Mass planting or planting ground cover are good ways to suppress weeds in your garden. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Weeds are simply plants in the wrong place, so one of the
best ways of stopping them is to give them no place to grow.
This is easier said than done, as most weedy plants are very
efficient at growing in the smallest gap, but with the right
choice of plant, weeding can be reduced dramatically.
Choosing plants that spread across the ground is one option,
as these cover a large area. The best spreading plants are
ones that run along the surface, rooting as they go, as these
can be controlled easily by cutting back.
Rubus rolfei (commonly known as orange berry or
creeping raspberry) is a good example of this, slowly
spreading and forming a dense barrier to weed growth.
Most of us do not want a garden full of creeping ground-cover
plants, so another method of weed suppression is to
mass-plant with small desirable plants. This can be achieved
easily with small perennial plants which do not mind being
planted close together. Often this can give a very dramatic
effect, especially if the perennial is colourful in flower or
Unfortunately, no method is foolproof and we still have to
get out there and weed. However, anything that can help
reduce the amount of time spent weeding and allow more time
relaxing in the garden must be a good thing.
- Dylan Norfield is collection curator of the
geographic and arboretum collections at Dunedin Botanic