amandami_gw

The weed that can't be killed...

AmandaMI
16 years ago

For as long as I can remember, there has been these "weeds" that pop up constantly in my mostly-shady bed by the house. They are even in the cracks of the sidewalk near there, and even under the house! I mentioned it to my mother yesterday, since I know she battled it when she lived here, and she said it was not a weed, but a plant that someone planted before they bought the house almost 30 years ago! Despite pulling it, spraying it, trying to smother it, for almost 30 years, it lives. She said it was called snow-something, so I searched around on "snow", "invasive" and "underground," since that's how it spreads, and I eventually found it. Aegopodium podagraria: snow-on-the-mountain or goutweed. So yes, someone actually unleashed this beast in my garden. I tried smothering it this year with several layers newspaper and a heavy layer of mulch and it worked for about two weeks, but we've had a couple days of rain and more of these things are bursting through by the minute.

How can I kill this stuff without killing everything else in the bed?

Comments (51)

  • MeMyselfAndI
    16 years ago

    Sounds like Aegopodium. Try entire overlapping sections of the newspaper.

  • AmandaMI
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    LOL, Chris...I actually have considered tearing out the entire bed and digging each one of these things out by hand! But can you imagine, after all that work, the feeling I'd get when it popped up and waved at me yet again?! My mental health is very important to me, so I won't go that far...yet. ;) I just about fell over when my husband crawled under the house to fix a pipe and reported that this stuff is growing under there! I guess that the parts that see the light on the other side of the foundation are feeding the parts that live in the dark. I considered, briefly, setting it loose in the backyard under a huge tree that nothing grows under. But then, I considered that, 100 years from now, some poor soul might want a shade garden there, and I could be setting them up for a nervous breakdown!

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  • Bob_Zn5
    16 years ago

    Roundup.
    You won't get it by weeding & you'll likely have to spray it multiple times.

  • elvis
    16 years ago

    Yeah, you can't get rid of it. But you can crowd it out. I successfully did this with daylily, ferns, and hosta.

  • Dave_zone_5
    16 years ago

    I don't know the first thing about this weed, but if it has an interconnected underground root system something I have heard others report success with is taking concentrated round up, putting it in a container and placing a portion of the weed in the container. Obviously you are going to want to rig something up so that the container doesn't spill onto the lawn.

    The idea behind this is that the plant will continually drink the round up, it will travel the entire root system eventually and the entire plant then dies.

    I have read of success with this method in eradicating bindweed which is another perennial weed that roots extensively.

    You may find that this method kills some, but not all and that would be an indication of seperate root systems. Just repeat where necessary.

  • Kat SE Wisconsin z5
    16 years ago

    I've used Roundup on all kinds of weeds. When they are close to other plants, I use a small paint brush. Sometimes I had to 'paint' it a few times, but after a couple of tries, it would die. I never use a spray with Roundup, I'm too afraid it'll get on me! They say to use it on a calm day, well we have very few calm days. So 'painting' the weeds has worked the best for me.
    Good luck on getting rid of it!

    Kat

  • sspye
    16 years ago

    Hey, I got this idea at another forum. If you spray with round-up cover the other plants in the area with buckets until it has completely dried.

  • jroot
    16 years ago

    I agree with a number of the previous posters. I would use round-up. I would paint it on as suggested. This will have to be repeated several times throughout the year, and possibly for a couple of years. That is exactly how I am treating what was originally a very bad infestation of poison ivy. Now I have it down to just a few tips coming up. Hopefully this year there won't be any, but I am quite prepared to "do it again" with that pest. I know it is a pain in the ..., but a lot less energy will be expended than diggin up the entire bed.

  • Bug_Girl_MI
    16 years ago

    an alternative to spraying round-up is the Hand of Death. Put two nitrile gloves on. dunk your hand in a bucket of round up. Grab the plant, and say thrice: "I smite thee with the hand of death!"
    Works everytime.

    (and so does the paintbrush, but not as much fun.)

  • AmandaMI
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    LOL, Bug Girl! My neighbors will be so impressed. Just for fun, I'll wear the gloves everywhere and threaten to smite anyone who offends me. ;)

    Thanks all! Round Up it is. I'm almost going to enjoy this...

