INVASIVE PLANTS - Knowledgebase Question

KENTWOOD, Mi
Question by DEBERYNEG
July 8, 2009
HELLO FRIEND,I HAVE A GARDEN BED WITH SEVERAL NICE LILLY PLANTS HOSTAS AND PEONIES PLANTED IN IT. A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO A FRIEND GAVE ME A HANDFUL OF A BEAUTIFUL PLANT CALL CHAMELION -GROUND COVER THE FOLIAGE IS BEAUTIFUL, THE LEAVES ARE PINKISH,WHITE AND GREEN WITH BEAUTIFUL LITTLE WHITE FLOWERS IN EARLY SUMMER,THE PROBLEM IS THE GROUND COVER IS TAKING OVER ,HOW DO I GET RID OF IT WITHOUT KILLING


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Answer from NGA
July 8, 2009

0

Ahh, yes - your lovely chameleon plant is botanically Houttuynia cordata and it is extremely invasive. Not only does it spread above ground but the roots develop very deep growing laterals which can pop up through the ground several feet away from the original plant. The more you pull these plants out the more you stimulate the roots to send out even more stems and underground runners. That's the good news. Now for the bad news. It is very difficult to eradicate but with persistence you can eventually do so. There's nothing you can spray on the plant to kill it that won't also affect your desirable plants. But you can pull or chop it off at ground level and immediately paint or spray a small amount of Round Up on the stub of the stem. The theory is that the Round Up will be transported down to the root and kill it off. However, Round Up will damage any plant it come in contact with so you need to be extra careful when using it in a flower bed. It does not move in the soil so it should not harm the roots of your plants. If you cut down any houttuynia that sprouts, as soon as it sprouts, and treat the stubs with Round Up you will eventually kill or starve out all the roots lurking beneath your flower bed. But if you allow a sprout to develop leaves it will send new energy back to the root system so diligence is the answer to controlling the groundcover. Good luck with your project!

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