Effective Methods for Eliminating Ground Elder from Your Garden

Effective Methods for Eliminating Ground Elder from Your Garden

Ground elder, also known as goutweed, is a persistent and invasive weed that can quickly take over planting areas. If you have ground elder near your flower beds or vegetable patch, you can be assured that it will spread and take over otherwise beautiful areas. Removing and killing ground elder can be a daunting task, but there are methods to tackle it organically.

One option is to dig up the ground elder and remove it from the soil. This can be a time-consuming process, as the plant has deep roots that need to be fully removed in order to kill it. However, using a garden fork or spade to carefully dig under the plant and lift it out can be effective.

Another method is to smother the ground elder with mulch or cardboard. This deprives the plant of light and nutrients, causing it to wilt and eventually die. By covering the affected areas with a layer of mulch or cardboard and leaving it in place for several weeks, you can suffocate the ground elder and prevent it from growing back. Just be sure to remove any new growth that may appear.

If you want to kill ground elder without physically removing it, there are natural herbicides available that are specifically designed to target this weed. These herbicides contain ingredients that are proven to kill ground elder while leaving other plants unharmed. Be sure to read and carefully follow the instructions on the product label when using these weedkillers, as they can be toxic if used incorrectly.

Unfortunately, ground elder can be a persistent problem that requires ongoing attention and management. Even after you have removed or killed the visible plants, it is important to monitor the area and remove any new growth that may appear. By staying vigilant, using proven methods, and being patient, you can effectively control ground elder in your planting areas and keep your garden looking beautiful.


1. Edible Wild Plants: Ground Elder – How to Remove It. https://www.wildfooduk.com/edible-wild-plants/ground-elder/

2. Gardening FAQs: Ground Elder. https://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/faq/problems_ground_elder_save_plants.html

Growing and eating ground elder

If you’re struggling to get rid of ground elder in your garden, why not consider growing and eating it instead? Ground elder, also known as goutweed, is a perennial weed that grows in shady areas with damp soil. It can be a nuisance in your garden, but it also has culinary uses. Here’s how you can make the most of this versatile weed:

Identify and control:

Before you start growing ground elder, it’s important to correctly identify it. The plant typically has scalloped leaves and white flowers that bloom in July. Once you’ve confirmed that you have ground elder, you can start controlling its growth in your garden. This can be done through regular weeding, mowing, or using non-chemical weedkillers. Mulching the affected areas can also help smother the weed and prevent it from spreading further.

Harvesting and preparing:

Young ground elder leaves are the most tender and flavorful. They can be harvested throughout the growing season, but it’s best to pick them before they fully unfurl. Simply snip off the tops of the plants, leaving some leaves behind for regrowth. To remove any dirt or debris, rinse the leaves under cold water. Ground elder can be used in a variety of dishes, and its flavor has been described as a cross between parsley and celery.

Culinary uses:

Ground elder can be used in soups, stews, salads, and even as a substitute for spinach. The leaves can be added to stir-fries, omelets, or used as a topping for pizzas and sandwiches. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try frying the leaves to make crispy snacks. Ground elder is rich in nutrients, including vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, potassium, and iron.

Join the trend:

Growing and eating ground elder has become quite popular among foragers and adventurous gardeners. By embracing this versatile weed, you can turn a problem into an opportunity. Just remember to always harvest responsibly, leaving enough plants behind to ensure the sustainability of this wild edible. Happy gardening and cooking!

25 thoughts on “Growing and eating ground elder”

There are several thoughts and considerations related to growing and eating ground elder:

1. Growing ground elder requires a moist environment.
2. Before consuming ground elder, make sure to properly identify it as some plants can be toxic.
3. Don’t let ground elder overrun your garden, as it can become a persistent problem.
4. If you want to get rid of ground elder, several methods can be used, such as regular removal and mulching.
5. Joining a local gardening group or seeking advice from experienced writers can help you tackle ground elder more effectively.
6. Ground elder can be a problematic weed for gardeners and may require repeated removal or control measures.
7. Suffering from ground elder without taking any action can result in a bigger problem.
8. Some chemical weedkillers can be effective in killing ground elder, but a more organic approach is often preferred.
9. A late update in June 2022 has provided tips for dealing with ground elder, including using bamboo membranes for covering affected areas.
10. The roots of ground elder can be quite extensive, so waste covering and planting in containers can help control its spread.
11. References to the website https://www.wildfooduk.com/edible-wild-plants/ground-elder can provide more information on eating ground elder.
12. Growing ground elder can be easier than trying to kill it, so some gardeners may choose to utilize its edible properties.
13. Ground elder grows in thick patches and is notoriously difficult to eradicate completely.
14. Ground elder has a long history, and it was even introduced by the Romans for its medicinal properties.
15. Chemical weedkillers may kill ground elder, but they can also harm desirable plants nearby.
16. Organic methods, such as mulching, can help control ground elder without resorting to chemicals.
17. Using ground elder in cooking can add a unique flavor to dishes, similar to parsley.
18. Before consuming ground elder, make sure to properly wash it and remove any dirt or bugs.
19. Frying or boiling ground elder is a common way of cooking it.
20. When using ground elder in recipes, be sure to remove any tough stems.
21. Ground elder can be added directly to soups or stews for extra flavor.
22. If you’re not sure why your ground elder is not growing well, consider the amount of moisture it’s receiving.
23. By keeping ground elder under control, you can prevent it from taking over your garden and competing with other plants.
24. Ground elder can be a resilient weed, and it may have already begun spreading before you notice it.
25. If you’re struggling to kill ground elder, seeking professional help or using specialized herbicides targeting tough weeds like knotweed can be an option.

How to Get Rid of Ground Elder

Ground elder, also known as goutweed, is a big problem for gardeners. This invasive weed spreads quickly and can easily take over flower beds and vegetable gardens if not dealt with. If you find yourself suffering from this persistent weed, here are some tips on how to get rid of ground elder.

  1. Identify the weed: Ground elder has small white flowers that bloom from May to June. The leaves are glossy and triangular with toothed edges. It is important to correctly identify the weed before starting any removal methods.
  2. Start early: The best time to start dealing with ground elder is in late winter or early spring, before it has begun to grow. This is when the weed is most vulnerable and easier to remove.
  3. Remove existing plants: If ground elder has taken over an area, it is best to remove all existing plants to clear the ground completely. This will give you better access to the weed and prevent it from spreading further.
  4. Hand-pull: For small areas or isolated patches, hand-pulling can be an effective method. Make sure to remove as much of the roots as possible to prevent regrowth.
  5. Use organic methods: Chemicals may be effective in controlling ground elder, but they can also harm other desirable plants and wildlife. Instead, try using natural methods such as mulching or smothering the weed with thick layers of organic waste or cardboard to prevent sunlight from reaching it.
  6. Mulching: Mulching is an effective way to suppress ground elder growth. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch, such as rotted leaves or compost, over the affected areas. This will not only smother the weed but also improve the soil quality.
  7. Planting thickly: Planting densely in the affected areas can help to crowd out ground elder and prevent it from growing. Choose plants that are vigorous and fast-growing to outcompete the weed for resources.
  8. Regular maintenance: Ground elder is persistent and may reappear even after removal. Stay vigilant and regularly check for any new growth. Remove any new shoots as soon as possible to prevent the weed from establishing itself again.

By following these tips, you can effectively control and eventually get rid of ground elder in your garden. Remember to be patient and persistent, as it may take some time to completely eradicate this stubborn weed.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.