GROUND ELDER, BISHOP’S WEED or GOUT WEED

Possibly the most pernicious of all garden weeds, and usually very difficult to eradicate completely. The same treatment may prove highly successful in one garden and a complete failure in another. The white roots and rhizomes are decidedly brittle and any piece left in the soil rapidly makes a new plant. Underground roots of this weed may grow up to 3 ft. long in a season even on heavy clay. Forking or pulling out the young shoots helps to keep down this weed. The aim should be to prevent the weed from producing leaves; this will starve the rhizomes which eventually die. Sodium chlorate, MCPA or 2, 4, 5-T weedkillers can be used to kill ground elder, provided the land is not under cultivation. Repeated treatments will usually be needed, occasional dressings rarely sufficing to control ground elder.

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