How To Get Rid Of Goutweed?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:34 pm

Goutweed can be found in almost all gardens. The plant proliferates through the soil as a root weed and spreads unrestrained.

What is goutweed?

Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) belongs to the family of umbelliferae and has long been known in natural medicine.In rheumatism and gout it is said to relieve the pain. As a wild vegetable it is quite respected by gourmets. In the garden, however, most want to get rid of goutweed, because the spread of the plant is almost impossible to stop. Therefore, here are a few tips on how to do it after all.

Do not hoe away goutweed roots

How To Get Rid Of Goutweed?

If you want to fight goutweed, deep hoeing won’t help, because the plant spreads through root runners. If you chop it into pieces, a new plant will grow from each one. Combing the roots out of the soil with a digging fork, down to the last snippet, only succeeds in light soils that crumble when dug over. The tips of the roots penetrate half a meter deep into the soil. So you would have to dig at least two spades deep to remove all the roots.

How To Get Rid Of Goutweed?

Biological means help against goutweed

  1. for one to two years plant all problem areas with potatoes. The lush foliage of the plants starves the weeds.
  2. you “bury” the goutweed. To do this, lop off all shoots just above the ground, then cover the area with a mulch sheet or a finger-thick layer of newspaper. To keep the sight bearable, bark mulch is sprinkled on top. After a year, remove the film or puncture the paper cover and plant in the holes.
  3. runners from goutweed can still sprout to light years later. Therefore, perennials should be planted that will prevent goutweed from re-invading in the long term through their vigorous growth. These include comfrey (Symphytum gradiflorum ‘Blue Bells’), soapwort (Saponaria officinalis), or cranesbill (Geranium x gracilis ‘Sirac’).
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Chemical means possible?

We say BETTER NOT: in the past, there was “Weedex” (by Celaflor). Fortunately, this agent is no longer on the market, as it was a highly toxic pesticide. For the garden, the agent “Roundup” (also from Celaflor) is still known. It is based on glyphosate. Products containing glyphosate are also used extensively in agriculture. These products are suspected of harming animals and humans. We therefore strongly advise against their use (The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, NABU for short, has published a number of articles on the subject of “Glyphosate in gardens”…).

Only the product “Gierschfrei” (from Neudorff) could possibly be used in case of a goutweed plague. It is made of maleic hydrazide and pelargonic acid. However, this combination is also not completely without. Maleic hydrazide is suspected of being carcinogenic and damaging to genetic material. Nevertheless, this agent is not considered dangerous to bees and is harmless to animals and humans.

So try better to use the biologically compatible means (such as foils and plants that displace goutweed, see above). And another thing: a little weeding is part of gardening. If you always pluck off the leaves and pull them out, there will be no real infestation. Also make sure that goutweed doesn’t start to flower, because then it will spread even more. But there are also positive things about the herb:

Three reasons to like goutweed

  1. it is edible and tastes not so bad. So just harvest it and eat it like spinach or lettuce! Or you dry the leaves and make a tea out of it (works with fresh leaves, too). Of course, you can only use the leaves if they have not been treated with pesticides.
  2. small outdoor survival trick: if you are stung by an insect on the way, crushed, fresh goutweed works wonders on the bite wound.
  3. Guinea pigs and rabbits love goutweed. So if you have small animals, they really enjoy the herb. And then you can’t have enough of it in the garden.
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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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