‘Make weeding as painless as possible’ - Expert offers gardening tips for people with serious lung conditions

Landscape gardener David Shortall

Eilish O'Regan

Award-winning landscape gardener David Shortall has some tips for people whose health is impacted by serious lung conditions, as well as others who may be affected by illness.

When it comes to weeding, make it as painless as possible, he will tell a free webinar organised for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) early next month.

He advises covering the ground in bark mulch.

“Just lay down some cardboard and then spread bark on top, which will significantly reduce the number of weeds coming up.”​

He also has a good alternative to weed killer.

“Using household vinegar will burn weeds on your patio, driveway or footpath cracks. Spray or squirt liberally over the weeds and watch them disappear,” he said.

“If mulch or vinegar isn’t suitable for the job at hand, simply get stuck in with a hand trowel and root out the remaining weeds.

“It’s a good workout and you’ll get plenty of fresh air. Finally, if the above is too arduous, ask yourself is it a weed or is it a wildflower? Maybe leave a patch and see the flowers grow!”

Mr Shortall is among a number of speakers at the webinar Living Your Best Life with COPD, which will take place on Friday, April 7.​

He said epsom salts, usually used in a bath and available from any chemist, contain magnesium which is essential for plant growth. Potted and container plants benefit most from this.

Dilute some salts in tepid water in a watering can and get your workout as you improve the health of your plants.

He also suggests adopting a more natural look in the garden, by introducing wildflowers and not cutting the whole lawn.

Other speakers at the event include Operation Transformation psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy and chef Adrian Martin, while the webinar will be introduced by Miss Ireland Dr Ivanna McMahon.

The webinar, organised by COPD Support Ireland, aims to offer lots of practical tips on the lifestyle changes people with COPD can make to enhance their quality of life.

An estimated 380,000 people are living with COPD in Ireland.

Key symptoms are ongoing breathlessness and a persistent cough, with or without phlegm.

While smoking is a common cause, other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, inhalation of dust, chemicals and fumes, living with an existing condition such as chronic asthma, and having a family history of certain lung-related illnesses.

Dr Murphy said: “My hope is that people will go away with a newly found meaning and purpose to life, and practical steps that they can take to really make a difference in living their best lives with COPD.”

To register for the webinar Living Your Best Life with COPD visit www.copd.ie.