Articles, Blog

EASY How To Clear Perennial Weeds (at the Allotment or No Dig Garden)

February 25, 2020

Hello, I’m Liz Zorab and this is Byther Farm and today I’m going to show you how to get rid of perennial weeds easily
and naturally. Perennial weeds can be a real nuisance, they canspread quickly and
they can very very rapidly take over quite a large area, as they have done
here. I’m at the back of the piggeries where the chickens spend a lot of their
time. And I want to get to grips with the stinging nettles and the brambles that
are here. Now I’m not going to cut down the dead nettles, I’m going to
leave them, I’ve just been squashing them flat onto the ground. There could still be
seeds on them here so I don’t to drag them all over the place dropping seeds
everywhere, so I flatten them down and what I’m going to do is I am going to
kill these off by smothering the weeds. Which means getting a layer over the top
of them and excluding the light from them, which means they won’t be able to
photosynthesize and they won’t be able to feed and so hopefully they’ll stop
growing! What we’ve got here is a mixture of stinging nettles, you can see how tall
how these got to, they were as tall as me! Hogweed which also was tall, this isn’t
the giant hogweed which is, you know, really nasty stuff, can damage your
skin. This is more of the garden hogweed, but still I don’t want it here.
And also lots and lots of brambles so these are blackberry, wild blackberry
plants. The blackberry plants I will need to cut back, take away their long canes
because anything that touches the ground may well root again. So I’ll take those
away and I’ll need to dig out those roots as best I can.
But the stinging nettles I can just cover and smother. Now there are three
simple ways to cover these. The three simplest ways to smother weeds is
to use a tarpaulin, which works really well or a weed suppressing membrane,
which is what we’re going to use or you can use a thick layer of cardboard and
get a good thick layer woodchips over the top of that. And I really like doing
that, I like the cardboard and wood chip method, however this is the area where
the chickens live. They scratch constantly, all day long and my concern
is that they will just move all those wood chips out of the way, scratch up the
cardboard and let the light get onto these plants and away they’ll grow again.
So we’re using weed suppressing membrane to cover this area. Aren’t we Jackie Jack?
Yes! Once the weed suppressing membrane is down on the ground we’ll need to find
a way to hold it down to stop the wind picking up and blowing it all over the
garden. And to also to stop these feathered friends of mine from
scratching it and breaking it. So we are going to bring over some very large
pallets and lay those over the top of it which will A) protect it, B) hold it down
and C) give them something they can climb on. So that whole area doesn’t
become a no-go area, it’s an alternative playground for them. If you’re enjoying this video please
give it a thumbs up or leave a comment or both and if you haven’t done so
already please consider subscribing to the channel. Oh we’re warm now! So we’ve got the first
first run of weed suppressing membrane down and we have put the pallets on top
of it. It’s a couple of places here and there where we’ve got a double layer of
pallets. That’s only a temporary basis. We’ve brought them over ready for the
next layer. So this needs to be down for a good year to absolutely be sure that
we’ve killed off most of these weeds and even then we may, when we peel the
tarpaulin back, we may have some roots to deal with. But what I want to do is show
you what it looks like when your weed suppressing membrane or tarpaulin has
been down for a year. And so wherever you are in the world and whatever you’ve got
planned for today I hope it’s a positive one. I also hope you’ll join me again next time.


  • Reply Anna williams January 31, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Brillaint video liz. Me and my son were in the garden for a couple of hours this afternoon putting the rest of our weed fabric down and we also moved our Apple tree. Thanks to the video that you and Tony did I can say it was a success. I hope you and Mr J are ok, what with the weather reports of severe snow coming your way. Keep warm and safe, love Annie n family ๐Ÿ’Ÿ

  • Reply Nick's Allotment Diary January 31, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Liz, that weed membrane and pallets will certainly help to suppress those perennial weeds. Take care. Nick

  • Reply Debra byrd February 1, 2019 at 12:13 am

    Great job guys. Now go have some fun.!

  • Reply Diane Charles February 1, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Think we are all jealous of you pallet stash!

  • Reply Haywire Homestead February 1, 2019 at 1:05 am

    Fantastic video Liz!

