RHS Pruning Groups 11, 12 & 13

RHS Pruning Groups 11, 12 and 13

It’s easy to overlook one dimension of our gardens that we really should exploit: the vertical. We’re always eager for groundcover and stunning feature plants, but bare walls, fences and trunks are perfect for climbing plants and trained shrubs. Once planted, how do we keep them in the best shape? RHS pruning groups 11, 12 and 13 cover this, to ensure these specimens don’t become ‘a bushy or straggly mess’. Read on for the final installment in our summary of the Royal Horticultural Society pruning groups.



Similarly to previous groups, timing depends on when flowering occurs and what growth it develops on.

For those plants flowering on the previous season’s growth, you should prune immediately after flowers fade. This is often December through to June.

Plants which flower on the current season’s growth should be prune in late winter or early spring. They normally produce blooms between July and November.

If ever in doubt as to when to prune, do some research on the specimen in question to be sure.



Begin by pruning out dead, damaged, diseased or congested shoots.

After, remember the individual requirements of the species in question. For example, a wall-trained Ceanothus is usually in pruning group 8 when untrained, so needs cutting after flowering ends in October.

The RHS divides pruning of climbers and wall-trained shrubs further into three groups:

  • Group 11: Vigorous climbers: Prune back stems exceeding allocated space when necessary, after flowering
  • Group 12: Less vigorous climbers: Trim sideshoots to within three or four buds of the main framework
  • Group 13: Wall-trained shrubs: Cut sideshoots back to within two-four buds of the main framework. Remove any shoots growing into the wall or fence

Be sure to regularly secure desired new shoots to a framework (wires or string) regularly to maintain a pleasing form and avoid damage to the plant.



Pruning of climbers and wall-trained shrubs aims to maintain bushiness and avoid bare wood. It also encourages the formation of more flower buds on the shorter, stronger stems that remain. On the vigorous climbers, this pruning also restricts them to just the area you want covering.


Plants falling into pruning groups 11, 12 and 13

Plant names

Do you look at plant books and labels and wonder who on earth comes up with such complex and crazy plant names? And how they even invent these things? Well actually, had you been an Ancient Roman or Greek, these names would have been extremely familiar. Why? They’re composed mainly of descriptive words derived from these classical languages. Having said that, a Roman or Athenian wouldn’t necessarily have been able to visualise the exact plant being described. They’d have had “common names” for plants, just like we have buttercup, dandelion or daisy.

In order to help you out when picking or planting specimens in future, below is a list of elements commonly found in the names of plants we use at Bestall & Co.




Acuti- “Sharp”, from Latin acutus

Angusti- “Narrow”, from Latin angustus

Arborescens “Tree-like”, from Latin arbor “tree”

Argenteus, argenteum, argentea “Silvery”, from Latin argentum “silver”

Arvensis, arvense “Of the fields”, from Latin arvus “cultivated”

Atro- “Dark, black”, from the Latin ater

Aureus, aureum, aurea “Golden”, from Latin aurum “gold”

Baccatus, baccatum, baccata “Bearing berries”, from Latin bacca “berry”

Caeruleus, caeruleum, caerulea “Sky blue”, from Latin caelum “sky”

Capensis, capense “South African”, from New Latin

Chinensis, chinense “Chinese”, from New Latin; the older Latin term is sinensis, sinense which you’ll also see

Denticulatus, denticulatum, denticulata “Toothed”, from Latin dens “tooth”

-flora “Flowers”, from Latin flos

-folia “Leaves”, from Latin folium

Giganteus, giganteum, gigantea “Very large”, from Greek γιγας “giant”

Grandi- “Large”, from Latin grandis

Hepta- “Seven”, from Greek ἐπτα

Japonicus, japonicum, japonica “Japanese”, from New Latin

Lusitanicus, lusitanicum, lusitanica “Portuguese”, from Latin Lusitania “Portugal”

