Common Garden Problems

Common Garden Problems

Beautiful, but a hundred potential weeds.


There are two types of weeds. – The weed which can easily be controlled through hoeing (e.g. annuals like plantains and the persistent perennial weeds – horsetail, bindweed and japanese knotweed. These latter group of weeds need a persistent and determined strategy to rid your garden of them. It takes a combination of deep digging their roots, and then spraying or hoeing off new growth until they are finally defeated.

In the case of weeds like horsetail, it can really test your patience as it can be years of weeding before you clear the garden of it.

Other weeds still require regular maintenance to keep down. If possible follow the good old advice of hoeing before they set seeding or as the saying goes – one years weeding = seven years weeding


Here is a common garden problem – not enough time to do what we need to do. – Weeds allowed to grow, grass too long and weedy, plants not deadheaded and a general feeling of neglect. Don’t feel too bad, nature doesn’t have a gardener, and nature doesn’t do too bad. Try to enjoy the natural aspect of the garden, even the weeds can be quite nice, if we don’t worry too much. But, if you can find a bit more time for regular maintenance you will get much more joy from the garden.

Though another less well addressed common garden problem is that of the stressed gardener. Don’t try to do everything and be perfect. There is more to the garden than immaculate edges and 100% weed free soil…

Slugs and Snails.

Slugs and snails thrive in warm damp conditions. After a heavy rainfall, you may see you garden full of slugs and snails, – they can literally take over the garden. Certain plants are at high risk of getting eaten by these pesky little creatures. Unfortunately, these are often the most precious plants – your prize delphiniums. But, they are a real menace when it comes to young seedlings. It is the most common reason for why young seedlings sown direct suddenly disappear. However, this is a problem that can be contained.

  • Protecting key plants and seedlings by growing in pots for first few weeks.
  • Encouraging natural predators like frogs, thrushes and other birds into the garden. Frogs in particular are voracious eaters of slugs.
  • Using nematodes bio control to reduce slug populations. May and September are great months for applying these nematodes.
  • If these organic methods fail, then you can always resort to the slug pellet.

Fallen plants.

After going to all the trouble of growing and raising plants, we often fail at the last hurdle which is to provide adequate staking. Rather than seeing proud heads of peonies and delphiniums, we see a sorry sight of heavy buds drooping to the floor. Staking doesn’t have to be hard work and unsightly, make use of natural pea sticks where appropriate. For plants like Sweet peas and tomatoes staking and tying in should be seen as indispensable to the growing process.

Dry Garden.

In the garden we try to grow a variety of plants in a tight space. We are also trying to grow some plants out of their natural habitat. Water is essential for plants, and becomes even more important during flowering / cropping season. Without adequate water, we can see vegetables bolt, drop their fruit and plants fail to flower or even worse die. The secret to good watering is to think ahead and not wait for the grass to turn brown. Also if we follow certain procedures we can limit the amount of watering needed. Rather than fight nature we can work with nature (e.g. mulching, growing the right plants in hot dry conditions.)

See: Watering tips

The Attack of the Insects.

It is worth bearing in mind, the garden is home to many beneficial insects. For every bad insect there is one ‘good’ insect. For example, for the aphid we have both the ladybird and hoverfly which will eat the aphid. However, if unchecked we can wake up one day to see some of our favourite plants attacked with a colony of aphids / blackly. It may not be as terminal as it looks. Plants are resilient and can survive even a colony of aphids. But, they can spread disease so we have to be careful, especially with plants like tomatoes and roses which are prone to mildew and other diseases.

See: Methods of dealing with greenfly

Too Much Shade

A garden can be diminished by an excess of shade. Especially when this is a dry, infertile shade caused by excessive growth of trees which are not suitable for the small garden. A common problem could be the Leylandii Cypress or a tree which is too big. See: trees suitable for the small garden.

Disputes between Wife and Husband.

“but it’s a weed” – “O No, it isn’t!”

That’s a conversation I often hear in my parents garden. Now the conversation is usually quite amicable, but, people can have different ideas about what constitutes a weed. (see: Definition of Weed) Other problems could revolve around leaving things for someone else to pick up e.t.c.


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