The Q&A Archives: A flat leafed purple-red ground cover

Question: A ground cover is invading my lawn. I have tried to pull it up but it keeps on coming. Leaf is small, oval to heart shaped, about 1/2. Did not dry and die during the winter. How do I stop it?

Answer: It sounds like Houttuynia cordata. This plant is still available in garden centers but is considered an invasive weed in many states. It is extremely difficult to control because it spreads by underground runners which are sometime two feet deep in the soil. The best control measure is to pull on the vine to find the main stem and then dig out all the underground plant parts. I have also had good luck in starving out the root system by continually pulling up any little sprouts that emerge, as soon as they poke up out of the soil. Without green leaves to replenish the roots, the roots will eventually die out. Good luck with your project!

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