Conquering Ground Elder: My 5-Year Success Story

Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is an invasive weed that can quickly take over your garden, making it difficult to grow other plants. The plant spreads through its roots, which can travel deep into the soil and sprout new shoots, making it tough to eradicate.

But don’t lose hope if you are dealing with ground elder in your garden. With a little bit of persistence and patience, you can successfully remove it from your plot. Here’s how I managed to eradicate ground elder from my garden over a period of five years.

Year One

In the first year, I started by removing all visible ground elder shoots and then dug deep to pull out as much of the root system as possible. It’s essential to remove as much of the roots as you can, as even the smallest piece of root left in the soil can grow into a new plant. I was careful to dispose of the removed plant material correctly, as I didn’t want any of it to re-root.

I am afraid I didn’t photograph the process (hindsight is a wonderful thing), but here you can see the wood chippings laid on top of layers of cardboard.
Year Two

In year two, I repeated the process of removing visible ground elder shoots and roots. Then, I used the cardboard method, which involves covering the plot with layers of cardboard and then covering it with a thick layer of wood chippings. The cardboard helps to suppress the growth of any remaining ground elder, while the wood chips help to keep the cardboard in place and provide additional weed control.

Fortunately, I had access to plenty of wood chips from a large conifer that I had cut down and chipped. The key to this method is to ensure that there are no gaps between the cardboard layers and to use a thick layer of wood chips to cover the cardboard.

Year Three

In year three, I topped up the plot with more cardboard and wood chips. The idea behind this method is that the ground elder will struggle to grow through the cardboard and wood chips, and any shoots that do manage to push through will be easy to spot and remove.

Here you can see weeds growing on top of the wood chippings but they are surface weeds and easy to pull up
Year Four

In year four, I noticed that the ground elder was significantly suppressed, which was a positive sign. However, it was crucial for me to remain diligent and keep removing any remaining roots to prevent the weed from regrowing. Even though the infestation was less severe, I knew that allowing any remnants of the weed to remain could lead to a resurgence of growth, so I continued to be persistent in my efforts.

Year Five

Finally, in year five, I achieved success. There was very little ground elder left in the garden, and it was easy to weed out any signs of it. However, it’s essential to continue to be vigilant and keep an eye out for any new growth.

In conclusion, eradicating ground elder from your garden is a long and challenging process that requires persistence and patience. The key is to be consistent with the methods you use, remove as much of the root system as possible, and be vigilant about removing any new shoots that appear. It may take several years to eradicate ground elder fully, but with perseverance, you can eventually win the battle.

You might like to see more of my home and garden on You Tube

The wood chippings look nice on top of the layers of cardboard.