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Ground elder: can I get rid of it effectively in an environmentally friendly way?

(9 Posts)
Scrumplet Sun 10-May-09 14:06:47

Exactly that. It's come up again this year, and in more places around the garden, but I'm reluctant to use weedkiller all over the place. Any ingenius tips? Other than endless, back-breaking digging, which doesn't seem to work that well. Thanks.

ihatethecold Sun 10-May-09 17:02:07

burn your garden down grin. only joking it drives me nuts aswell. i dont even think weedkillers work on it as it has runners under the soil which spread into a new plant every time you stick your trowel in..

MoominMymbleandMy Sun 10-May-09 17:08:50

I have got rid of it just by pulling it up and digging it out whenever I see it.

But it did take a couple of years and I only have a small town garden.

Tangle Sun 10-May-09 20:10:33

What kind of soil have you got? I had ground elder in about 1" of soil over clay and decided I was just going to have to live with it (along with the bindweed, hogweed, creeping thistle...) - but my sister had a very light sandy soil and she could get intact bindweed root networks out that went on for miles!

Digging can work but you'll need to get out every scrap of root, and the stickier your soil the harder that gets. Other than that you are down to weedkiller which should work, but make sure you use a systemic one and don't clear the top growth till its well and truly dead - I usually find the paint-on ones (like Tumbleweed gel) to be the most controllable and effective.

Ground elder is a pernicious things though

Scrumplet Mon 11-May-09 00:59:14

Thanks for posts.

I have a big garden, and a lot of ground elder. It's crept up on me over the past few years, and my personal life has been such that I haven't been able to rein it in during this time; it just hasn't been a priority.

We have chalky soil, Tangle, so somewhere between the two - it can come up OK, but not always really easily. I think I might try the Tumbleweed approach next. We've tried Round-up on it, to no avail really.

I feel if I don't do something soon, it could end up taking over the garden.

Useful responses - thanks.

midnightexpress Mon 11-May-09 09:26:44

Ahem. Not very green, but you can get heavier duty Round-up than what they sell in garden centres (even the roudup gold, or whatver it's called). We got some from a grass seed merchant recommended by a professional garden landscaper, as we had a derelict plot that was waist high in brambles when we moved in. It's used by things like forestry organisations. It's still a glyphosate systemic weedkiller though, so it supposedly breaks down in contact with the soil. We used it and it did get rid of the majority of the perennial weeds (though we still have the brambles coming through this year. Post nuclear holocaust it'll be brambles and cockroaches, I tell you).

Tangle Mon 11-May-09 10:06:27

I guess you could also get a bottle of concentrate and make it stronger than standard (assuming you can still buy bottles of concentrate...)...

Depending on how energetic you feel I might be inclined to try a two pronged approach - do the best you can digging it out but be ready with the weedkiller of your choice to attack the inevitable bits that survive the purge, and keep on at them any time you see a green bit.

Or you could go for the not very aesthetic but labour and chemical saving version of cover it all up with an old carpet and leave for a year or two...

Clwc Fri 19-Jun-09 12:09:22

You probably don't check this thread anymore, but I once read that marigolds fend off ground elder. I've never tried it myself though, so can't guarantee success.

prettybird Fri 19-Jun-09 23:28:17

We inherited a large neglected garden, which was infested with ground elder, when we moved into our house 10 years ago.

I found that the only thing that really worked was digging the garden over thourgouhly, espcially in winter/when the other platns were dormant. I got very good at identifying ground elder roots grin. I did however have to forego gardening in gloves, even though I was pregant with ds (this was 9 years ago) as they best way to ensure that I got every last bit of root was to feel with my fingers.

I took the view that I had lived with cats all my life, with them sharing my bed at night, so I was almost definitely immune to toxoplasmosis! hmm

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