The Ground Elder Plant: A Complete Guide and Care Tips
Have you ever heard of the ground elder plant? If you haven’t, then let me tell you, it’s a notorious weed in the gardening world.
Once it takes hold in your garden, it can be challenging to remove.
However, with some care tips and a bit of patience, it’s possible to control this plant.
What is Ground Elder?
Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is a perennial weed that belongs to the carrot family.
It’s also called bishop’s goutweed or goutweed due to its medicinal properties for treating gout.
This invasive plant grows up to 100 cm tall with white flowers that bloom from May through June.
Why Is It A Problem?
The main problem with ground elder is its aggressive growth habit – once established; it rapidly spreads via underground rhizomes and forms dense patches of foliage that choke out other plants in the area.
- Sun-loving: Ground elder thrives in full sun but can tolerate partial shade as well.
- Growth Rate: Its fast-growing nature makes controlling spread challenging
- Biodiversity Issues: Dense patches hinder biodiversity by outcompeting other species for light and nutrients
Care Tips for Ground Elder Plant
- Mechanical Control Methods:You can control small colonies by hand weeding or hoeing before the flowering stage using a sharp trowel or fork to dig under roots- this ensures most roots are removed from soil but could take time if large patches exist.
Another method is to smother the plant by covering it with mulch or black plastic.
It will eventually die due to lack of sunlight.
- Chemical Control Methods:For large patches, you may need to use herbicides such as glyphosate or triclopyr for effective control.
However, be careful while using these chemicals since they are harmful and can damage other plants in the area.
- Maintain a Healthy Lawn:A well-managed lawn is less susceptible to weed infestation, including ground elder.
Ensure that you cut your grass regularly and remove any clippings that could harbor weeds.
- Cover Crops:You can prevent soil erosion and also minimize weed growth by growing cover crops such as clover, alfalfa during off-seasons – this improves soil structure and fertility while preventing ground elder from becoming established
The ground elder plant may be difficult to eradicate once it establishes a foothold in your garden.
- Mechanical methods like manually removing roots helps ensure most of the roots are removed from the soil
- Hoeing before flowering season or smothering with mulch/black plastic also works well for small colonies
If all else fails- larger patches may require chemical treatment such as herbicides like glyphosate or triclopyr- remember always read instructions carefully before applying them’ consistency is key along with maintaining healthy lawns by regular mowing & removal of clippings! By following these care tips, you should be able to keep this invasive species under control without too much trouble.