Spotting a weed should be done in the early stages of their growth lest it becomes cumbersome to remove them later

Greenery is desirable, but could be pesky, is refreshing, but threatening, is heavenly, but can give a hell of a time to whoever tends to it.

All that shines is not green, and gardeners should be extremely careful about the virus that slithers into their courtyards on the sly.

Weeds could be dangerous for the most elegant garden in that they spread very fast and jeopardise the existence of desirable plants.

They snatch the water, nutrients, sunlight and space from the plants and displace them in no time.

Harmful

Though a few weeds are benign in that they shelter beneficial insects, majority of them are harmful and should be weeded out as soon as they are spotted.

However, spotting a weed should be done in the early stages of their growth lest it should become cumbersome to remove them later.

"When the weed is small, one can remove it just by disturbing the soil. Once they are established and display seeds, they would multiply very fast, making it difficult to remove them," says M.Ananth Reddy, Chairman of the Agri-Horticultural Society.

One should keep disturbing the top soil every now and then so that the weeds are displaced, he advises, and says it will also improve the aeration and water retention capacity of the soil.

Once disturbed, the top soil will preclude evaporation from underneath, thereby reducing loss of moisture in the soil.

In case the weed escapes and grows to occupy considerable space, pulling out is the only solution.

However, weeds thus uprooted are good sources of nitrogen, and should be used in mulching.

Care should be exercised to see that the weeds do not have seeds or flowers, as they aid fresh germination.

"The weed should be dumped at the same location so that it will decompose and become manure for other plants. It will also act as a barrier against evaporation," says Mr.Reddy.

Another protective mechanism against weeds is the layering of the soil with a black polythene sheet, he says.

The empty ground should be covered with the sheet so as to control the germination of the weed and also the evaporation of the moisture.

"One more method used extensively abroad is covering the idle soil with tiny blocks of wood.

One may also use paddy husk instead. This is an ideal way of weed control if one can not spare much time on the garden," says Mr.Reddy.

Another method suggested by experts to avoid weed growth is reduced space between plants.

If two plants are planted so that the space between them is totally covered by their shade, no weed can hope to survive in the gap.

Keywords: gardeningweeds

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