how do I get rid of ground elder?
I'm afraid that the best way is small patch by small patch, dig it out. Weedkillers do work, but often a second application is needed, applied to the leaves when they're big enough and it therefore takes quite a while. At least with digging it out you know it's gone
Three options : 1 - remove all plants you want to keep. Apply glyphosate to the entire plot when the GE is in full leaf. Wait several weeks for it to work. You may need to repeat application. Meanwhile wash roots of all plants, removing every trace of GE roots, and pot up.When there is no GE re-growth you can replant. But watch out for invasion from beyond your boundaries.
2 - Move.
3 - Learn to live with it!
You can get rid of most of it in a particular bed by thorough digging and removing all the long, white (and brittle) roots that you can find, and cleaning the roots of perennials as above. Every little bit of root you miss can (and will!) regrow into a new plant. It will still re-appear from the roots of shrubs and trees and under walls etc, but it can be controlled by regular weeding.
It will always be there somewhere, but the leaves are nott unattractive, it doesn't seem to actually kill other plants, the flowers are pretty and blend well with other plants and you can always eat it, if the supermarkets are no longer able to import veg. from Europe. The Romans did, that's why they brought it with them
I have it all over my garden, which is large, part wild and part cottagey, though it would be harder if you like formal, and we mostly get along. I keep some bits relatively clear and leave others. It makes good ground cover under trees and you can mow it, as Anne Wareham does at Veddw House, for a tidier look..
I have ground elder coming in from a field that runs down two sides of my garden, I was wondering if digging a barrier (like wooden boards or something) would stop it spreading in. Or would it just grow under? How deep does ground elder travel do you know?
Ree2 ground elder has spaghetti like rhizomes which are close to the surface of the soil and although a barrier could possibly stop the rhizomes you still have a problem if the ground elder in the fields goes to seed as the wind will carry these to your garden. They will then lay dormant in your soil over winter but come spring they will start to grow And it can spread very quickly.
Its also very good steamed and added to mashed potatoes to make Colcannon.
Dove, do you just use the leafy bit or the stem as well?
Esspee, I use the leafy bit and some of the stem but towards the bottom it gets tougher so I chop it off - usually about halfway up.
It will give me great pleasure to cook the leaves. Thank you for that Dove. ?
Thank you everyone for all your information and suggestions. We will continue to dig a bit, spray a bit and we might even eat a bit. One thing is clear, we shall have to learn to live with it to a certain extent. At least it's pretty and hasn't killed any other plants yet, luckily we have an informal cottage garden so it sort of fits in!