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  • The Halachot of Shmitta and Yovel

Uprooting weeds in Shmitta


Rabbi David Sperling

Kislev 27, 5775
I have some trees in pots outside, and there are very fast growing weeds also in the pots. Can I uproot the weeds from the pots? I have no idea as to whether the weeds will kill the trees or not.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Weeding is one of the activities that are forbidden during the Shmittah year. None the less, there are certain leniencies. In cases where the weeds pose a threat to the life of the tree (or will do so in the future if not taken care of) then they may be removed. As to how the weeding should be done, the order of preference is as follows – 1. A spray to prevent the growth of the weeds. 2. A spray to kill the weeds that have already grown. 3. Cutting the weeds above the ground. 4. Uprooting the weeds with the use of a implement. 5. Uprooting the weeds by hand. If the weeds do not pose a threat to the life of the tree, but only an aesthetic problem of not looking nice, they may be cut off above the ground. You should try to get some advice as to what threat your weeds pose to the trees, and then apply the rules mentioned above. Blessings.
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