How to remove groundcover

Discussion in 'Groundcovers' started by sassypriscilla, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. sassypriscilla

    sassypriscilla Member

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    Hi,

    We have a very ugly groundcover here in Southeastern Wisconsin which has overrun our back garden. I have no idea how to remove it. We tried cutting it down once but didn't pull up the roots so it came back nice and thick.

    In the first picture,the groundcover is next to, in between, and in front of our three hydrangea bushes. The second picture shows a close up of the groundcover.

    Thank you!
     

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  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    the pics aren't close up enough to identify exactly what it is. doesn't look like ivy - which is good because that's really tough to get rid of.

    does it seem to just spread underground by the roots or does it also start rooting if a piece of it is laying on the soil?

    your best bet is to pull it up by the roots - be careful and take your time so that you get all of the root system up. if it's the type that roots at will, then you need to make sure you get every piece of it up - don't leave any stray leaves or bits of stem around or they'll just re-root.

    yes, it'll take longer to pull it all up. and you may have to do some more pulling next year. you really can't treat with anything because you've got those hydrangea there (and they are LOVELY so you don't want to do anything that would damage them!).

    do the best you can before the cold hits and then pull up any new growth as early as possible in the spring. continue pulling up stragglers over the rest of the spring and you should have it all cleared out by next summer.
     
  3. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I agree with Joclyn. Water the area well the day before if you haven't had rain. It will make the soil easier to work. Don't forget to add mulch once you've worked one area. You might even put down 5 or 6 layers of black print newspaper under 3" of mulch to help to smother the roots.

    Newt
     
  4. rziesk

    rziesk Member

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    The worst so called ground cover i've ever had to remove was oregeno.. it's a mint family member and refuses to let go or leave! I agree with the other posts, water, dig down, and try to get all the roots you can.. You will probably have to do this again next year and even the year after, but if you keep after it, it will give up. I've grown things from the southern US to the northeast, and you just have to be persistent! Good luck.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Chop it out with a grape hoe (big, wide blade, like mattock but bigger - and no pick on the other side) or a bent-over spading fork (spading fork with tines shaped into curves, making a giant claw on the end of a long handle). Or spray with appropriate herbicide, keeping the drift off of the shrubs.

    The shrubs look better with the groundcover tying them together than they would with just bare soil or mulch between. After you take out the existing carpet you will have a 'tombstone planting' until and unless you put in other companion plants. The clipped hedge behind is also stark, while certainly making a good contrast with the flowerheads of the hydrangeas at the level they are at it is mostly above them. Some other, taller plant needs to be added to grow across in front of the hedge and provide interest - maybe something like a star magnolia or other kind small enough to fit the space (most magnolias grow rather large in time) and hardy enough for the climate there.

    Such a selection would provide early interest, while the hydrangeas aren't offering much. Spring bulbs that flowered at the same time could be planted where the groundcover was removed.
     
  6. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    ahh, i'd forgotten the trick about newspaper under mulch...that will help to get rid of the stuff!!

    ron, i hadn't thought that far ahead. you've got some good points there!! definitely will need to fill in the areas between the bushes. low growing flowering bulbs are perfect - priscilla, you could do a nice mix of bulbs that flower at different times (crocus and daffodil for early spring, tulips or iris for mid-spring and daylily for summer) or you could put in something like coneflowers or black-eyed susan. they will bloom mid-summer and if you dead-head (cut the flower heads off when they start to fade) you'll have more blooms start up so you can keep them blooming for most of the summer.

    for added interest and to tie in the high hedge with the lower hydrangea, you could do some sunflowers between the two - some of the really tall ones and some of the not so tall ones mixed in together would look nice.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Smothering blankets like thick layers of newspaper can be nasty, encouraging certain pests and trapping gases in the soil. When you pull these back after them having been in place for awhile you typically find that roots of plants have come up to grow along the bottom of them, as well as the tunnels of animals - due to the lack of air.
     

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