Use tools carefully to remove weeds. Learn the difference between an annual and a perennial weed.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Learn how to use tools for weeding
  • Learn how to tell the difference between a weed 
  • Begin to tell the difference between and annual and a perennial weed

Essential background information


Gather gloves and tools you will need and make sure children are familiar with tool safety – See Tool Safety Activity.

Print out the Flowering weeds spotter guide. Read over this and ensure you can identify the weeds before carrying out this activity. Show students what the weeds look like and how best to remove them. 


Step by step

  1. Point out the crops that you want to grow. Make sure the students are aware these must not to be pulled up! 
  2. Use strings between 2 sticks either end of the row to draw attention to the crop rows. You can weed safely between the rows.
  3. Point out the main weeds. Dig up examples and pass them around to the students.  Point out their key features such as running roots, or heart shaped seed heads.
  4. Using hand forks loosen the soil and remove weeds, making sure you pull out all the roots as well as shoots. Concentrate between rows at first. Shake the soil gently off the roots, leaving the soil in the beds, place weeds in bucket.
  5. Try to separate the ’good’ weeds that can be composted – (annual weeds with small fine hair- like roots), from those ‘bad’ weeds with thick or running roots, (perennials) that are best left out of the compost system.
  6. Use hoes on areas where there are no crops/plants growing or where crops/plants are well established. Push and pull the hoe back and forth just below the soil surface, to cut off the weed tops from the roots.
  7. Empty buckets of good weeds onto the compost, but bag up perennial weeds to rot down further or remove off site.
  8. Clean off soil from tools with a brush.

Hints & tips

  • Have a competition for the longest weed root or fullest bucket 
  • Make a be-heading block where weed seeds or roots are cut off!

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