  • susz52
    16 years ago

    I realize it is late to post on this but I can not resist. If anyone has watched the bbc series 'How to be a Gardener' Alan Titchmarsh makes similiar comments about a persistent weed and the punch line goes "You may eventually weaken it, or you can simply move house!" I have a running battle with perennial Morning Glories which I did to myself although I would love to blame someone else.

  • lizziem62
    16 years ago

    oh my goodnes. lol. i smite thee with the hand o death. i love it!!!

  • mjohnson_Z5
    16 years ago

    I can sympathize, my neighbors planted it along their 6" strip between their driveway and the property line (where my beds start!). I can't believe they hate me that much....but they did it.

    My beds are fairly new, so last fall I layed down 6-8 layers of overlapping newspaper and 4" of shredded hardwood mulch over everything but the trees, shrubs, and newly planted perrenials... This spring the Aegopodium podagraria acts like I did it a favor! It has completely infused itself in the beds. So much for smoothering.

    At this point, I'm scared it's going to run across the lawn and I will simply have a full lot of it!

    Current strategy is cut it to the ground every time it gets more than 4" tall AND plant as many other plants as I can...hoping to squeeze it out. Having completely graded the lot, amended the beds, planted sod, 15 trees, ~60shrubs and ~300 perennials...I am not taking it all back out to excavate! And the whole Round-up thing is not part of my vocabulary...I want to use the least amount of chemicals as possible (birds, bugs, animals, water table, you name it).

    So, in a sense I am giving up. Sigh. But I will continue to hack at it until the rest of the plants have matured enough that my yard is not dominated by it!

    Oh yea, my F'n neighbors moved. They didn't want to "wait for MY yard to mature". What kind of crap is that! Ironic part is the new neighbors are 100% cluesless about landscaping and could care less what I do with the 6" strip that is theirs...crazy world!

    M.J.

  • Braveland4H
    16 years ago

    Believe it or not, I got some Aegopodium from my mother-in-law under my maple trees that I need to ENCOURAGE! It's been there eight years, and barely fills the space. So, I guess if you give it good enough competition, like a silver maple, it will stay contained. But come to think of it, this stuff always stayed neatly where my mother-in-law planted it in her yard. Never bothered the neighbors, tho' it could have. I guess she brought it up right! (Thanks Mom!) Must be an unusual variety.

  • JustTrees
    16 years ago

    I have some of it growing around the base of a tree. It is no big trouble for me to keep under control.

    Honestly, a lot of people freak out about these supposedly impossible to control plants and then they have a lawn. Well, guess what? There is no plant that is worse for rhizomous spreading than turf grass. And then we go and fertilize and irrigate it! Go figure.

    More than half of my weeding is removing turf grass from where I don't want it.

  • liatris52
    16 years ago

    We have both the variegated variety and the plain green variety of goutweed. While we will probably never get rid of it, we go out every day and pick anything visible. (Sometimes I eat it -- it is a potherb and tastes a bit like lettuce. My Chinese neighbours use it that way all the time -- also as a medicinal herb.)

    In the spring, I almost wept. It was my first year in this house and I had no idea what slept under the snow. We picked it all. It grew back. The ferns and solomon's seal started. The goutweed overwhelmed them. We picked it. It grew back.

    Then gradually the plants, mainly the ostrich fern, solomon's seal and hostas, overshadowed it and it is now not a problem -- until next spring -- or maybe sooner. The mulch makes it easier to spot when it does raise its little head. MMMMM salad.

    Joanne

  • jroot
    16 years ago

    Eat it? Really?

  • magazinewriter
    16 years ago

    Wow! This was fun to read! I smite thee with the hand of death?!? Great -- I'm adopting that one to deal with the misc. weeds that waft into my back garden from the school yard behind my house.
    And I'm NOT planting any goutweed.

  • Braveland4H
    16 years ago

    Eat it? My son's bunnies love fresh greens, dandelions and the like. Maybe we have a new treat!

  • nornster
    16 years ago

    When we moved to our home, there was already goutweed planted under our lone evergreen tree, fenced in on four sides by the sidewalk, street, and driveways. People freaked out when they heard about it, but it doesn't spread at all when contained by the concrete. But like Braveland, I need mine to do better. Every summer, a brown rust or something starts in one small spot and gradually kills the whole plot, so that by this time in August it looks really yucky. The first year I bought some goutweed seedlings to repopulate the area, but it wasn't necessary - there's always new little seedlings under the dead ones, waiting to take over, but it sure looks crappy for awhile. Any idea what's doing this? The neighbors have some along their house, which their ferns and solomon's seal seems to keep under control, but theirs never dies off. Maybe I should just rip it up and put in something that will do better under an evergreen.

