The UK's Most Searched for Garden Weed Problems

The UK's Most Searched for Garden Weed Problems
The UK's Most Searched for Garden Weed Problems
Removing weeds can be a laborious task. Once you feel like you’ve got on top of them, these unwanted garden pests seem to crop up again and again, usually in the most challenging locations to remove them from.

From cracks in-between paving to a perfectly manicured lawn, weeds thrive in tight spaces, especially in the warmest months. So how can weeds be removed from your garden, driveway and patio without causing any damage? The Grass People took a seed list of the most common locations where weeds grow and analysed google searches, Reddit submissions and comments to discover the UK’s most searched for garden weed problems.

The most searched for locations to remove weeds from

Graphic showing which areas people search Google to remove weeds from the most

According to Google search volume data, Brits are searching to remove weeds from their patio the most, with 1,500 monthly searches for terms like “kill patio weeds”, “how to remove weeds from patio” and other related terms. Combined, patio weed removal keywords amount to 18,000 annual searches. With the sun shining and summer get-togethers in full swing, it’s no surprise that people want their patios to look tidy and free of unsightly weeds.

How to remove weeds from your patio?

Deep-rooted weeds (such as dandelion and dock) can be tricky to remove in the narrow cracks of a patio. The best way to get rid of patio weeds is by hand weeding. There are specific tools designed for weeding patios which have a blade on the end to get between the cracks of your paving. Our top tip is to invest in a good quality paving knife which you can purchase from most gardening supplies stores. If you are plagued by stubborn perennial weeds, and if there are lots of them, it’s easier for your knees and back if you use a long-handled knife. For shallower weeds, a wire paving brush works really well at removing them too!

How to remove weeds from your lawn or grass?

The second most searched for area to remove weeds from is grass, with 1,170 monthly searches. Whether it’s a patch of grass or a larger manicured plot, a broad leafed or spiky growth in the middle of grass looks unpleasant, so it’s unsurprising that Brits will want to keep their grass areas looking tip top.

And the location in third place is lawn, with 940 monthly searches for terms like “how to remove weeds from lawn” (350 monthly searches), “remove weeds from lawn” (250 monthly searches) and “how to kill weeds in lawn” (200 monthly searches) plus more.

Weeds with a ‘rosette’ foliage in the lawn can easily block the light to the grass, killing off a round patch below. Luckily weed control for your grass or lawn is simple.

Removing lawn weeds as and when they appear is an effective way to deal with them. And filling in the hole that’s left behind with fresh compost and lawn or grass seed makes for a quick fix.

There are 2 options for removing weeds from your grass. The first is to manually dig out the weeds or the second is to apply a chemical weed killer. You can use both methods if your lawn is established (at least 6 months old) but do not use any feed, weed or moss killer on a newly seeded lawn as this can have an adverse effect.

To remove unwanted weeds, we can use techniques such as aerating and scarifying the lawn or digging out the weeds with a spade and patching with grass seed.

Alternatively, you can apply chemicals such as Feed, Weed and Mosskiller which will provide nutrients to the grass and root system while killing off any undesirables in the lawn. Ensure you follow the instructions within the bag when applying. This weed killer usually takes around two weeks to work and can be easily recognised by the moss and weeds turning black. Simply scarify out the dead grasses and reseed if necessary.

Most talked about weed removal on Reddit

Graphic showing weeds with the most amount of comments and submissions

Google isn’t the only place online to find information on tough-to-remove weeds.

Reddit is also an active forum where weed loathers go to get some tips. Reddit was scraped for the same weed location removal terms searched for in Google to find out the most discussed locations, and the data shows that grass is the most talked about location to remove weeds from, with 1,177 submissions and comments on the topic.

Grass is closely followed by lawn, with a total of 673 submissions and discussions. Many of the people who take to Reddit for help are looking for real life solutions and not weed removal product suggestions that might come up in the search engine results pages. Also, the Reddit submissions and comments take on a more frustrated tone as a lot of these threads are from people who are either overrun with a lot of weeds or have tried multiple suggestions but are still being plagued by them.

Reddit’s most discussed types of weeds and how to remove them

Whilst many might refer to these garden pests as the catch all phrase of “weeds”, some searchers (or sufferers!) might know them by their name. This could be because they’ve been trying to remove a specific, difficult type of weed and need to consult the Reddit gurus.

We took a seed list of common British weeds and scraped Reddit for related submissions and comments around how to remove specific types of weeds.

According to Reddit submissions and comments, Couch grass, a very common perennial species of grass native to most of Europe, Asia, the Arctic biome, and northwest Africa, is the most talked about. Cough grass is a longer bladed type of weed, with wiry, underground stems that can crop up all over the place, especially near plants. And because it’s a perennial, it will require thorough eradication at the roots to get rid of it for good.

