The Q&A Archives: Killing Escaped Philodendrons

Question: Hello.
I placed several pots of philodendrons in the backyard, and 15 years later, they've overtaken the yard. Some are growing up trees. I have been pulling up roots for months now, first I was using a trowel, and now a shovel, and there are always more. When I see a leaf come up, I shovel out all the roots I can find, but I suspect I end up cutting the roots and causing the roots to multiply. I can't seem to get them all. My philodendrons laugh at round-up. I want to put grass in this area, but first must destory the philodendrons. The area in question is large: 40 * 40 feet.
Please help. Thank you.

Answer: I'm afraid there is no easy solution. As you've discovered, the roots can go quite deep and the only way to get rid of them is to dig them up. Or, as they appear you can cut them down to ground level and then immediately paint full strength RoundUp on the cut ends. This should effectively kill that particular root. Keeping the sprouts chopped down - before they have a chance to develop leaves - will stop photosynthesis and effectively starve the roots out. It just takes persistence. Wish there were an easier way!

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