Macro- “Large”, from Greek μακρος

Maculatus, maculatum, maculata “Spotty, marked”, from the Latin for “stained”

-mas “Male”, from Latin

Micro- “Small”, from Greek μικρος

Mollis, molle “Soft”, from Latin

Nemorosus, nemorosum, nemorosa “Of the woods”, from Latin nemus “sacred grove, woodland”

Nigra “Black”, from Latin niger

Nivalis, nivale “Snowy”, from the Latin nix “snow”; you’ll also see niveus, niveum, nivea

Occidentalis, occidentale “Western”, from the Latin occidere “to fall down”

Officinalis, officinale “Medicinal”, from Latin officina “workshop, practice”

-oides “Resembling”, from Greek ειδος “shape, form”

Orientalis, orientale “Eastern”, from the Latin orior “to rise”

Paniculatus, paniculatum, paniculata “Tufted”, from Latin panicula “tuft”

Parvi- “Small”, from Latin parvus

-phylla “Leaves”, from Greek φυλλον phyllon

Plani- “Flat”, from Latin planus

Purpureus, purpureum, purpurea “Purple”, from Latin

Racemosus, racemosum, racemosa “Forming clusters”, from Latin racemus “cluster”

Repens “Creeping”, from Latin; related to the English word reptile

Semper “Always, ever”

Spicatus, spicatum, spicata “Spiky”, from Latin spica “spike”

Tenuissimus, tenuissimum, tenuissima “Softest”, from Latin tenuis “soft”

Vulgaris, vulgare “Common” (not vulgar though!), from Latin


Names which give insight

Other genus names give a deeper insight into the plant. For example:

  • Delphinium: Look closely at the flowers; they could be said to be “dolphin-shaped”. The Ancient Greek for dolphin was delphis δελφις !
  • Digitalis: We don’t recommend sticking your fingers in poisonous foxglove flowerheads, but they’d fit very nicely. The Latin for “finger” was digitus.
  • Geranium: The Ancient Greek for a crane was geranos γερανος, and this plant’s seedpods look like a crane’s bill.
  • Allium: We usually use this word for the ornamental plants, but it actually means “garlic” or “onion” in Latin. Our “Purple Sensations” are closely related to garlic, onion and leek.


The list could go on and on, but that’s far too much information for one blog post. If your interest is piqued, there are plenty of publications around which will tell you more.

Beautiful outdoor rooms with all weather sofas. Contemporary planting design make for a cosy place to relax

RHS Pruning Groups 8, 9 and 10

The Royal Horticultural Society has grouped together its advice on Pruning Groups 8, 9 and 10 because they all relate to evergreen shrubs. We often think of conifers when referring to evergreens, but there are a lot of other species included in these groups. It’s important to remember evergreens are any plants ‘retaining their leaves in winter’.



Generally prune your evergreen shrubs in spring just ahead of growth starting again, unless they’re flowering at this point. In the latter instance, simply prune back as soon as flowering has finished.



We’ve started with this in the other groups too: begin by cutting out any weak, damaged, diseased or dead shoots, as well as those spoiling the overall form of the shrub.

After that, each group is a little more specific:

  • Group 8: Prune these early-flowering evergreens immediately after flowering rather than sticking to just April. These plants are often best left to their own devices in terms of shape. Simply deadhead or remove damaged stems.
  • Group 9: These evergreens are late-flowering and benefit from pruning in April or May. They flower on growth put on in the previous or current year and again, do best with minimal pruning. You can prune those suitable for hedging (e.g. Prunus laurocerasus) more heavily to maintain form.
  • Group 10: Evergreens fall into this group where you need to prune:
    • Straight after flowering on the previous year’s growth
    • In March or April when the plant flowers on this year’s growth


Mulching well straight after pruning supports the plant’s recovery.



Evergreens can become tall or leggy, with lots of unsightly woody growth on display. The best way around this is to remove one-third of the older woody growth each year, before the plants send up new shoots.

