A plant that can help beat weeds… like bindweed?

This sounds too good to be true, but we are growing Tagete Minuta this year, a plant that can be used to help clear ground of invasive weeds like bindweed and ground elder.

How does this work?!

The roots of this plant release a chemical that deters the other weeds. It can be effective on couch grass, bindweed and ground elder.

How to use it for weed control…

  1. First, dig over the patch – do this in early spring, before the weeds get into full swing.
  2. Mulch with a thick layer of compost (to block as much sunlight as possible so that the tagetes get a headstart)
  3. Plant the tagetes – once they reach maturity, they should start producing the chemical to help suppress the weeds. Cut them right back in autumn before they self seed (they are unlikely to self seed in our climate, but just in case!)

Can I grow other plants alongside the tagetes minuta?

No, we’d recommend using this as a way of clearing an entire raised bed/area – the tagetes will grow quite tall, approx 1.5m to 2m and because of the roots, may fight off other plants too.

Too good to be true?

It’s not 100% effective, but it’s a good way to make a start on a difficult patch and worth a try. There are, of course, alternatives…You could dig up weed roots, and keep pulling them up through the season – this will weaken them over time, but will take several seasons to achieve. You could cover the area with black plastic for 1-2 years. Or you could use a combination of all these three techniques. It really depends on the size of the area, how much time/energy you have and which approach works for you.