  • Braveland4H
    16 years ago

    Nornster, mine has the rust this year too. On another forum I saw corn meal being used to control fungus, so maybe I'll try that. The new sprouts don't have it yet, so I might just get my butt out there and cut all the affected ones off.

    My yard has a lot of fungal diseases this year- wet spring, not thorough enough fall leaf clean-up last year. I plan to do better this year. Good luck with yours!

  • stellagord
    16 years ago

    I GOT RID OF MY GOUTWEED!!! There is hope! It was here when we first moved in, but it's all gone now.

    We also had the dreaded bindweed in the back. I sprayed both with Round Up. It took several sprayings, but I did get rid of the goutweed eventually. The bindweed, however, is absolutely rampant all these years later and none of my neighbours are doing a bloody thing to control it...

    Do you know what boils my blood? Goutweed is commonly sold in the big box stores and even some garden centers, as "Bishop's Weed" or some other variation. Appalling!

  • nornster
    16 years ago

    Yeah, but Stellagord, bishop's weed, or snow-on-the-mountain, or goutweed, isn't a problem at all when it's contained, like in a planter box. There was an article in the Chicago Tribune talking about invasive species, and the park district said goutweed's not a problem if the roots can't spread. They plant it all the time under trees, surrounded on all sides by concrete. I bought some at a garden center to replace the stuff that died - as long as I knew what I was getting into, I don't think it's bad.

    Braveland, could you post a link to the other forum talking about using the cornmeal? I've had a wet summer, too, and there's all kinds of mildew and fungus in my garden, too.

  • stellagord
    16 years ago

    Nornster, yes, I would imagine it's totally controllable in a pot or planter. I guess a person would have to make sure its branches didn't touch the ground and start a renegade colony in the ground. (I have planted my mint in the ground, but inside huge pots... Of course, it escaped and now it's growing everywhere...)

  • nornster
    16 years ago

    It's so funny to think of mint "escaping" from pots...I just picture a little mint plant, dressed like a prisoner, plotting its getaway. Wasn't the alien in "The Thing" (or maybe it was "The Body Snatchers") really a plant that was trying to take over the earth? Maybe it was a goutweed from another planet :-)

  • Janet
    16 years ago

    I can't believe I've missed this thread! I had the cursed stuff come in via a plant exchange. This has led to my current quarantine rule for any plant coming in from an unknown garden.

    I fought this stuff for years until we moved. I would guess it's still there and taking over. Last time I drove by the old house it was pretty obvious the current owners aren't gardeners so I suspect it's been free to do it's own thing for the last five years. Can you imagine that?

    There's probably mint in the lawn also!

  • dixie_doll02
    15 years ago

    Hi there. I probably bought your old house Janet. The stuff has completely taken over my ENTIRE yard. There is about 7 feet from the road to my front "garden" (which is also full of the stuff) that is grass. My husband and I just bought the house this April and when all the snow finally melted there it was. I tried Round-Up like everyone says to, and what I actually sprayed has brown spots but didn't die then about a week later there was new shoots popping up. And when I say I sprayed it, I'm talking 3 and a half gallons of Round-Up on about 250 square feet!!! It killed what little grass I have real nice though. So if anyone has any other ideas it would be great. I have heard garden lime might do it, but I don't want to waste my money if it won't work. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know. :(

  • paul_
    15 years ago

    So that's what my sis has growing in a small patch along her house. Kind of a bummer -- it is a rather pretty thing. I know the previous owners made no effort to contain it. That being said, it doesn't appear to have misbehaved. Wonder why? It certainly isn't in a container.

  • GardenKiwi
    15 years ago

    Someone gave me this "potion" (I collect 'em) and it looks like something you can possibly use.

    POISON IVY KILLER
    1 gallon water
    1 cup salt
    8 drops liquid dishsoap
    Mix together and spray on the offending nasties.

    Good luck
    Kiwi

  • indagni
    14 years ago

    Hi! I will line my future flower beds with pond lining - black rubberish material along sides about 30 cm deep. so roots from outside wont come in. Then for 1 summer pick out all roots inside bed. The rest is lawn - frequent mowing kills it.

