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Ask the Gardener: How to win the battle vs. goutweed

What to do this week Keep watering, following any restrictions in your municipality. Look around and learn to recognize when plants are begging for water with drooping, curling, or browning leaves, and prioritize watering those plants. Plant seeds of short-season vegetable crops that will thrive in the coming cool weather such as lettuce and radish as space becomes available in your garden. Water the soil before weeding or pulling out spent vegetable plants so the roots slip out easily with minimal soil disruption. Stop deadheading and fertilizing roses so the shrubs can prepare for dormancy.

Q. I have a large perennial bed that was overrun with goutweed when I was ill, and it also has deer ticks, as it borders a wooded area. I’d welcome your advice on how to eliminate the goutweed (and ticks) and also want to note that I have a vernal pool nearby. We care for our yard organically, using no herbicides and only biologic pesticides. Is this situation hopeless?

A. Goutweed quickly spreads underground, and trying to weed the white roots only breaks them off, with each piece growing a new plant. Most people spray goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) with glyphosate when it is in active growth in the spring after shuffling and walking on it to bruise the leaves so the sap is exposed. Since you are gardening organically, I would recommend just cutting all the garden top growth down to less than an inch in height and bagging it for your town’s composting collection. Next, cover the affected ground with impermeable plastic to solarize the roots and deprive them of sun and water. Extend the tarp 3 feet beyond the edge of the goutweed, use rocks or mulch or even potted plants to hold it down, and wait a year or two.

Find the complete answer on how to win the goutweed here.

LAST UPDATED

October 22, 2023

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Carol Stocker

RealEstate

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