Smaller shrubs like heathers and lavender have a limited life expectancy of no more than 10 years in ideal conditions (sometimes five in less suitable situations). Their lifespan can sometimes be extended by pruning as indicated by the RHS.

Larger or slow-growing shrubs such as rhododendrons require less pruning, other than to reduce disease incidence.


Groups 8, 9 and 10: Plants we use

Feeding your plants

Feeding your plants may not always be necessary, but it’s good practice to get into. A lot of problems which arise with plants can be reduced or resolved through use of plant food. Unlike organic mulch which feeds the soil, plant food (a.k.a. fertiliser) is a concentrated source of the main nutrients required by plants.


To feed or not to feed?

First and foremost, keep an eye out for signs of nutrient deficiency such as yellowing leaves, stunted growth or reduced flowering and/or fruiting.

However, as with human diseases, prevention is better than the cure. Feeding from early on can avoid many of the issues arising from nutrient deficiency. Plants in open ground can generally fend well for themselves once established. Their roots delve deep and spread far in the hunt for water and nutrients.

Plants in pots, on the other hand, start with only the nutrients we include in the container. Even if we add plant food at the beginning, these are finite and we must replace them once lost.

Fast-growing plants may also benefit from regular applications of fertiliser as they use up nutrients more quickly. This includes vegetable crops and fruit trees and shrubs.


Key nutrients

The three main plant nutrients all fertilisers include are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

  • N – nitrogen – supports leafy green growth
  • P – phosphorus – for healthy development of roots and shoots
  • K – potassium – used in flowering, fruiting and general plant hardiness


All UK fertilisers must indicate the ratio of these major nutrients on the packaging in the format N:P:K (for example, Bayer Garden Toprose is 5:6:12). Other micronutrients such as magnesium are vital to a healthy plant, but not all products contain these.



Always follow the product instructions as to how to apply the food. It can be tempting to apply more fertiliser than instructed, but this can be counterproductive. Too much can scorch foliage. An excess of potassium will have a negative effect by inhibiting magnesium absorption and thus causing magnesium deficiency.

Always make sure the soil around a plant is moist when applying plant food, or else it won’t have any effect. Similarly, compacted soil will reduce fertiliser efficiency by limiting its movement down to the roots.

There are four main methods of application for fertilisers which must be adhered to:

  • Top dressing: apply the fertiliser to the surface of the soil, normally in spring
  • Base dressing: mix the food into the soil or potting compost before planting up
  • Water on: drizzle liquids or soluble formulas onto roots – but not leaves – during growth for a quick boost
  • Foliar feeding: apply dilute fertiliser solution directly onto the leaves


Types of fertiliser

The diagram below demonstrates the main divisions of plant food.


Straight fertilisers focus on just one vital nutrient. Controlled release fertilisers are coated to allow steady leakage of the nutrients. Compound fertilisers are balanced or only slightly unbalanced in ratio. Slow release fertilisers are always organic and due to this, they are broken down and taken up by plants gradually.

The choice is yours as to whether you opt for organic or inorganic food; the latter is faster acting and more concentrated than the former.

Common British annual weeds

Back in March we identified several common British perennial weeds. Those terrors dig their claws in and return year after year. They’re often difficult to eradicate. However, some common British annual weeds are equally as frustrating. These die back at the end of each year, so you’d think they’re less of a problem.

Unfortunately, annual weeds are often prolific with their seeds and can smother a garden quickly. The seeds can hide away too until the following year, when they burst into life when you’re not watching. As with our perennials post, we’re going to tell you the main methods for getting rid of these pests, then list the most common species.


How to deal with these common British annual weeds

Regular hoeing and weeding is the main course of action to deal with these weeds. Only hoe when the weather is warmer and dry, as plants can re-root into moist soil before they dehydrate on wet days.

