‘The best way’: The ‘damp newspaper’ hack to ‘permanently’ prevent weeds growing

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A weed is technically just a plant in the wrong place. It could be an unwanted seedling from another plant, or something more pernicious and invasive that needs eradicating. They can be a problem all year round for gardeners, with annual weeds germinating at the end of spring. Fortunately, there is a hack gardeners can try to “permanently” prevent weeds from growing back.

Angela Slater, gardening expert at Hayes Garden World shared her best tips for preventing and getting rid of pesky weeds.

She explained how using “damp newspaper” as a suppressant membrane is the “best way” to prevent weeds from growing back.

Angela said: “The best way to deal with weeds is to prevent them growing by laying down a weed suppressant membrane, thick layer of damp newspaper or old carpet then covering it with a two inch layer of mulch.

“Planting densely also blocks the growth of weeds by depriving the seeds of light and so preventing germination.”

She noted how mulch can consist of “chipped bark, crushed coco shells or home-made leaf mould”. 

For gardeners having a problem with pernicious weeds, this hack can also work on them or there can use a “which plastic bag”.

Angela said: “If you have a problem with pernicious weeds such as ground elder or convolvulus, cover the area with an old carpet or thick black plastic and leave for three years. 

“Disguise the unsightly plastic by covering it with a layer of mulch or stone chippings and using the area to grow plants in containers.”

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The gardening expert continued to explain the difficulties of having pernicious weeds.

Angela said: “Pernicious weeds, such as nettles, are extremely difficult to get rid of as if you leave even the smallest piece of root it will soon re-grow so hand pulling can become a permanent job. 

“If using weedkiller, bash the weeds with a fork beforehand so the bruised leaves can absorb more of the chemical. 

“If you are hand pulling these weeds, burn them.”

Gardeners should avoid putting them on the compost heap as this won’t kill them, instead it will just spread them when the compost is being used when gardening.

Angela also suggested how to remove weeds from gardens.

She said: “Annual weeds can be hoed out on a dry day when the soil is slightly dry, then left on top of the soil to wither and die.”

Although, for those who are removing weeds by hand, it is best to do this when the soil is “slightly damp”.

Angela added: “Hand pull weeds when the soil is slightly damp as they come out easier.”

The gardening pro also shared her go to methods for removing weeds growing between driveway and patio cracks.

According to the expert all gardeners will need is baking soda, white vinegar, bleach or borax.

Angela said: “Pour baking soda, borax, white vinegar or bleach between the cracks in paving-this prevents the weeds from growing. 

“Take care not to let them get onto your plants and don’t use them on your herbaceous borders.”

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