  • kec01
    14 years ago

    There's a picket fence dividing our back yard from our neighbor's. On our side of the fence there's a 10" strip of garden and then sidewalk - it gets full sun. My neighbor has snow on the mountain growing and likes it. Last summer I dug all out that had spread into our 10" strip. Then I dug out all the soil and inserted upright sheets of stainless steel as deep as I could get it along the fence line - at least 8" deep. I kept my fingers crossed that this would stop the roots from spreading. Wrong! It's on it's way back in our yard. I'll be digging it again but with the neighbor letting it go, I think this is going to be a losing battle. I hate this stuff.

  • perrydel
    14 years ago

    Has anyone tried smothering it with landscaper cloth? I'm going to try it with adding mulch over top of the cloth.
    Also what are effective ground cover combatants that will crowd it out ? One I know of is English Ivy, but that is trading one problem for another. Would sweet woodruff crowd it out ?
    This weed should be called "The Devil's Weed"

  • janniet
    10 years ago

    This is an incredibly funny thread and should be revived here in 2010.

    I too had a tiny patch of this alien under a 50+ year old silver maple, which had to be taken down. I foolishly let the small two foot by 4 inch high patch survive. I have been doing penance for six years in an attempt to keep it from taking over in a FULL SUN, unwatered area in our very xeric climate. Today I am going out there to paint roundup on those leaves for the fourth time this month, but this time I am taking our full spectrum light and holding over each section for about 15 minutes at close range. I remember that roundup requires sunshine to encourage the victim plants to take up the active ingredient. It "worked" on a small patch when I roundup-nuked the whole patch last month. It is important to cut off the flower stalks, too, before they go to seed before, during and after you nuke it.

    Remember to wear sunglasses, gloves, long sleeved shirt and pants, socks and solid shoes for yourself, you don't want to get sunburned. Also remember to have your spouse or neighbor take pictures of you as you do this in 90 degree weather. These will form the instructions to future generations at your home in how to combat the aliens at ground level (Note, not WIN, but only combat) and provide your progeny with proof that you are insane.

    I will add the intonation of "I smite thee with the Hand of Death" as I perform this ceremony in full ceremonial dress and think of each of you as I do so.

    Tell Ma, I died game.

  • Audrey
    10 years ago

    What fun! I love "The Hand of Death." I have a lush stand of Bishop's Weed. The story is that monasteries used to keep herb gardens for healing, and in one area goutweed became called Bishop's weed. Got gout? Go to the bishop for some weed. I got the stuff to put in the ditch so I wouldn't have to mow over all the rocks the snowplow threw. It didn't make it to the ditch...my son-in-law "helped" me by planting it on the north side of the house. He then mowed down my Canada anemone (it was in full bloom, but mixed with grass) which killed it. So now instead of wildflowers I have a lovely bed of snow-on-the mountain. So far it hasn't crossed the foot path; I guess it can't take foot traffic. (I haven't dared look under the house.) I do like the somewhat spicy taste, and sometimes nosh while I work in the garden or put it in a salad. I haven't gotten around to trying it cooked like spinach, but I guess I'll never starve to death when I have goutweed around!

  • kaslkaos
    10 years ago

    Our home had it, and we did get rid of it. Dug up the area and pulled and raked out all the roots of it. If you have 'good' plants, then put them aside, shake out the dirt and put them back in the garden when you are done. After that, pull EVERY hint of gout weed the minute you see. If you did a good job of raking and sifting, this won't be too hard. As long as you go after any stragglers, you should be successful. You'll need to be vigilant for a few years and look under plants to see if it's re-establishing itself in secret.
    I am a LAZY gardener, so it's not as bad as it sounds.

  • jomuir
    10 years ago

    This is so funny. A friend tried to offer me a shovelful of this plant many years ago, I told her if she brought it to my house our friendship is over.

    Recently on a walk DH commented on how pretty a patch of it was in a neighbor's yard. I pointed out to him how it was the only plant in the huge bed, and told him if he ever planted any in our garden we are through.

    We wouldn't really be through, but would require marriage counceling to get over it, along with all the above advice on how to get rid of he noxious weed.

  • Missy, Traverse City, Mi Z5
    10 years ago

    I have several areas in my yard where I grow bishops weed intentionally. It is a great ground cover where other things won't grow. Three years ago I decided to burn a pile of leaves right in the middle of one of my bishop weed beds, figuring you can't kill it. Well, I still have a large round black area with no new growth where I did the burning, so I guess fire is a good control for this weed!

