Anyone who has ever tried to fight goutweed in the garden knows: this weed is particularly stubborn. Only a few methods help permanently.
The challenge with goutweed: Simply pulling out the weed does nothing at all, because it grows back again after a short time. Many of the supposedly helpful household remedies are also ineffective – but there are still ways to remove goutweed sustainably.
Removing goutweed – the weed multiplies rapidly.
Common goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) belongs to the umbelliferae. Although the plant was even cultivated as a medicinal herb in the Middle Ages, it is extremely unpopular with amateur gardeners today.
The reason: with its underground creeping shoots (rhizomes), goutweed can multiply quickly in lawns or beds and take nutrients away from other plants or displace them.
fight with chemistry – effectively, but with caution use
Special chemical weed killers against goutweed are now available in stores for annoyed garden owners. These can actually help to get rid of the annoying weed.
Especially for young plants, chemical agents against goutweed have proven their worth. If the plant has only reached a certain growth height, however, there is a risk that only the leaves will turn brown and die, and the goutweed will nevertheless grow back.
The big disadvantage of such weed killers: they can also damage the surrounding plants as well as the lawn and are therefore basically only to be used strictly according to instructions and extremely carefully.
The biggest mistakes when removing goutweed – these means do nothing at all.
Many environmentally conscious gardeners would prefer to do without chemicals altogether. However, numerous of the home remedies that are supposed to help against goutweed are of little use and regularly lead to frustration. In some cases, they can even contribute to the spread.
Home remedies that can be saved are, for example:
- Vinegar and salt: To fight goutweed with a solution of vinegar and salt is legally problematic. This is because, according to the Plant Protection Act, only mixtures that are specifically approved for use are permitted. In any case, the mixture kills the plant only superficially, so that it grows again.
- Removing goutweed with coffee grounds: Coffee grounds can be used in many ways as a household remedy. Contrary to many assumptions, however, it does not help against goutweed.
- Potato water: Hot potato water can cause the above-ground parts of the plant to die. However, the underground shoots remain unimpressed by this, and the goutweed grows back.
- Covering with bark mulch: This can only inhibit growth somewhat. But anyone who has tried it knows that the unpopular umbelliferous plant also finds its way through the mulch layer.
- Pulling out or superficial weeding: Thanks to their long stolons, the plants simply grow back after removal.
If you try to dig up the deep roots with a spade, you can make things even worse: Because with the spade you run the risk of severing the roots and from the root pieces grow new plants again.
Sustainably combating goutweed: Get to the root of the weed and stay on the ball
Nevertheless, removing the underground shoots is basically a good way to get rid of goutweed permanently:
- However, a digging fork should definitely be used instead of a spade.
- Care should be taken to really dig up the entire root. Therefore, the soil should be dug up at least 30 centimeters deep.
- In the best case the dug out earth should be sieved out even again, in order to catch also each root piece, recommends Utopia.de.
- It costs time and trouble to look for the bright roots meticulously from the soil, – the procedure can lead however in the long term to success.
- Top rule with this natural method: Stubbornly remain (finally also the Giersch is stubborn). As soon as the first small plants grow back, they should be dug up again immediately.
- Also important: goutweed should be removed before flowering, otherwise it will quickly multiply again by seed. In addition, the removed parts of the plant should not be put on the compost, because even from here it can spread again.
Remove goutweed – deprive the plants of oxygen with cardboard.
Another natural means of combating goutweed, which Mein-schöner-Garten and Compo.de recommend, is covering the soil with cardboard. This method is especially suitable for the unvegetated parts of the beds.
The soil there is covered with simple cardboard or special weed fleece and above it bark mulch. Thus, the weeds are deprived of oxygen and light.
Even with this sustainable way to remove goutweed, however, you need patience. Thus it can last up to two years, until the underground shoots die off, explains Compo.de.
Fight goutweed naturally: with cranesbill and potatoes against the herb.
A particularly natural way to win the battle against goutweed is to use certain plants. Gardeners rely here, for example, on cranesbill. With its dense leaves, this popular ground cover deprives the regrowing, small goutweed plants of light.
For this very reason, Mein-schöner-Garten.de also recommends potato plants, which also have dense foliage and can also deprive goutweed of nutrients. Potato cultivation is thus a natural and tasty alternative to chemical maces or tedious weeding to combat goutweed.
Eating goutweed instead of removing it – the “weed” is suitable for many recipes
Speaking of tasty: If you like, you can also eat goutweed instead of laboriously fighting it.
Giersch tastes similar to parsley and is very healthy. Among other things, it contains vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. In the past, it was even used as a medicinal herb, its scientific name Aegopodium podagraria translated means “healing the gout”.
Recognize goutweed – there is a risk of confusion with poisonous plants.
It should be noted, however, that goutweed looks very similar to some poisonous plants – for example, the poisonous dog parsley or spotted hemlock.
Goutweed can be identified with the help of the rule of three: it has three times three leaves and the stem is also triangular when cut. If you rub the leaves with your finger, they also smell slightly like parsley.
Removing goutweed in harmony with nature – the weed benefits bees and tastes good to guinea pigs.
If you don’t feel comfortable eating the weed, you can still use it as food for rodents: Rabbits or guinea pigs love the stubborn plant.
It is also beneficial for wildlife not to completely remove goutweed from the garden: According to nabu.de, the plant benefits many butterfly species and also bees.