As most weeds produce large numbers of seeds, this is a war of attrition. You’ll have to remain vigilant and weed regularly to eradicate these plants before they flower and set seed. If not, there seeds will continue to build up with time and they can swiftly smother your garden.

If you’re happy to use chemical controls, then as with perennials, this RHS list shows you the range available. Each RHS profile for these weeds will tell you how to chemically eradicate them in more detail. Links can be followed by simply clicking on the weed’s common name below.


The weeds

Annual meadow grass

By Rasbak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=95915

Latin name: Poa annua

Insight: One of many coarse grasses that can infest a lawn and spoil its look. Its seeds are often produced below the level of a mower blade so escape decapitation and lead to another year of infestation. The only solution is to fork the rough patches out, level and re-sow the soil with lawn seed as soon as feasible.



By Aiwok - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14748871

Latin name: Cardamine hirsuta or C. flexuosa

Other common names: Hairy bittercress or Wavy bittercress

Insight: Hairy bittercress is the annual, while the waxy form is perennial. Both produce explosive seedpods, and can often be imported on the soil surface of potted plants from garden centres. It loves damp conditions.



By I, Hugo.arg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2268301

Latin name: Stellaria media

Insight: This clumping weed has insignificant flowers which can develop into 1300 seeds per plant, within weeks of germinating.



By I, Hugo.arg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2264924

Latin name: Galium aparine

Other common names: Goosegrass, sticky willie

Insight: Stems can extend for 1m and the numerous seeds stick to the fur or clothes of passers-by. Each plant can produce up to 300-400 seeds.


Herb Robert

By Christer Johansson - Own work (File produced by Christer Johansson), CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=905827

Latin name: Geranium robertianum

Other common names: Red Robin, storksbill

Insight: A native relative of ornamental geraniums many gardeners delight in, this weed covers shady ground and develops pretty pink flowers of 8-12mm diameter. Unfortunately its seed pods explode, scattering the offspring far and wide.

cornus midwinter fire prune

RHS Pruning Group 7

Time for pruning group 7 from the Royal Horticultural Society. This group involves hard pruning shrubs and trees in one of two processes: pollarding or coppicing.



The safest time to perform this pruning is in February and March. At this stage the plant's energy is within the roots rather than the leaves and stems, so pruning them off won't cause it to weaken and potentially die.

Many people now prune those plants with colourful stems as late as mid-April, in order to enjoy the colour for longer.



Important to note first of all is that newly planted shrubs and trees should be left to establish for 1-2 years.

After this, you can either:

  • Pollard by cutting back all growth to 60-90cm from ground level
  • or Coppice by pruning back to 5-7.5cm above soil surface

Pinch out any sideshoots to encourage further branching, and apply a balanced general purpose fertiliser around the plants as directed. Do this each spring to bolster the fresh growth. Be sure to water well in dry summers, or else the new stems will suffer and be less dramatic.

After the first hard pruning, you can cut back to previous stubs either annually or every few years.



There are two reasons why we hard prune trees and shrubs that fall into group 7:

  • Vibrant new stems - these lose their colour as they age, so if left unpruned, these shrubs lose much of their charm
  • Larger leaves - older stems give smaller, less interestering foliage

Remember to prune in late winter/early spring, or you risk losing your plants altogether!


Prime examples

  • Cercis - for its leaves
  • Cornus sanguinea and C. alba - for colourful stems - prune every 2-3 years
  • Cotinus - for its leaves
  • Eucalyptus - for its leaves, much prized by florists and flower arrangers - not all varieties respond as well to hard pruning
  • Rubus cockburnianus (ornamental bramble) - for its white stems - cut right back to ground level every year
  • Salix (willow) - for its stems - prune annually
  • Sambucus (elder) - for its leaves


Hardiness zones

Are you someone who purchases plants and hopes for the best? Or do you like to know every detail, like how much sun, what soil type or how big they grow? We should always bear in mind “the right plant for the right place”. One such consideration is a plant’s hardiness. The UK and US hardiness zones exist to point both professional and private gardeners in the right direction when making informed decisions. After all, no one wants to plant out something stunning which will have vanished by the following spring!


