Are bluebells taking over your garden? How to get rid of flowers when they become ‘weeds’

Gardening expert on how to keep your garden free of weeds

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Bluebells aren’t necessarily a weed, but their fast-spreading nature can mean they begin to feel a lot like one for gardeners. According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): “Although the native English bluebell and the larger Spanish bluebell are often grown in gardens, they can multiply and become a nuisance, requiring control.”

The problem with bluebells is they seed freely and often hybridise when grown together.

They can also pose a problem for compost heaps, where the flowers are likely to persist.

The RHS provided advice on how to handle “bluebells as weeds”.

However, the gardening charity advised against the use of chemical pesticides when trying to control any unwanted garden growth.

They said: “The RHS believes that avoiding pests, diseases and weeds by good practice in cultivation methods, cultivar selection, garden hygiene and encouraging or introducing natural enemies, should be the first line of control.

“If chemical controls are used, they should be used only in a minimal and highly targeted manner.”

In fact, even if you do try to spritz away bluebells with a pesticide, you might not have much luck.

According to the RHS: “Bluebells are strongly resistant to weedkillers and it appears that no garden weedkiller will kill them or even check their growth.”

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How to dig out bluebells

The experts recommended digging out bluebells.

This is best done while they are in leaf, as the bulbs can be very difficult to find when plants are dormant.

You should try to moisten the soil before you begin or carry the task out when conditions are naturally moist.

To begin, loosen the soil around the bulbs making sure to get a good depth.

Then remove all the bulbs and underground parts.

The RHS said: “Where shoots appear from among clumps of low-growing garden plants, carefully insert a garden fork to its full depth close to the shoot.

“Work the handle of the fork to loosen the bulb then, grasping the shoot, gently ease the bulb out of the earth.”

However, once you have removed the bluebells, do not dispose of bulbs by adding them to your compost heap.

The RHS added: “Never discard unwanted bulbs in the countryside.

“Consign them to a black plastic sack and leave for a year before composting.”

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