scarifier. This device is powerful but can only be used on clear areas like the vegetable patch or unplanted land where a future hedge may be. You can rent one off these machines if you only need it temporarily.

Scrub clearance, more difficult

What should you do with land that is over run by brambles and scrub? First of all do not get discouraged; things will get better quicker than you think! Start by using a brush cutter to cut away the brambles and small trees. (You can do this work by hand if you are courageous). Pull out any tree stumps one at a time, using a specific tool and then pull them away with a winch. You can find these tools at a rental outlet and they will allow you to pull out small trees without much effort as long as you have a point to anchor the winch to. There is not really any other solution for clearing wasteland: chemicals will only kill of the scrub but you will still need to pull it out by hand.

M. Jean-Michel GROULT
Pépinières PLANFOR
1950 Route de Cère
Tel : (020).7660.0178