  • aingfromWI
    9 years ago

    We've covered a slope with yellow archangel (lamiastrum galeobdolon) and have this bishop's weed come up in isolated clumps every now and then. Round up! We obviously don't get it all, because every summer we round up a clump or two. It's the Solomon's seal getting invasive now, and we just pull it all summer. May have to round up that, too, before it takes over.

  • Patty Russell
    4 years ago

    My Husband uses a flame thrower for various tough weeds like garlic mustard. I have never thought of it for the bishops weed. Can't wait to see how it works!

  • Mark Draland
    3 years ago

    What the heck... round up slathered everywhere...

    Just mix up a batch of high EC water and drench em and they will fry in a day... roots and all...


    Following rains will wash the salts out out or you can add handfuls of gypsum to move it along... done. And you don't have to poison the planet to do it.

    No wonder glyphosate has contaminated our entire food supply.

  • Audrey
    3 years ago

    3 things.

    Use Epsom salts instead of table salt with vinegar and dish soap. It fertilizes instead of poisoning the soil.

    I don' t know high EC water. Please enlighten me.

    Glyphosate was thought to be harmless to animals, because the chemical pathway it uses in plants doesn't exist in animals. True, as far as it goes. What we have learned since the early days is that there are two chemical pathways in animals that it does affect. This can not only harm us, but it is harmful to our intestinal microbes. This disrupts digestion. I agree that gardeners should try to avoid glyphosate use, but we really need to get it banned for agricultural uses too. It is common practice to spray crops like grains with glyphosate a few days before harvest. This kills the plant, making harvest more efficient with higher yields. Cost effective for the producer, but contaminates our food and is poisonous to the planet.


  • Mark Draland
    3 years ago

    EC is electrical conductivity of your water. Most plants can only tolerate a range of EC. Epsom salt at 1 tsp per gallon is about 1 EC for me. Salt stress kills effectively as we all know. A batch of 3 4 5 EC water will fry em dead in a day or two. Now you don't want to salt the earth so to speak but in dealing with evasive species it beats round up.. and washes out.

  • Paul MI
    3 years ago

    345? That's a heckuva lot of epsom salt.

  • Mark Draland
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    2 or three tablespoons to a gallon would get you there. Will wash out of soil with a heavy rain and the supposed unkillable plant is deader than dead from the root up without slathering a gloved hand in round up... really? A handful a gypsum after will wash out the epsom.

  • Audrey
    3 years ago

    Thanks Mark. I wondered about the 3 4 5. One of my friends has a recipe for 1 gal vinegar, 2 cups salt, and 1/2cup dish soap. That does seem excessive. You talk about EC water. Does that mean the vinegar is unneccessary? And a few drops of soap would be enough to break surface tension to improve adherence. Do you find the soap unneccesary also?

  • Audrey
    3 years ago

    Aargh! I meant to ask if the vinegar is unneccessary.

  • Mark Draland
    3 years ago

    Vinegar not needed. I would imagine 5 tablespoon epsom per gallon would be in the range. 2 cups is overkill. Dish soap is not even necessary. Every plant has a different salt tolerance so you may need to adjust. You'll see foliage burning the next day. You basically kill the root zone because the high EC water will prevent the plant from taking on water. Vinegar will drop the pH of water to a lower than tolerable level and possibly aide that way but the high EC will do the job. I use an EC pen to measure my feeds. Dial it in that way.

  • 4bubbies
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I know this is an old post, but we got rid of snow on the mountain or goats weed, by covering the area with thick thick black plastic (some suggested you can use old carpet or such) for a whole season. We no longer have it. We had that and ditch lilies which are also a nightmare. We had tried vinegar before that and were unsuccessful.

    There is really no other way to do it, since snow on the mountain (and ditch lily) thrives and spreads when you cut at it. We didn't want to poison everything within a mile radius to maybe get rid of it.

    This is why I am so nervous when people look for quick fixes of ground cover that will "take over" or just plant without knowing what they are getting themselves into. It was starting to pop up in neighbors areas and they were not happy with us.

  • bondia
    6 months ago

    Patty Russell, did you try using a flamethrower to kill Bishop’s weed? And if so, did it work?