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The Ultimate Guide To Weeding

In this blog we share our North Shore gardeners golden rules of weeding to help you do the best weeding job possible.

1 / Loosen the Surrounding Soil

Loosen up the soil around the weed to ensure that you get as much of the roots out as possible - helps prevent them from growing back.

gardener weeding

2 / Dig Over The Soil

Dig, turn or rake over the soil after weeding as this makes it look cared for, it’s much tidier looking and helps prevent the soil from capping (a solid crust that forms on clay soil after heavy rain).

rake over the soil

3 / Work Back To Front

If working in a border that is deep (from front to back), start at the back of the border and work your way to the front, it’s easier to tidy as you work your way back to the front.

In big, deep borders, weed everywhere, not just where the eye can see.  Any weeds left are weeds that will multiply and cause future, unnecessary weeding.

If you are weeding in a bed that is edged by a path / drive etc, ensure that you brush any soil back onto the bed.

weeding in the garden

4 / Check Underneath

Check underneath plants that cover the ground by lifting their leaves up.  It’s easier to remove small weeds that haven’t yet grown through the plant and made itself impossible to remove.

5 / Never Walk Past A Weed

No matter what job you are doing, e.g. planting, pruning, hedge trimming etc.  weed the surrounding area.  No matter how great a job you do, if there are weeds in eyesight, they will detract from your fabulous work and they will be the first thing you see.

work in garden

6 / No New Introductions

If planting new plants from a garden centres, weed them too.  Loosen the soil around the weeds and get the roots out.  There’s nothing worse than introducing new weeds to the garden from a nursery.

7 / Get All The Weed Out

Some weeds are easily dig up as they have shallow roots, others have deep tap roots, rhizomes or bulbs. 

When weeding, remove all weed root and stem fragments. Many weeds have roots and stems that will grow from fragments left behind in the soil.

Hand weeding those weeds with deep roots & fine stems is often tricky and fiddly. You may wish to use a weed killer as a more effective way of dealing with them if there are no other plants around.  We have used a paintbrush to brush weedkiller onto weeds that have been growing between desirable plants.

8 / Tools of the Trade

There are many different weeding tools.  You just need to find one that feels good & works for you.  We use knifes, long screwdrivers and purpose made weeding tools too. Here are a few of our gardeners at Sculpt Gardens favourite weeding tools.

Weeding Tool

weeding tool
Niwashi garden tool

Niwashi garden tool

9 / Go Low Maintenance

A gorgeous garden that’s low maintenance, designed with impeccable style, and looks good all year around. Sound like a dream?

Fortunately for you, a low maintenance garden is totally achievable. With a few simple tips and tricks you can create a gorgeous garden that you’ll love to spend time in, without the fuss of too much weeding.

The key to this look is to embrace your inner minimalist, plan your landscaping with low maintenance in mind from the beginning, and choose your planting wisely.

Learn more in our '7 Tips To Create A Low Maintenance Garden' blog.

10 / Mulch, mulch, mulch

Weed seeds germinate when they are exposed to light, warmth and moisture. If you cultivate an area you are likely to expose weed seeds to light and the warmth from the sunshine and provide bare soil where they are not shaded by other plants. 

If, after cultivation, you cover the exposed soil with a covering of deep mulch it is possible to prevent light getting to the seeds and prevent germination or to deny young seedlings of light preventing their growth.

11 / Great Groundcovers

Groundcovers are plants that spread out over the ground creating a natural barrier against weeds.  If there is a plant in a spot, there can't be a weed, so ensure your garden beds are densely planted and use ground covering planting to reduce the opportunities for weeds to grow in the first place.

Native Picks - See the numbered image

1. Leptinella 'Platt's Black' has smaller darker leaves than its dioica cousin (number 3).
2. Mazus radicans, the swamp musk. A herb that forms thick patches, it has white flowers. Likes the damp, in sun or shade.
3. Leptinella dioica. For moist shade, it's vigorous and you can walk on it. Green ferny leaves have a touch of bronze.
4. Raoulia hookeri 'Makara'. Compact, it needs good drainage. It grows naturally on shingle so is good for a rockery.
5. Pratia angulata. It quickly covers bare ground and has white flowers over summer, then berries. It prefers a damp spot but copes in most places.
6. Raoulia hookeri 'Makara'.
7. Wahlenbergia gracilis. The native bluebell's a perennial. Plant in sun or semi-shade in well drained soils. Self seeds.
8. Acaena inermis 'Purpurea'. This prickle-free bidibid is best in a sunny moist spot.
9. Isotoma fluviatilis. In damp or dry places, it forms a thick mat which produces heaps of blue star-like flowers in spring and summer.
10. Pimelea prostrata 'Misty Blue'. Landscapers like this one, says Naturally Native's Ruth Russell. It's pretty with blue leaves and white flowers, ideal for dry coastal conditions. It's perfect for covering northfacing banks.
11. Mazus radicans.
12. Pimelea prostrata 'Misty Blue'.
13. Scleranthus biflorus. A riverbank dweller, it likes moisture at its roots so don't water from above. Keep it off soil too or it will go brown and turn up its toes.
14. Isotoma fluviatilis.
15. Acaena inermis 'Purpurea'.

Image & plants from


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