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Ground Elder

Evening All. A query for all you plantsmen.

I have a customer on my mow and go round that has an  infestation of Ground Elder, I can't say I noticed it last year but I've not been there all winter and although I don't want to get involved, it appears to be spreading from next door. . He asked me what it was as I was cutting his lawn and he was planting some shrubs. I broke the news to him and I just know that on my next visit he'll ask me how to get rid of it. As I say, I mow and go this property and really don't want to end up doing the borders, pruning etc. so any advice I can pass onto him will be much appreciated. He doesnt mind a bit of digging but I fear this will be too much for him, he also tries to be organic although he uses pesticides at the front of his house so I don't think that is set in stone. Thanks all.

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  • PRO

    Maybe im a sadist but I love digging out ground elder and chasing the roots. He could use some weedol spray and just target the leaves but it will take a few applications over a period of time to get good results.

    • Technically, you're a masochist if YOU do the digging!

  • Trying to dig it out is fairly futile..... anything with Triclopyr is effective eg Garlon, Blaster and in the garden centres etc you can get "SBK Brushwood killer" I've got rid of huge areas of groundelder with just one treatment.

  • PRO

    Thanks for the replies, guys. I will pass it on. My customer is (an active) pensioner but I can't see him digging it out successfully so the garden centre is the likely option. Thanks again.

  • Digging out ground elder has worked for me in the past. It is time consuming and a real devil in clay as you do have to get all the root out. The main problem is where it has tangled itself amongst the roots of plants you want to keep. That would be the time for spot on weed killer. But in both cases the important thing is to keep an eye out for small regrowth and remove those as soon as you see them.

  • PRO

    DIgging it out is the best, especially if he wants to plant up the area with anything else - once you've dug it up then light weeding to get out the bits you missed. Using Roundup or anyother chemical will leave the root mat behind preventing anything else taking hold for years.

  • I'm with Dave Colton on this one, I find it quite satisfying digging out ground elder, especially following the small roots back to the big "mother" roots - if you can get those out you're half way there. I've been doing a lot of that this week. But it's is only practical for small to medium sized borders really, and you do have to get every little bit of it out. And it may take a couple of seasons. Chemical warfare is probably the only way to go for big areas, or maybe a combination of chemicals and digging? If it's in a lawn then repeated mowing will soon see it off.

  • Digging it out is possible but takes repeated times. Not all ways possible if it's growing through other plants.

  • PRO

    I agree with the digging it out principle. It is weirdly satisfying when you get out a massive fat long root of it, but so frustrating when you can't get it out because it's tangled in with a plant's roots. We don't have a lot of clay in my area so getting it out of lighter soils with digging is much easier than spraying I'd have thought to be honest. You want to get the roots out so you are free to replace it with proper plants too, but it does take a lot of persistence and patience to treat I agree.

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