Ask a Question forum: How to kill purple wintercreeper

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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Oct 24, 2016 10:04 PM CST
Help! I'm at my wit's end which isn't very far to begin with. A number of years ago, before I knew much about groundcovers and things like native plants, I planted Purple Wintercreeper Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus') in my front yard. I wish someone had warned me.
In my defense, if there is one, most of the 'yard' is shaded by a beautiful, old Magnolia Grandiflora. Since there was so much bare soil and I knew that Mother Nature doesn't like to be nekkid, I wanted to use a groundcover.
Previously, I had an up close and personal experience witnessing what ivy can do. So that was out. I loved the look of asian jasmine but everyone else was growing it. (Now I know it might have been just as bad.) So I ended up with a nightmare called purple wintercreeper.
Nice at first, but the low growing vine was like a dangerous tripwire. So I would snip it now and then. That only made it grow up on me as seen in the picture.


From the street people thought my 'shrubs' looked nice and I'm sure they can't fathom why I was getting rid of them.
Here's a picture of a mess of tangled roots (aka 'toe stubbers') that I worked each 'shrub' down to just using loppers.
Thumb of 2016-10-25/tx_flower_child/eb5bf0
At that point I started rocking the ugly masses and digging, going slowly so as to get as much of the root system as possible and trying to avoid breaking the roots.
So I won the battle but the creeper seems to be winning the war. I carefully marked the spots where each 'shrub' had been so I would know to look for more underground roots. And sure enough, those boogers are still there, alive and well!

Researching, I found way too many articles on the web saying to use a nasty like RoundupĀ® or other herbicides containing glyphosate. (One site was a little snarky b/c under the subtitle of 'how to control' it merely said 'do not plant'.) And yet, even the articles recommending glyphosate say that it has to be repeated and could take up to 2 years to kinda kill this creep.

I'm an organic gardener and would like to know what, if anything, I can do.

I also want to know if I will make matters worse if I cover up all this nekkid space with a ton of mulch. Have to do something or it's a muddy mess should we happen to get rain. I would use a native hardword mulch, supplemented with some cedar by my front door (the creeper hasn't been there. Yet.)

Any advice? Please? Sell my house and move?

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