Weeds can be tolerated, and sometimes enjoyed, in certain situations. However, they can also cause havoc. More than just a nuisance, weeds can be hazardous and destructive. This can lead to serious problems and a need to be controlled, especially in amenity areas.
Tough perennial weeds can lift paving slabs, which can increase the risk of trips and falls. Annual weeds, which can dry out and die back at the end of the season, can present a fire risk. As well as being dangerous, weeds can lower the aesthetics of an area, making places look uncared for.
Effective weed control of amenity areas is vital to ensure a healthy environment that is safe and fit for purpose. The time of year that amenity areas are sprayed is an important factor, as this can impact how effective weed control is.
What Type of Weeds are Found in Amenity Areas?
There are two main types of weeds that are found in amenity areas – annual and perennial.
These are weeds that last for one year, or only for a growing season. They produce lots of weed seeds for the next year, and years afterwards, which is why they need to be controlled. Common annual weeds are nettles, docks and chickweed.
Perennial weeds are a problem because they can live for several years and spread by both seed and creeping roots. Their roots tend to be large and deep, making them harder to get rid of than annual weeds. Common perennial weeds include bindweed and Japanese knotweed.
What Time of Year is Most Effective to Spray Amenity Areas?
Spring is an ideal time to spray amenity areas, as this is when the first flush of weeds emerge and is before they germinate. Effective control of annual weeds at this time of year is best once the weeds are over 1.25 cm high.
Perennial weeds, on the other hand, have larger, deeper roots, and to be effectively controlled, they need to be sprayed once they have a larger leaf area. This ensures that the large roots are killed thoroughly. A single treatment in Spring may be enough to control these pesky perennial weeds, especially if they are actively growing. Others, such as bindweed, may need another treatment later in the year to effectively be controlled.
Weeds that may re-emerge during the Summer can be controlled with a spot treatment, as and when required. Summer is also the best time for control of any late-emerging perennials, like Japanese knotweed.
September through to November is an ideal second time to treat amenity areas, as this should give good control until the Spring when the flush of weeds appear. The symptoms of treatment may take longer to show in weeds treated at this time of year, as the speed of kill is temperature dependent.
Herbicide resistance is a real threat to the ability to effectively control weeds in amenity areas. There are currently no known cases of this resistance in the UK, but there have been issues globally. To ensure resistance doesn’t occur in the UK, it’s essential that products are used in accordance with recommendations and in conditions, like correct time or year, where the active ingredients can work most effectively.