In second place as the most discussed is Black bent, a perennial grass that’s tall and tufted and can grow between 30–120 cm. Not as common as Couch grass but this garden enemy has still received 2,145 submissions about its removal. It can form dense patches within crops and if it remains in the soil surface after it sheds its seed, it can survive for at least 2 to 3 years. Removing this unwanted garden dweller requires spring cropping to exhaust the rhizomes of their energy reserves and cultivations on a regular basis, typically every 2 to 3 weeks.

The third most discussed weed that gardeners want banished is Black-grass. a native annual grass weed that occurs throughout the UK but is found mainly in the cereal growing areas of southern and eastern England. Some Black-grass populations have developed resistance to some widely used graminicides and this has contributed to an increase of the weed on conventional farms and suggests it is also persistent across the UK, with 1,738 submissions and comments about getting rid of it on Reddit.

The most searched for DIY weed removal methods

Ranking chart showing which types of weeds have received the most comments and submissions on reddit

As mentioned in the above paragraphs, some weeds are starting to become resistant to conventional weed killers and germicides, which might be why, alongside a growing popularity of organic gardening and weed control, some might be looking for alternative and DIY methods to remove weeds from around their homes.

The Grass People also looked at a seed list of common DIY methods to remove weeds; ranking them based upon total searches and mythbusted their effectiveness. These DIY weed removal methods include: bleach, vinegar, Jeyes Fluid, boiling water and salt.

Does bleach kill weeds?

The most searched for DIY weed removal keyword is “does bleach kill weeds”. Undiluted bleach can kill weeds growing through the cracks in your walkway or driveway. The best way to do this is to spray undiluted bleach on the weeds and let it stand. The solution will kill existing weeds and help prevent new ones from sprouting, but, be warned! Bleach will kill grass, flowers, and other vegetation as well, so be sure to use only on harder services and not organic matter.

Does salt kill weeds?

Salt can be effective as it kills plants by osmosis - it will draw the water from nearby plant cells, causing leaves (if applied by spraying) or roots (if watered in) to dry out and die. If you do spray salty water on plants, the leaves will brown but they might start to put out new growth, therefore, it is much more effective if it is watered into the soil to kill the roots as this will kill the whole plant. Again, gardeners, be aware, salt is more powerful than you might realise as it can kill off slugs, bacteria, fungus, insects and worms - all of which are part of your garden’s core ecosystem. If not applied wisely, it can also kill off neighbouring plants you’d rather keep alive and end up in surrounding soil!

Does vinegar kill weeds? ​​

Applying white vinegar to weeds between pavement cracks is an ideal way to kill unsightly plants. Mixing this with dish soap makes for a very potent and effective weed killing solution - the acetic acid in vinegar sucks out the water from the weed, which dries it up, while the dish soap breaks down the outside of the plant, helping the vinegar to penetrate it quicker. However, as with all DIY weed removal methods, this should never be used on your grass or lawn or other organic matter as it could turn yellow and die off.

Does boiling water kill weeds?

The effect of boiling water on a plant is pretty much instant: you will see it wilt and shrivel. However, this method will be wasting your time in the long run as plants are tenacious and have evolved to come back from fairly dire conditions. Boiling water is only slightly effective in that it might “kill” or wilt the plant from above, but the weed can survive by drawing on its root system below ground to regrow itself, so it will not be killed off permanently.

Does Jeyes Fluid kill weeds?

A diluted amount of Jeyes Fluid will kill plants, so ultimately, yes, this can kill weeds, however, it is a strong outdoor cleaner and is not recommended to be used on organic matter. This product is best used cautiously on tough outdoor surfaces like patios and paving and avoiding grass and plant matter. If we've missed any solutions or tips on weed removal, you can always email us at [email protected]

Methodology

Using AHREFS, search terms related to weed removal from particular locations and specific removal of weed types were exported to gather and total what the UK monthly search volume is for these terms. This seed list of keyword terms includes:

  • Kill WEED 
  • How to remove WEED
  • How to kill WEED
  • How to get rid of WEED
  • How to pull WEED 
  • How to stop WEED
  • Remove Weed
  • Weed Removal
  • Get rid of WEED
  • Pull WEED 

Where the search volume is less than 10 this has not been included in the data set. To discover the yearly search volume, the monthly figures have been multiplied by 12. These search results were then categorised and totalled based on what the term focused on. In cases of repeat search terms these have been combined and added to the total search volume. Data correct as of June 2022. 

For the Reddit scrape, the same search terms for weed removal from locations and weed types were scraped from Reddit submissions and comments via https://pushshift.io/api-parameters/, between 27/6/2022-29/6/2022 for the previous 30 days and then totalled to reveal which locations to remove weeds from and types of weeds to remove are talked about the most. 

The full raw data set can be found here.