About Weed Control

For successful establishment of trees and shrubs and their on-going health and vitality, an effective schedule of weed control is essential.

When do we control weeds?

Weeds damage and restrict tree growth mainly during the summer months, but dead weeds collapsing on top of young trees and shrubs in the winter can also cause smothering.

The implementation of the first weed control regime each year should be timed to coincide with the soft growth phase of the target weeds.This will occur during mid to late Spring. Subsequent applications should be made as required up until the end of October.

How can weeds be controlled?

There are several options to be considered:

Chemical Weeding

This is the most effective method of controlling weeds if the weather is suitable. There are now an ever-increasing number of effectiveherbicides available, which can be split into two distinct groups:


These herbicides work by exploiting the plant’s own system of transporting natural fluids from one part of the living plant to another. Applied directly onto the plant’s leaves, the chemicals are translocated throughout the plant, even deep into the root system.The effectiveness of these herbicides depends entirely on ensuring that every weed is sprayed sufficiently.


These herbicides act within the soil, where they kill the young germinating weeds before they break the soil’s surface. Careful selection of the chemical is needed to ensure that the herbicide used does not damage or retard the growth of the trees.


Whilst it may look effective, mowing can actually slow the growth of trees and shrubs by encouraging increased competition for moisture and nutrients. Mowing does however combine well with other weed control methods if a tidy and well-presented site is desired. Removing their cover may also reduce damage by voles.


Traditional methods of weeding such as hoeing, and on a larger scale, ploughing, physically cuts off the undesirable weeds below ground level. The leaves and stems can then be left to rot or desiccate.

A disadvantage, however, is that some weed species actually multiply faster after this treatment. It can also reveal a previously dormant seed bank. This method is usually restricted to smaller schemes where regular weeding can be carried out.


This is an efficient method of preventing the germination of new weed seeds, but will only be truly effective if existing weeds have been eradicated beforehand by the use of herbicides or very thorough cultivational weeding.

Various forms of mulch are available, including plastic, bark, straw, gravel or peat. Occasionally voles can cause problems burrowing under the mulch layer.

How can we help?

At Nicholsons we have several teams of fully trained, qualified and experienced weed control specialists.We would be happy to quote on a fixed-price basis for any work of this nature. If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to Contact us.