A brief background

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces the American hardiness zones map, and it was they who created the definitive version back in 1960. The initial idea came about in the 1920s and 30s however.

It’s no surprise the US formulated the concept. They have a much larger land mass to oversee, composed of a wide range of temperatures. Zoning the continent creates a much quicker reference guide than having to look up each city individually. Director of the US National Arboretum Henry Skinner originally split his country into ten zones based on gradients of 10°F. In 1990, the USDA added Mexico and Canada. Additionally, officials split each zone in half, giving 5°F differences (labelled a and b). Two further zones have since been added (2012), giving 13 zones in total now. It's interesting to note how lower temperatures have shifted northwards. Does this evidence global warming or greater scientific accuracy?

A rival US zone map did exist, from the Arnold Arboretum, and this was in fact the older of the two. It fell out of use by 1990, leaving the USDA version as the basis of subsequent international maps, including our own UK copy. The Royal Horticultural Society devised its own Hardiness Ratings in 2012.


The RHS Hardiness Ratings

From a broader viewpoint, the UK only corresponds to American zones 7 to 10. Thanks to the North Atlantic Current, we have a temperate maritime climate – much milder than other countries on similar latitudes. This gives us more leeway in the plants we choose, but don’t be fooled. In elevated and exposed positions like the Pennines and Scottish Highlands, temperatures can still plummet to -20°C. Conversely, the Scilly Isles may experience lows of only 1°C in midwinter.

The RHS’s classification offers the British gardener a more in-depth perspective on plant hardiness. It separates the four US zones into nine ranks. H1a represents the most tender of specimens, the tropical exotics. This is followed by H1b and H1c, then 2 etc. H7 comes last and identifies plants fully hardy for the Brits.

Anything in the H1a zone will need constant protection indoors as it will only survive temperatures above 15°C.



What about our American readers?

If you could own properties at opposite ends of the North American continent, you could indulge in whichever plants took your fancy! More realistically, you’ll still find yourself limited by your local climate. Living in Alaska, you’ll have to deal with lows of -60°F (-51.1°C) which is zone 1a. There’s not much that can thrive in such harsh conditions.

Conversely, on the Hawaiian coasts you’ll experience temperatures bottoming out at 60°F (15.6°C), equating to zone 13a. This offers you great potential when it comes to lush tropical foliage, although your more temperate desires might be tempered.


Hardiness is all well and good, but it fails to take into account a plant’s drought tolerance – the opposite extreme. When it comes to this, as with all other factors, consider where the plant originates from. An alpine species will cope much better with extremes of temperature and light, while a native bog plant won’t enjoy too free draining a soil. Furthermore, the hardiness zones are no replacement to knowing your area well, as microclimates don’t enter the equation either.

Remember that hardiness zones are a guide to be employed, not a total substitute for understanding (much like closing your eyes while driving, just because the SatNav is talking at you).


Further information


RHS Pruning Group 6

Do you have shrubs in your garden which give you a show of blooms after midsummer? RHS Pruning Group 6 covers those plants which flower in late summer and autumn. As with other shrubs, you’ll want to take care pruning these at the right time, to avoid losing interest later on.



Group 6 shrubs should be pruned in spring, as early as possible. In effect this means March, and certainly no later than mid-April.



As with other groups, cut out any weak, damaged, diseased or dead shoots.

You’ll then need to prune back spent flower stems to within one or two buds of the woody framework.

Fuchsia can be cut back to near ground level, and it will send up strong new shoots.



Shrubs in pruning group 6 flower on new growth sent out through spring and summer. We prune them in early to mid-spring for two reasons. Firstly, it avoids the plant producing delicate new shoots while frosts may still hit. Frost could damage the young growth, delaying development for the new flowering season. Secondly, by pruning in spring we don’t cut off emerging flower buds, as we would after mid-April.


