These require maintenance staff to be able to distinguish between desirable and undesirable species, and kill the latter. This is only possible when staff are reliably able to make these distinctions. Many of the high costs associated with naturalistic herbaceous vegetation in Germany and Holland are generated by the practice of selective weeding, often at the seedling stage. Despite this, given skilled staff, selective weeding in spring can be highly cost-effective with plant communities that develop a dense foliage canopy later in the growing season. For weeds that cannot sensibly be controlled by physical removal, for example bindweed (Calystegia sepium), the spot application of glyphosate via a narrow paint brush or mini-wick wiper can be very effective.
Non-selective techniques applied to the community as a whole
These are largely borrowed from nature conservation practice, and during the past 10 years have been applied by the author and Nigel Dunnett to the management of naturalistic herbaceous plant communities. Although alien to traditional garden plant maintenance, they are often relatively inexpensive to undertake and, more importantly, because they are applied to the vegetation as a whole, it is not necessary for practitioners to be able to distinguish between desirable and undesirable species.
Cutting, raking up and removal of meadow vegetation in August
Defoliation at critical times to check the vigour of potential competitive