Gardening and weeds go hand in hand, even when a plant won't grow you can be sure that the weeds will. As with plants, some weeds are annual, new plants growing each year from seed and some perennial, surviving year to year from underground stems or roots.
Annual weeds such as Chickweed, Groundsel, Fat Hen and Speedwell spread as persistent weeds due to the number of seeds they produce, sometimes germinating up to twenty years after seeds are first produced. To prevent annual weeds, the trick is to remove them before they germinate, either by chemicals, hoeing, digging or applying a thick mulch to stop light from reaching the seeds required for germination.
Perennials are a different matter altogether, Brambles, Bindweed, Couch Grass, Dandelions and Ground Elder all surviving below ground by an underground network of stems and roots, even when dug up, the slightest piece of stem or root left results in a new weed. A systemic weed killer containing Glyphosate is the best, the weed absorbs the chemical which is then passed down to the root.
At this time of year weeds can be found in all the borders, paths and grass around the college, so they keep the team very busy trying to keep them at bay. Over the last two days, Ali has been busy clearing both types of weed from the nursery area, but how many pieces of root has she left? How many seeds are also laying, invisible, on the soil waiting for the right conditions to germinate? I, somehow feel, that this is not the last time the nursery will be weeded this year.