Shrubs in Pruning Group 6

One subshrub we use in our designs from Pruning Group 6 is Perovskia ‘Little Spire’.

Some other group 6 plants named by the RHS include:

  • Buddleja davidii
  • Caryopteris
  • Fuchsia
  • Spiraea japonica.

Don't work out, work outdoors

Our post Garden Trends for 2018 touched on the idea of “green gyms”. What exactly is a green gym and why should you seriously consider one? They revolve around this simple maxim: Don’t work out, work outdoors.

We don’t mean pack in your job and become a gardener – unless that’s what you yearn to do. Rather, there’s been a recent increase in awareness of the range of benefits gardening can provide. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 8 or 80, there’s something you can do outside that’ll benefit your health and wellbeing. Forget the dumbbells and cardio classes. Join the recreational revolution!


A range of beneficial gardening activities

In 2009 The Guardian reported that the Scottish government planned to invest over £300,000 into the establishment of green gyms. The award-winning health programme Green Gym™ is under the remit of The Conservation Volunteers and you can find more in-depth information on their website.

There was a 500% increase in the number of green gyms in London from 2011, and others have popped up around the nation. However, it’s sad to see there’s a dearth of these gyms outside of the capital. Check out the screenshot of Northern England below and you’ll see what I mean. But then again, perhaps it’s up to us to take more interest and get these free work-out sessions set up all around the UK? They’re free after all – no sign-up fees.

Green gyms


If you do find one local to you, you can expect to take part in a range of beneficial gardening activities. These may include digging and planting, sowing meadows and creating ponds. You’ll be instructed on the right way to complete the tasks, so there’s an educational element too.

The emphasis on health and fitness at green gyms is emphasised further by the inclusion of warm-up and cool-down exercises either side of the actual gardening activities.


What benefits can we expect?

The health benefits of gardening and green gyms are being extolled by the government itself nowadays. Some GPs are apparently already prescribing the gyms as a way of improving health holistically. Due to the proven physical, mental and social advantages of horticulture, the National Garden Scheme is itself calling for more medical professionals to prescribe it.

The New Economics Foundation recently created the Five Ways to Wellbeing for the government. These five elements are:

  • Connect
  • Keep learning
  • Take notice
  • Be active
  • Give


It doesn’t take much effort to see how neatly green gyms fit in with this guideline.

Some specific positives of green gyms listed on the TCV website are:

  1. A reduction in anxiety by 26%
  2. An improvement in wellness scores by one-fifth
  3. Halving of the risk of heart attack or stroke in those involved in this moderate physical activity
  4. Increased closeness to other people in the local community according to 80% of volunteers


And if you can’t access a green gym?

The benefits of gardening still apply! If you have your own garden, get into it. If not, how about helping out a friend or family member? You could apply for an allotment or work on a local community garden instead.

This webpage from The English Garden magazine shows a recent infographic drawn up by AXA PPP. It reveals how many calories are burnt per hour by just seven common gardening activities. In addition, it points out 11 body parts that gardening can strengthen.


So save yourself some cash this year. Cancel your gym membership and dig in with some horticultural activities, whether at home or with others.

Common British perennial weeds

Our gardens are under constant threat of invasion. The enemy? Several common British perennial weeds (not to mention the annuals we’ll see in a later article). As these are perennial, they have the nasty habit of hanging around whatever happens. It also renders their removal more difficult.


How to deal with these common British perennial weeds

Organically, the only real eradication method is digging out as much of these plants as possible. They often root deeply or spread widely, so this is no mean feat. If they’re rhizomatous – a rhizome being an underground spreading stem – it’s important to dig out as much of these rhizomes as you can. If they have deep tap roots, they can regenerate from its top part, so we must take out as long a segment of this as able.

