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Plants keep growing back

bhupsbhups Posts: 4

I have an issue with this plant which keeps coming back no matter how much i pick it out.
Can anyone tell me what it is and/or how to get rid of it?

It's close to my strawberry's and so looks very similar to that leaf.



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,384
    edited March 2021
    Unfortunately, it is Ground elder, a particularly pernicious weed.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • bhupsbhups Posts: 4
    Thank you @BobTheGardener

    I'll try lay down some black polythene it and see if it will get rid of it eventually as suggested on the site.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,537
    You can win but it takes time, patience and persistence! The roots run everywhere, creating new plants on the way and this give it great resilience because the plants are interconnected and it can get food from its support network, even if some plants cannot photosynthesise.
    What works for me is this.
    First loosen the soil with a large fork - the roots go deep. Then starting from a green bit, track each and every root as far as you can, and remove it. Usually it will connect with several other plants, giving you new avenues to follow - a bit like a good detective story! Make sure you get the purply centre of each plant, but if you can't, because it has grown in the middle of a clump of something you want, then remove every bit of leaf you can. If there are stones, rocks, logs or paving flags nearby, lift them and look underneath. You will likely find a mesh of white roots like spaghetti, so get them out! It can feel very satisfying to track them all down.
    When you have cleared the area, leave it for a week or two. After this you will be able to see new shoots from bits you missed - almost inevitable, because every tiny bit of root  left behind can make a new plant. Get rid of all of them and fork the soil over thoroughly.
    After this just keep a watchful eye on your clean patch and remove any new plants you spot straight away. Do not let plants flower and set seed in your garden and check boundaries in case it is coming in from outside. If all else fails you can eat it. Haven't tried it myself but my sheep quite like it :)
  • didywdidyw Posts: 3,533
    I spent a lot of lockdown last year pulling up ground elder roots. As @Buttercupdays says, it can be immensely satisfying.  And am resigned to having to dig it up again and again as it really does root from the tiniest bit of root.  The roots have a pleasant smell and yes, you can eat the young leaves.  We tried it in salad.
    Gardening in East Suffolk on dry sandy soil.
  • The good news is that if you keep at it, they should be easier and easier to pull out as the soil will be worked.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,686
    You need a kneeling pad, a hand fork, a transistor radio, slightly damp soil, a bucket for collecting the dug up roots and hours and hours of time. My ground elder is virtually eliminated.
    Rutland, England
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