Ground elder is an invasive weed that can quickly take over a garden or lawn. It’s important to get rid of Ground elder before it becomes too established, as it can be difficult to remove once it’s established.

There are several ways to get rid of Ground elder, including:

  • using herbicides
  • manual removal
  • mulching

Choose the method that best suits your needs and get rid of Ground elder before it takes over your garden.

What is ground elder and why should you get rid of it

Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is a fast-growing, invasive plant that can quickly overrun a garden. It is a herbaceous perennial that is often considered a weed. It is native to Europe and Asia, but has been introduced to North America in the 1800s as an ornamental plant, where it is now considered invasive.

Ground elder can grow up to 1.5 m tall and has large, triangular leaves. The small white flowers are borne in clusters and have a sweet, honey-like scent.

Ground elder reproduces by seed and also spreads aggressively via underground rhizomes.

This makes it difficult to control once it has become established in an area. Ground elder can quickly take over a garden, crowding out other plants and preventing them from receiving the sunlight, water, and nutrients they need to thrive.

If you suspect that Ground elder is present in your garden, it is important to take action immediately to prevent it from spreading further. There are several effective methods of controlling Ground elder, including digging up the roots and rhizomes, applying an herbicide directly to the leaves, or smothering it with a thick layer of mulch.

Taking these steps will help to keep your garden healthy and free of this aggressive invader.

Closeup of blooming ground elder, Aegopodium podagraria - get rid of Ground elder
Closeup of blooming ground elder, Aegopodium podagraria – get rid of Ground elder

How to identify Ground elder

Ground elder is a perennial weed that can be difficult to control. It has dark green, triangular leaves that are arranged in a rosette pattern. The leaves are deeply lobed and have a hairy texture. The flowers are small and white, and they grow in clusters. Ground elder prefers to grow in shady, damp areas, such as along fences or in corners of gardens. 

Not only does it compete with other plants for space and resources, but it also produces a foul-smelling sap that can irritate the skin.

It also produces a large number of seeds, which are spread by birds and other animals. The plant spreads rapidly by producing underground runners, or stolons. These stolons can produce new plants up to 20 feet away from the parent plant.

Ground elder is most commonly found in damp, shady areas such as woods, hedges, and flower beds. If you suspect that ground elder is present in your garden, it is important to take action immediately to prevent the plant from spreading further.

Benefits of Getting Rid of Ground Elder

Getting rid of Ground elder can be a real challenge. However, there are some benefits to taking on this task. Ground elder is very competitive, and it can crowd out other plants, including native wildflowers.

In addition, Ground elder is known to harbour pests and diseases, which can harm other plants in your garden. While it may not be easy, getting rid of Ground elder can help to protect the health of your garden.

Here are some benefits of getting rid of Ground elder:

  • Prevents the weed from spreading and taking over the garden or lawn
  • Makes it easier to remove once it’s established
  • Allows for better growth of desired plants
Infestation of Ground elder alongside a border - get rid of Ground elder
Infestation of Ground elder alongside a border

How to Remove Ground Elder

Herbicides: Apply a broadleaf herbicide to the leaves of the Ground elder. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.

Manual removal: Dig up the Ground elder plants, being careful to get all of the roots. This can be difficult, so it’s best to wait until the plant is young and small.

Mulching: Cover the Ground elder with a thick layer of mulch. This will smother the plant and prevent it from growing. Be sure to use a weed-resistant mulch, such as black plastic.

How to prevent Ground elder from taking over your garden in the future

The best way to prevent Ground elder from taking over your garden in the future is to remove it as soon as you see it. It can be difficult to remove Ground elder once it has established itself, so it’s important to nip it in the bud early on.

You can dig up Ground elder using a spade or hoe, making sure to get all of the roots. You may need to repeat this process several times, as Ground elder can regrow from even small pieces of root.

Once you have removed all of the Ground elder from your garden, you should take steps to prevent them from returning. This includes keeping your garden free of weeds and debris and regularly inspecting for Ground elder growth. With a little effort, you can keep your garden Ground elder-free.

In conclusion

Regular weeding and mulching can help to suppress its growth, and it can also be effectively controlled with herbicides. However, Ground elder is not without its benefits. Its rapid growth means that it can quickly colonize bare Ground, preventing soil erosion and providing food and shelter for wildlife.

In addition, its deep roots make it effective at breaking up compacted soil and improving drainage and aeration. As a result, Ground elder can be both a curse and a blessing depending on the situation.

Want to know more about Ground elder removal?

Knotweed Removal aims to provide the most up-to-date information, help, and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain about how to proceed, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.

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