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Ground Elder

Dear Gardeners,

I have just moved into a new house and have a gardening challenge on my hands involving ground elder.

After some research I can already see that it is going to be tough to get rid of and digging up of the roots will be required. The one thing I am uncertain of is at which stage to apply the weed killer. I have attached the photo as you can see there is lots of foliage on top. Is it best to cut and chop this down first, then apply the weed killer, leave and then dig it up? Or apply the weed killer first then chop and dig at the same time?

I am very much a new gardener so would appreciate any advice and tips you have.



  • Following this thread, we have a lot of it too. I've been spraying it with 'roundup', agree that it worked best on warm sunny day and on the plants with bigger leaves-but it keeps coming... why do you have to dig up the roots? Doesn't the roundup kill the roots? I assumed you could just leave them once dead...

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Indeed elspeth, it's either one or the other.  What doesn't work is spraying then not waiting long enough and pulling/digging them up.  If the foliage is removed too quickly, the roots survive and it comes back (which it will do to some extent anyway, so several treatments with glyphosate are usually necessary.)  One needs to wait at least 3 weeks and probably best 5-6 weeks before removing the dead foliage after spraying which should ideally be done when it is growing strongly and flower buds are beginning to develop.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    I cleared a patch of border 2 weeks ago and found the understory to be infested with bishop weed. Nowhere else in the garden. I have sprayed it twice and the foliage has already died but I intend to keep that bit of ground free from planting this year until I can be sure I have got it all. I'll probably just put some pots on it with summer plants until then. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Thank you for your responses, they are really helpful. Sounds like we need to spray the weedkiller before digging.

    Another question though, how do we know when it is dead? And ia it safe for pets? 

    Here is the photo this time, (I know!!) image

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    I think patience is the key. And remember just because the green top has died it doesn't mean the roots have died so don't be too quick to dig. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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