Ditch the Chemicals and Tackle Garden Weeds and Disease With These Eco-Friendly Practices

Mr Bill

Outside Looking In
Staff member
Jan 9, 2019
Diarmuid Gavin
February 2 2019 2:30 AM

We've got used to gardening in a certain way. We follow styles and a desire to tame nature, to grow perfect plants while valuing precision and a neat and tidy aesthetic. We hold these gardening principles dear and many of the chemicals which we use to kill weeds, green up lawns, eradicate moss, promote growth, extinguish insects or tackle diseases with have been our gardening aides for generations. Not all of these products are good for us or our planet.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup and other weedkillers, was given another five-year license by the EU in 2017, despite concerns being raised over its potentially carcinogenic properties. However, as we become more environmentally-aware it will become obvious to us that the use of many products which we purchase liberally is unsustainable.

Another threat to traditional gardening is the increase in plant diseases and pests arriving into Europe. Xylella fastidiosa is the latest bacteria to represent a potential major threat to the horticultural industry. Outbreaks so far in continental Europe have caused destruction to olive trees in Italy and it has spread to France and Spain. Many of our old favourites such as lavender and rosemary may also be at risk from this disease. Box blight has been a plague for some time now and if a plant cannot be grown without chemical intervention, should we drop it from our planting palette?

What will this mean? It will mean embracing gardens that aren't perfect. I forecast that habits and practices which are widely accepted now will be increasingly challenged.

In the meantime, we can do our bit in our own plots and reduce our reliance on chemical warfare. Here are some ways to go greener this year: