The Q&A Archives: Weeds in Groundcovers

Question: How do I keep grass and weeds out of my Vinca (Periwinkle) and Pachysandra? Most weed killers are not for use in groundcovers. I seem to recall reading about a weedkiller made especially for this purpose in your magazine a couple of years ago, but my research turned up nothing.

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no herbicide that will kill plants so selectively. There are broadleafed weed killers that spare grasses, and vice versa, but it won't pick out some broadleafed species among others. You may have seen the news item in the June 97 issue that covered three new organic pest controls, one of which is 24-Hour Weed Eraser, but that kills ANY plant it touches. You may also have seen a piece about corn gluten, which produces an enzyme that inhibits seed germination, and can be used as a preemergent herbicide. If the weeds in your groundcovers are coming up from seed, then corn gluten is for you! You can get it from Gardener's Supply Co. (; ph# 800/863-1700); they call it WeedzStop. If the weeds you're dealing with are perennials that spread from runners or stolons, they you'll need to pull them out and mulch heavily under the ground cover, or clip them off to keep them under control. Sorry I couldn't be more encouraging!

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