Garden SOS

Good morning,

we we have recently bought a new house.  Our garden is not huge, but is massively over grown and has fallen victim to ground elder.  

We were thinking of getting the garden professionally cleared, but we have decided to try and tackle it ourselves.  It will be a long term project, but I am keen to clear as much as possible to let our children be able to use the grass areas (once we have managed to cut the grass).

what is the best way to start? A strong weed killer followed by a strummer and fork?  What weed killers are pet and child friendly?  Am I best to apply the weed killer in the evening?

any advice gratefully be received!




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  • mushermusher Posts: 390

    Yes Emelie you've got your work cut . I would  strim it first with a petrol driven strimmer. Have a mutch round first because you may have shrubs and plants in the under growth that are crying out to be set free. They''ll get you off to a good start. Also you can avoid them with your weed killers.They don't discrimanate they'll kill your benefical plants to.

    Systemic weed killers once applied to weeds. Shouldn't  be a problem to kids. But pets theres always the risk they'll chew on them.

    If theres a lawn that needs a killer it usually comes in the form of pellets. And takes usually fortnight to do its job.Because of residue on the ground i wouldn't have your kids and pets rolling about on it. 

  • EmelieEmelie Posts: 5

    imageThanks for the advice! This is a closer shot of what i think is ground elder.  

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 5,886

    That is indeed some mighty ground elder.

    As musher says you don't want to kill any nice wee treasures that have been buried so look underneath or chop it down a bit before you spray everything. Do a wee bit at a time and see what you've got. It's easy to be overwhelmed but don't be. I've seen worse! image

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 4,316

    What a lovely healthy ground elder crop you have, Emelie!  image  It was introduced by the Romans as a food crop, and apparently (I've never tried) the very young leaves and stems are delicious fried in olive oil.  However, you probably don't want to keep it for that purpose...

    It's possible to dig up ground elder if it's not rooted into paths etc, and your soil is very light.  We eradicated it from our first garden, in Cambridgeshire - very satisfying digging up yards & yards of root!  But I've never managed that in any other garden.  So you'll probably want to resort to chemical control at least in part.

    I'd recommend ferreting around to see if there are any plants you want to keep in the area, and either dig them up or protect them before spraying - but don't strim the ground elder because you need maximum leaf area to absorb the chemical.  

    I'd use glyphosate, in the strength used for stumps, problem weeds and brushwood.  (Glyphosate has had a bad press recently and is suspected of being carcinogenic - a problem related to its use by farmers on GM crops, leading to residues in the crop once harvested.)  It's a personal choice but I'd say provided you follow the directions, wash after spraying and keep pets & children out of the treated area until the spray has dried, it's as safe as any chemical.

    "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change"    Stephen Hawking
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 4,316

    Forgot to say - you'll need to spray around now, then later in the year if any re-appears.

    "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change"    Stephen Hawking
  • EmelieEmelie Posts: 5

    Thank you!

  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,151

    I have to say I gave up spraying ground elder it didn't make one jot of difference to it coming back.

    Now if I see any I just dig it up and the same with bindweed, it's easy to keep on yop of it.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 4,316

    I must say digging is my preferred option, Lou12 - I only spray things I can't dig up (growing through shrubs, out of paving etc).

    "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change"    Stephen Hawking
  • mushermusher Posts: 390

    Talking about culinary matters.I munched my way around the local countryside yesterday. A mix of wild garlic nettles and back in to my back garden to finish off my culinary expediation with a rumage through the dalia leaves and jolly burb!! good it was also.

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