Goutweed is one of the most stubborn weeds in the garden and can drive hobby gardeners to despair. How to effectively combat and sustainably remove goutweed from your garden, read here.
Goutweed is a very persistent weed that can grow up to 100 centimeters high along with its white flowers and grows very densely. Goutweed spreads very quickly, because it reproduces both by its seeds and by underground shoots. Therefore, once established in the garden, it is very troublesome and tedious to get rid of it.
Fighting goutweed: 5 ways
There are several ways you can control goutweed in your garden:
- Regular weeding/mowing
- Completely uproot roots and shoots
- Cover goutweed
- Combat goutweed with other plants
- Anti-goutweed remedies
- regular weeding/mowing
One way to control goutweed is to keep mowing it or raking it down. It is best to start doing this in the spring and repeat the process regularly, several times a year. In this way, the weed is weakened more and more. However, this method is very tedious and must be applied over a long period of time.
- completely uproot the roots and shoots.
A very effective option to control goutweed is to go through the soil with a digging fork* and completely remove its roots and shoots. This takes a lot of time at one point, but done correctly it is very helpful. However, you must do this very carefully and not break the roots and shoots. Goutweed can quickly grow again from any part, no matter how small. Therefore, you should not dig up the soil either.
If there are other plants in the bed, dig them up along with the roots and remove goutweed roots that are caught in them. After goutweed uprooting, you can put them back in the ground.
Note: Do not remove goutweed in the compost, because it will spread from there right away.
- cover goutweed
Especially in unplanted areas, you can also control goutweed by covering it. To do this, first cut the goutweed down to ground level and cover the entire area with thick, untreated cardboard and then with a ten centimeter layer of bark mulch. After one to two years, the cardboard will have rotted and the shoots will have died because air and water can no longer reach them.
For planted areas, you can use garden fleece instead of cardboard. You can cut holes in the fleece for the other plants.
Tip: You should continue to monitor the affected area, as goutweed may continue to spread via remaining seeds.
- fight goutweed with other plants
Another tip against goutweed is to plant other nutrient-grabbing plants that also grow very densely and “take away” nutrients and water from the goutweed. Potato is considered the best option here. However, other plants such as Chinese reed or geraniums should also help.
With this method, you will not get rid of goutweed completely, but contain it. Then, in any case, in the foreground are the other plants.
- anti-goutweed means
There are also agents against goutweed to buy, so-called herbicides. An example of such a product is the GierschFrei-Spray from Neudorff*.
When using these agents, however, one should be very careful, especially if there are other plants in the vicinity. Because the means do not distinguish between goutweed and “non-goutweed” and therefore also damage other plants. If you want to apply the agent in the bed or near other plants, you should therefore ..:
… cover the other plants well (for example, with foil or buckets) or dig them up.
… spray the goutweed with pinpoint accuracy.
If you want to control goutweed in beds or between other plants in larger quantities, it makes most sense to replant the beds or mixed plantings in spring or fall. You can dig up perennials and shrubs, free them from goutweed roots, and then replant them in the newly created bed. In vegetable beds, it is best to wait until the harvest is over and then replant the bed or do it before the vegetable season.
Use only when the goutweed is dry and there is no rain forecast in the hours following.
As a rule, you need to apply anti-gout agents two or three times, each time at intervals of a few weeks. For this, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Another way to get rid of goutweed is to simply eat it. Goutweed is an ancient medicinal herb and has valuable nutrients such as vitamin C, minerals and proteins. Of course, you won’t fight it completely this way, but you can make the most of it and contain its spread somewhat: Goutweed can be eaten both raw and cooked. For example, you can make pesto from it, but also salads, casseroles or soups can be wonderfully refined with it. Harvest the goutweed already in spring and use the young, bright leaves for consumption.
Poisonous doppelgangers of goutweed
Beware: goutweed has some poisonous doppelgangers. Other plants that belong to the umbelliferous family also have similar leaves to goutweed and bear white flowers. These are, for example:
Spotted hemlock (difference from goutweed: smells unpleasant, has red-brown spots on the stem).
Water hemlock (difference from goutweed: when cut, a yellowish liquid comes out)
Dog parsley (difference from goutweed: stems sometimes reddish; flowers have three downward-pointing, elongated bracts)
If you are not sure which plant it is in your garden, you should refrain from eating it and first ask an expert for advice.
With these tips, you can contain or completely control goutweed in your garden.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.