Alan Titchmarsh warns gardeners about ‘pernicious’ tap rooted weeds – how to weed by hand

Alan Titchmarsh explains how to repair and protect your lawn

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Weeds can make a garden look untidy and messy if you let them grow out of control. Even small weeds can cause problems in flower beds and potted plants. Alan explained what the most harmful type of weeds are and how to get rid of them with minimal effort, as well as what to watch out for. This includes tap-rooted perennials such as thistles, and shallow-rooted annuals such as speedwell.

Weeds are a huge problem for keen gardeners and they can appear at any time of the year.

In a video made for Gardeners’ World, Alan explained that before spring “you need to get down and in there” to get those weeds out and stop them “competing with your cultivated plants”.

He said: “At the end of a long winter – and to be absolutely honest, I’ve never known a short one – the earth between the plants in your beds and borders is hard and compacted. 

“It’s been undisturbed and it’s given all the weeds a chance to gain a foothold. 

“You need to get down and in there to get those weeds out and stop them competing with your cultivated plants.”

Alan explained how there are “several kinds of weeds”, however the most harmful are the “tap rooted”.

He said: “The most pernicious are the tap rooted, deep rooted perennial weeds like this thistle here. 

“Now, that’s got a thick root, which is broken in half. The bit that remains behind will soon send up more shoots.”

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The horticultural expert explained how weeding can be carried out with minimal effort.

Alan said: “So with a hand fork or a trowel, get right down in there underneath each one. And if you listen, it didn’t snap. 

“That means I’ve got all of the root out. That’s not going to reappear. 

“So all the perennial weeds like that, when you’ve loosened the soil, you can make sure that they’re teased out individually.”

Alan discussed how gardens will be filled with tiny little weeds as well, such as speedwells.

He said: “Little annuals like this speedwell with a flimsy little bit of root. 

“Now, the great thing about that is if you gently fork them up, you can leave them on the surface of the soil. They will dry out, desiccate in sunny spells. They’re no worry now.”

The English gardener explained the benefits of alleviating soil compaction.

Alan said: “It forms a friable layer on the surface of the soil, which in a way acts like a mulch. 

“It stops the soil below drying out quite so much. 

“It removes the weed competition from the plants you do want to grow, and makes sure that they can get away without being competed by the plants that you really don’t like.”

Alan is a gardening expert, broadcaster and novelist who has shared his expertise for many years.

He will regularly appear on shows such as ITV’s This Morning to give easy gardening hacks.

Alan has also shared his wisdom in a number of books which have been published.

The expert previously appeared on Gardeners’ World and Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh.

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