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Bergenia and ground elder

BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428

My large clump of lovely bergenias is riddled with ground elder. I know I'll have to lift the whole clump and try to remove every bit of white root ... but when should I do it? I love the winter foliage colours and the Spring flowers .... I would appreciate any advice or personal experience. Now or next Spring?



  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,999

    Hello Berkley

    If mine , I would be inclined to await for Springtime , by which time your lovely winter colouring foliage will have faded somewhat .

    I would lift all the roots and clean separately , carefully extracting the ground-elder , and making sure the area you have removed your Bergenia from is also free of it . They are a tough plant , and the odd broken root will have no ill-effect .

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,856

    The longer you leave it the more ground elder there will be.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,310

    IMHO you're on a hiding to nothing. 

    I think the roots will be so mixed together it'll take an age to sort them out ,and my guess is, you'll never get ALL the ground elder root out from the bergenia root. 

    It depends on how much you value your time.

    I'd either use roundup gel on the ground elder foliage, or dig the whole clump up and dump it and buy new bergenia.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,999


    Some positive answers there then !!image

  • SussexsunSussexsun Posts: 1,444

    My garden was covered in ground elder when we moved here 5 years ago.

    i left it till the spring and once it started growing and was very visible I spent weeks clearing it. I lifted what I could, cleaned roots and replanted, seived soil and removed clumps of soil that were really conjested with ground elder root. It took a lot of back breaking work and time and left me with over 20 sacks of ground elder to dispose of but I did manage to clear the infestation. I still get the odd shot of it pop up in spring mainly around the agapanthus as the clump was to big to lift and clean but that is easily dealt with.

    i also had it imy bergenia and that was an easier bit to clear. Mainly because it is easy to lift and very forgiving if you break the root. If you have the time and will to do it then it is worth doing.

    Last edited: 23 September 2017 10:13:31

    To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,058

    Ignore the post by Edgaras, Berkeley - it's spam image

    I'm inclined to agree with Hosta - the roots will be so tangled that it would be hard to separate it all successfully. I'd try weedkiller on the elder, and see how it goes, but it would be easier to tackle now rather than wait till new growth next year, as the weedkiller needs enough foliage to work on to be effective. 

    Depends how keen you are to keep the Bergenia you have though. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,999


    Just proves perserverance can lead to positive results ; I certainly wouldn't dump a plant I cherished because of ground-elder,  contrary to some of the advice given .

    Compared to a species like the dreaded 'Mare's Tail' , ground -elder is relatively easy to eradicate ; (subject to your soil of course) image.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,310

    Paul the OP didn't say it was " cherished"

    I merely gave the alternative to a very , very time consuming process.

    As sussexsun said "It took a lot of back breaking work and time"

    OP's garden, OP's plant, OP's choice. It matters not one jot to me. I merely gave alternatives.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,999

    To create and tame a garden usually does involve 'back-breaking work and time ' , that is what I do for a living .

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,310

    Paul says

    "To create and tame a garden usually does involve 'back-breaking work and time ' , that is what I do for a living ."

    I totally agree, and it's what I did for a living for over 25 years. But sometimes we can choose between hard and easy options, as in this case. 

    Is it worth spending £X worth of time to salvage something if a suitable replacement can be bought for less? 

    "Cherished" plants are a different thing altogether, obviously. 

    I'm not one for carrying passengers in my garden. They pay their way , or they're out. 

    However, I'd never presume to TELL anyone what they should or shouldn't do in theirs any more than I'd allow them to TELL me what I should and shouldn't do in mine.

    We all garden in our own way. I just think there are usually alternative approaches to most situations.

    Live and let live.

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