Weeding by Hand
To dig or not to dig?
Digging out weeds can therefore be a mixed blessing. On the positive side you finish the day with a clean surface and you have removed lots of weeds and roots. The action of digging with a fork will also aerate the soil and allow you to introduce organic matter. On the other hand the soil movement will have brought new weed seeds to the surface where they will soon germinate. The digging action will also have chopped up the roots of perennial weeds such as couch grass, possibly spreading their coverage.
To hoe or not to hoe?
Hoeing is really only effective if the ground is already clear of weeds. Going through clean beds every week with a push or Dutch hoe is a good idea. The action will disturb the annual weeds just germinating and cut off any fresh growth from perennial weeds. However, the physical cutting through the soil with a hoe can also damage the feeding roots of the flowers and vegetables you are trying to grow, so care is needed. If the ground is already weedy the traditional answer is a chemical weedkiller. Topping the weeds with the hoe blade just below the soil surface avoids some of the backache, and the weeds have to be picked up if you want the garden to look tidy. Hoeing the roots of perennial weeds often increases the problem and brings the seeds of annual weeds back to the surface. Less effective in wet weather, hoeing perennial weeds often increases the problem. Hoeing is best done on a warm day or a windy day, so the hoed weeds die quickly.
Chemical solutions take the backache and hard work out of weeding. They are also much more efficient at getting rid of weeds. They don’t work forever, nature’s far too clever for that, but for longer periods of time than other options.
Weedkillers are specially formulated for specific weeding tasks. When skilfully selected to match the job in hand and used with care, chemical solutions will give you the control you need.