Regular hoeing or cutting back of regrowth will significantly weaken the plants over time, but cannot guarantee complete removal. Similarly, you can weaken them by covering the flower bed with thick black polythene. Your prized plants must be carefully removed first however, ensuring no weed roots coming out with them. You’ll also have to leave the polythene in place for much of a year at least, to ensure effectiveness.

If you’re gardening in an eco-friendly way, persistence and patience are key.

If you’re happy to use chemical controls, then this RHS list shows you the range available. Each RHS profile for these perennial weeds will tell you how to chemically eradicate them in more detail. Links can be followed by simply clicking on the weed’s common name.


The weeds




By Frank Vincentz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2292789

Latin name: Rubus fruticosis agg.

Other common names: Blackberry

Insight: Stems can grow up to 2m in length and root when the tip touches the ground.



Couch grass

By Rasbak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=170853
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=331505

Latin name: Elymus repens

Other common names: Scutch grass, twitch grass

Insight: Spreading rhizomes which can tangle around the roots of other plants, making removal trickier.



Creeping buttercup

By Frank Vincentz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11871029

Latin name: Ranunculus repens

Insight: Runners develop from each leaf node, each forming a strong root network when touching the ground. Seeds and severed nodes also aid its spread.


Creeping thistle

By Isidre blanc - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37282015
By No machine-readable author provided. Rita~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=953061

Latin name: Cirsium arvense

Insight: It has a deep tap root as well as many seeds carried on the wind. Its roots also spread out and are brittle, meaning any snapped off during extraction can re-shoot easily.




CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=134740
By Andreas Trepte - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1989689

Latin name: Taraxacum officinale

Insight: We’re all familiar with its fluffy seed heads that fly around between March and October. It also possesses a deep tap root from which it can regenerate.




By Rasbak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=374147
By H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11040278

Latin name: either Rumex obtusifolius or R. crispus

Insight: It has a branching, thick tap root delving up to 90cm deep. Its seeds can survive in the soil for up to 50 years. Digging out at least the top 12-15cm of the tap root should however prevent the individual weed’s regrowth.



Ground elder

By Franz Xaver - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8024702
By Drahkrub. Attribution must include the URL http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Drahkrub. - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36561552

Latin name: Aegopodium podagraria

Other common names: Gout weed, bishop weed, jump-about

Insight: Another troublemaker that creeps via its rhizomes, needing careful digging out



Hedge bindweed

By Brosen - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=324598

Latin name: Calystegia sepium

Other common names: Bellbind

Insight: Its white trumpet-like flowers are pretty, but this is a major pest. Its rhizomes can spread up to 2m a year and the smallest segment of rhizome will regrow.




By de:User:Jutta234 - self taken foto, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2814457

Latin name: Equisetum arvense

Other common names: Mare’s tail

Insight: Easily recognisable as it resembles miniature pine forests. It’s the opposite of hedge bindweed, sending its roots up to 2m down into the earth. Its rhizomes spread quickly and up spring dense clumps of foliage.




By User:Gerhard Elsner - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1747136

Latin name: Hedera helix

Insight: This is invaluable to wildlife and has some uses, but it can smother both horizontal and vertical surfaces if uncontrolled. It’s self-clinging, and when creeping over the ground, it can root at frequent intervals.



Perennial nettles

By Rasbak from nl, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1762582
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=883223

Latin name: Urtica dioica

Insight: We all know these varmints from their sting. The roots creep under the surface and can send up shoots reaching a maximum of 1.2m in height.



Rosebay willowherb

By Immanuel Giel, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53672087

Latin name: Chamaenerion angustifolium

Other common names: Fireweed

Insight: This plant has attractive pink spires up to 1.5m tall; a white cultivar is available for the larger garden. As a weed, however, its fluffy seeds can fly around on the breeze. Again, its rhizomes spread too, although fortunately it roots shallowly.