  • Reply Denise D Rivers February 1, 2019 at 1:46 am

    Awesome Liz. Great video.๐ŸŒธ

  • Reply margaret sofocleous February 1, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Hi Liz. Hope you are feeling a little better. Can you please tell me what type of weed suppressing membrane you are using. It looks much thicker and stronger than I have previously used. And can you say where you bought it? Before watching You tube I didn,t realise I didn't have to take all the weeds out before laying the membrane. So in my last garden I dug the soil and weeded thoroughly before laying it between my many shrubs. I then used old broken paving stones to hold it down .It didn't look that pretty but because we spent a lot of time away from home at that time , I had to suppress the weeds somehow. The gardens each side of mine were wild. We had a dense hedge on one side which I really liked as it had all sorts of things growing in it including wild blackberries. They had to be kept on top of to stop them taking over. The property we live in now was once a basketball court. The builder laid turf but the ground wasn't very well prepared for it. I am having trouble with a weed with yellow flowers that sends shoots everywhere, I've forgotten the name of it ,and the the lawn is full of dandelions and clover and some pretty little wild flowers. The clover and wild flowers I don't mind .I made a narrow border at the back but I think to widen it I need to have raised beds. It gets very boggy in the one corner and at the other corner is a steep bank. I would like a grape vine mainly for the leaves to make dolmades. They grow well without a greenhouse in the Vale of Glamorgan but I never had any success in the last place in the Rhondda with them. We are now quite high up the mountain . It may be to cold for them without a greenhouse. How are yours doing? Great video. Love Margaret

  • Reply WineBerry Farm February 1, 2019 at 1:59 am

    Love watching the chickens, thanks Liz for a very helpful video. Hope you and Mr. J have a wonderful day.

  • Reply Cindy Kester February 1, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Great work! Those are huge pallets!

  • Reply florida msjefmaker February 1, 2019 at 4:47 am


  • Reply Linda Gwizdz February 1, 2019 at 6:02 am

    I do believe I like your weather better do you still able to get outside and enjoy your day. I am the other hand let me give Michigan have had hellacious weather temperatures -15ยฐF with windchill is 35 to 40ยฐF subzero for today's tomorrow will be the third.enjoy your day I have enjoyed might as well

  • Reply Green Dream Project February 1, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Wow! That should definitely smother the weeds. That should work real nice with that pallet barrier.๐Ÿ‘

  • Reply W, James February 1, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Nice wild life area ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • Reply Gardiner's Plot February 1, 2019 at 7:54 am

    awesome job! im actually wanting some nettles in the garden at the moment lol.

  • Reply Erica's Little Welsh Garden February 1, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Oh that looks great! Bye bye weeds

  • Reply Tap o' Noth Farm February 1, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Another great tutorial – wether it's a natural mulch (cardboard/straw/chip) or landscape fabric/tarps it's so worth doing to save hours of labour pulling weeds and knocking back grasses!

  • Reply Tammys Homestead Life February 1, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    New friend from the live stream – love your channel ๐Ÿ’

  • Reply Marica Plasmans February 1, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    I stopped weats with the help of a tick carpet on my terrases and pathways. Now I have a better handle on my garden I'm goning to remove it when done with most of the planting in my eatable garden this season.

  • Reply jamesdivall64 February 1, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Liz and Mr J, That looks to be a promising way of clearing the weeds ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Denise Daly February 2, 2019 at 12:22 am

    Great advice for a non-harmful way to smoother weeds. Hope all is going great for you.

  • Reply Paul Saxby February 2, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Well done Liz, looks like that was a big area to cover so a lot of work. We have done a similar thing with our allotment, we used black plastic sheeting to smother a large infestation of couch grass, 5 months down the line the grass is dying off so hopefully we should be able to start using the space next year.

  • Reply Albany Mountain Homestead February 3, 2019 at 12:05 am

    Did you pay for those pallets? Here in the US you could find them for free all the time till those who where giving them away discovered the demand and started charging for them. $2-6 per pallet here. Of course you can get the broken one's for free, but isn't that more work? Good idea keeping the chicken away!

  • Reply Linda Penney April 2, 2019 at 10:22 am

    thank you for sharing Liz

  • Reply Sara Pulford April 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Ammonium Sulphamate is an excellent compost breaker down and if you accidentally spill it onto your really persistent weeds on the way to spray it on your compost you should see said weeds permanently disappear. So said a comical review on Amazon when I searched for a horsetail destroyer. I've been battling horsetail for nearly 40 years so am going to give it a try. On the way to my compost bin of course. I've had black plastic over the worst area for nearly 3 years and will take it up shortly but don't really have much faith that the horsetail (prehistoric weed with enormous roots) will have snuffed it. Oh and I've got stinging nettles and briars which arrived in horse manure.

  • Reply Sharon Thomas May 16, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Very helpful, I am just about to clear a large plot. Would thick black plastic do the same thing? Thanks

  • Reply ShorUKan May 18, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Hello, how can I get rid of bind weed without the use of chemicals? Dont want to hurt any bees. ๐Ÿ

  • Reply majda vojnikovic October 30, 2019 at 9:06 am

    How long do you keep this cover?
    I just bought 1.500 square meters of extreemly weedy soil that i want to fix in no-dig way. I cut everything, and now i have to prevent them from coming back.
    Local farmers suggested herbicide, burning soil or digging out all roots ( the last one is too expensive, first two I don't like at all) so i would go with a cardboard method.

  • Reply Sianna MacDonald February 23, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Nice vid, thanks! Hello from Ireland, where we have one small acre, but it's covered in brambles. I'm cutting them back but do I have to dig out the roots first before laying the membrane, or will they grow through the membrane if I don't?

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