Forum home Plants

A Ground Elder problem

JetmorganJetmorgan Posts: 79

I have a lot of Ground Elder in my garden, which is coming through from my neighbour, who isn't that interested in her garden much by the seem of things. I have been digging over the patches as best I can removing as much of the plant & roots as I can. I have very heavy clay soil which I'm trying to improve little by little with compost, horse muck and grit and where I have improved the soil a little the Ground Elder doesn't seem to be growing back very much.

Does Ground Elder prefer heavy clay soils rather than better drained soils???


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,658

    I think it's just a lot easier to fork up out of a humus rich soil than solid clay. Twitch (couch grass) is the same. You fork it, but a bit stays in the clump of clay and then grows again.  Keep piling on the compost etc. It will get easier.

     If your neighbour doesn't like gardening, maybe he/she will let you put weedkiller on the elder on her side, so it doesn't cause you a nuisance.

  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    Same soil and same problem here, jetmorgan!  I'd suggest weedkiller (glyphosate) if you can get at it.  But if not (for example if it is coming up among your favourite plants) then the best thing I've found is to just keep on putting mulch on top - compost or leaf mould is brilliant.  The ground elder still comes up through, but its roots can't get a good purchase on the lovely loose mulch layer so they are easy to gently pull up - you can get loads up in one gentle go, like spaghetti!  Very rewarding.  It did take us two or three years of mulching for it to really work well, but we now have one border almost entirely clear of the dratted stuff, and another nearly done.  The bit of the garden that we don't mulch is still heavy clay and ground elder is still thriving in it.

    By the way, do you know you can add its leaves to salads?  Young leaves best.  It makes me feel a little more charitable towards it....but NOT MUCH!

  • dogfishdogfish Posts: 13

    i've got the same problem, only i have neighbours on both sides who don't do gardening, and ground elder is endemic to our area, so getting rid of it for good is probably never going to be an option. (i've considered asking both sides if they want help, but have a feeling that once i do, i'll be expected to keep on doing it and i really can't afford to be gardening for free for all and sundry!)

    when i moved in i had a whole garden covered in the horrid stuff, i've now managed to push it back to the 'wild' area at the back of my garden and use a combination of rooting it out and spraying. where it comes up in the lawn i've used sbk, as it doesn't seem to damage the grass, but keeps on top of the ground elder, borage, nettles and brambles.

    on the worst area by the house i gave up trying to keep it clear and instead used weed membrane and gravels to create a patio type area where i keep my potted plants. occasionally i get a bit of ground elder popping it's leaves up but a bit of glyphosate painted on seems to do the trick and i've even felt brave enough to start planting up through holes cut into the membrane.

Sign In or Register to comment.