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2 questions from a newbie gardener


I have recently bought a house house with a decent sized garden that was ridiculously overgrown....not with weeds but an incredible amount of different plants. There was some lawn but two enormous borders filled with all manner of stuff like baby oak trees, ferns, apple trees, grasses, bulbs, loads of bushes and millions of things I can’t even begin to name.

Anyway we have decided to reclaim some lawn to allow our 2 yr old space to play so I have spent a lot (and I mean a lot) of man hours reducing the size of these borders and trying to keep what we want and moving other plants around etc. I’ve done my utmost to dig up roots and bulbs etc and rotivate the soil as best I can. I then seeded it wil grass seed.

I expected that the plants would come through as the weather warmed and that is the case. So I have the grass now growing but loads and loads of unwanted plants coming up too where my new grass should be. So my beginners question is what can I do to encourage the grass to grow and stop the other plants coming up as well. Is there a weed killer I can buy that will kill off the plants but not the grass? Ideally does anyone know one that is safe for a toddler to run about on whilst it is doing its thing? I’ve basically been using my strimmers to try to keep the ‘weeds’ down whilst the grass seed comes through in the home that the grass will eventually ‘out compete’ it or something. Any other advice for cheap ways to deal with this would be appreciated.

my second question is....can anyone identify the weed in my picture as it is everywhere in my garden (including where I want my grass to be)....and how can I kill this off?

thanks in advance!



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,251
    Hello Bryan,  Sorry, your photo hasn't appeared. Can you try again please?
  • guttiesgutties N. IrelandPosts: 224
    It's there OK for me Lizzie (not that I can answer his question, though!)
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,849
    I am so sorry Bryan but that is the dreaded ground elder and is virtually impossible to eradicate. Any tiny piece of root broken off will regrow. The best means of control is constant digging it out.
    There are selective weed killers for your lawn but they will not get rid of the ground elder as anything needed to kill that will also kill everything else.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Thanks for your answer!!!! Oh no!! Really!? That’s terrible news as this is absolutely EVERYWHERE!!! In all the borders and all over the lawn! 

    Guess I’ll just have to kill it off and start again!!!

    Thank you! :-)
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,849
    It is extremely invasive bryman so do not use your rotavator on it. You can get extremely strong herbicides that will help but don't go to the expense of seeding a new lawn until you can be sure it has all gone. Do some research online to find what will be best for you to use.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,601
    or you could use roundup. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life digging it out ( you won't win )
  • Thanks ladybird! Yes did some reading last night and it seems like a nightmare!

    I’ve already seeded unfortunately! Oh well lesson learned!!!!
  • Thanks Hostafan....yes I think I’ll do that. I’ve already spent a lot of hours digging up weeds and plants from these borders

    will something like roundup kill off everything under the soil?

    if long should I then leave it before re-seeding the grass do you think?

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,601
    @bryman6000 , it works best when there is sufficient leaf area for it to be absorbed, so you'll have to  treat the areas you've "cleared" once it starts to regrow. There is a gel form if you want to be very precise, and a ready mixed spray which is a bit frothy and doesn't spread everywhere. Read the instructions, use your common sense and don't be put off by internet paranoia.

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,849
    Some helpful information here:
    Any herbicide with glyphosate in it will kill any plant it comes into contact with but there is a gel form that can be 'painted' onto leaves of the target plant without affecting other wanted plants in the garden.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
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