Ground Elder for a beginner



I've been reading all the threads on ground elder so I know I might be at risk of going over old ground with this topic.  We moved here 6 months ago.  It is a big garden with lots of work needing doing and I think I have found ground elder in a rather large flower bed.  I've not come across it before, but whatever it is, the bed is riddled with it.  I don't think it's been weeded for about 2 years so I have a job on my hands.  Anyway, my question is how to deal with it in a bed with quite a few established plants.  There are 2 mini trees in it and lots of rose bushes and a fair few bulbs.  The stuff I've read is dig up all the plants, wash the roots, plant them in pots and tackle the bed organically or with weed killer.  I don't really want to dig up all the plants and am quite desperate to get some of my plants out of pots back into beds as some of them have been waiting over a year to go back into the ground.  I'm a busy mum with too much to do so I probably won't be weeding as often as I need to, so what is the best method and when?



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,231

    Lots of people just live with the ground elder Emma, spray/paint what you can without letting in get on the plants you wany to keep. Pull off/dig up where you can't spray and put up with the rest. It doesn't give up easily

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,622

    I agree with nutcutlet - unless you're a perfectionist it's perfectly possible to live with it.  Before long it will flower - chop the flowers off before they seed image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Oh dear, we have exactly the same problem.  My partner and I both work long hours, full time, so have very little time for weeding the ground elder.  I would say that if it's only in one bed, get rid of it no matter the time it takes because it spreads VERY quickly elsewhere! 

    Roundup is okay but doesn't work quickly or 100%.  The only effective (but time consuming and annoying) way I have found is to dig out all the roots.  It really will grow from the tiniest bit of root so be thorough.  They're quite easy to identify but I did mistake a baby tree paeonie for ground elder the other day and quickly replanted it!

    If you need any moral support or advice, just let me know.  We have ground elder throughout the front garden and around 3 of the 4 edges of the back garden (over 200ft in total!) 




  • Emma179Emma179 Posts: 22

    Thanks all for the replies.  I intend to dig it over as best I can but odds are I'm going to miss bits so might try the weedkiller as well.  Is there a best time of year to use weedkiller?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,726

    The advice here is spot on Emma. The best time to apply is when there's something to put it on, so wait till you can clearly see some growth. You'll need to keep on top of it and apply throughout the year, as well as pulling out where you can etc, but it's the way it is with most of these types of weed unfortunately. image

  • Hello, I was advised once by a professional gardener the best way to get rid of ground elder is weedkiller, the best way to apply is to wait until they are just about to flower as all the energy is going into making the flower which puts the plant at a weeker stage and less likely to fight off the weed killer, bash the plant a lot to bruise and damage it further to weaken the plant further again, and then apply the weedkiller, the plant will be very week from producing flowers and also from being bashed and bruised  it will not be able to fight off the weedkiller as easily.

    Ive not tried it but it kinda makes sense to me.

    Good luck


  • XX Posts: 707

    Hi Emma, I managed to get rid of it in a border by removing all the plants and then sieving the soil down to about a spade and a half depth, hard work but got rid of it completely for about 3 years and its only just coming back in a small area but I think that's coming under the fence from next door.  Sieving the soil did the border a massive favour, everything that got put back in the border took off like a rocket!  Weed killer is probably the next best option.

  • Emma179Emma179 Posts: 22

    Thanks again all for responses.  A lot of good advice here image  Now the hard work begins!

  • bizzybee 2bizzybee 2 Posts: 18

    I think I've managed to get on top of my ground elder problem.  I waited until the leaves uncurled and then sprayed them with Roundup, as advised.  It's the second year I've sprayed, and they are coming up much less.  Be careful not to let the spray drift onto other plants, but if they are quite woody stemmed plants, they will be ok.  Keep looking amongst the surrounding plants during the spring and summer, and spray each leaf you find as it appears.  I have a totally unkempt garden next to mine and am constantly fighting ground elder, brambles, ivy  and worst of all - bindweed!  Good luck.

  • Emma179Emma179 Posts: 22

    Thanks.  I've sprayed them with some stuff recommended by the garden centre but it is in amongst so many plants I couldn't be thorough.  I think I might have to just try weeding it out as well and get to know the bed a bit better and what all the other plants are.  I'm a bit of an amateur if I'm honest!

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