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Controlling Useful Invasives — The Grow Network Community
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Controlling Useful Invasives

LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning ModeratorManitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,109 admin

I wanted to put this under a gardening section, of which there is no category specifically dedicated to that general subject.

I was reading the stinging nettle thread and this made me think, what have you successfully done to try to contain an invasive such as stinging nettle, other mints, comfrey (if you want it contained), etc.?

Pots have already been suggested. Harvesting before seed formation has also been suggested.

I have a washing machine tub that I would like to use for invasive containment. It would make for a lot of digging down into the ground and then filling, but I think that it could be worthwhile as it should at least contain wandering roots. Thoughts?

Any other ideas are welcome. I would like to know what others have done.


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie Why not use your washing machine tub above ground? I am guessing it would be deep enough for the roots.

    I have seen lots of ideas for above ground growing. I don't know how the tub looks, but it could be painted, ground sloped around it, surrounded with short fencing, etc.

    You would still need to fill it with a lot of dirt, though.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Moderator Posts: 3,635 admin

    I usually try to hedge in one with the other, with a natural barrier beyond that - stone, a ditch or heavy shade. For instance, comfrey, mint, horseradish and bamboo can grow fairly well side by side, each crowding out the other... a little annual owing or edging still a good idea

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 336 ✭✭✭

    Ive seen people burry cement barriers or pots in the ground or even above ground to contain things. i had garlic chives in a half barrel it didn't help contain those lol they are everywhere!. i think harvesting every year is what can be done.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    I received a starting of comfrey from a friend in the fall of 2018. Hubby planted it in a raised, rock surrounded bed by the hoop house. To my knowledge, it has not even attempted to "escape".

  • toreytorey Moderator Posts: 3,112 admin

    I had a comfrey plant in my garden in a raised wooden bed for many years. It was one that I never dug up; I only used the leaves. So it stayed contained, just getting bigger each year. We finally decided that it was too big and needed to be moved. As soon as we dug it up, it started sending up shoots all around the area where it had been. Took us years of digging up new shoots to finally have no more appearing. I am fortunate to have enough space that it now lives outside the garden where it can grow and spread to its hearts content whenever it is dug up for harvest.

    Horseradish is similar. It will keep getting bigger but not usually spread until it is dug up. Then watch out cause you will have soooo much horseradish. I am a big fan of horseradish but if you only have a small garden it can be difficult to contain.

    Some plants will do well contained and stay where you want them, but some, like mints, have surface or shallow, sub-surface roots that will creep over the edge of your container and carry on their merry way. My beds are 2x6 construction so where the ends meet, mints (and some others) will escape through the cracks.

    One thing you can do with volunteers or escapees is dig them up, pot them and take them to a Farmers Market or a Seedy Saturday or a plant exchange.

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 336 ✭✭✭

    @dottile46 and @torey there are 2 different kinds of comfery there is a russian kind that is non invasive and then there is the american kind that likes to spread every where

    @torey i know that comfrey root can be dug for medicinal purpose and the nice thing about doing that is you generally dont kill the plant in doing so and at the same time keep it controlled

  • toreytorey Moderator Posts: 3,112 admin

    @nksunshine27 I definitely have the spreader. :)

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,109 admin

    @torey I just planted horseradish this past fall. Now I wonder how smart that was? Although my mom kept hers contained by tilling around it. Those roots were massive & like huge tree roots. I now have her plant, so we will see if any surprises come back this year in her garden.

    I am thinking that I should possibly dig this tub down about 1/2 way. That might be the way to keep things from spreading. I did also consider planting invasives together in it.

  • toreytorey Moderator Posts: 3,112 admin


    Digging down for the planter is a good way to protect any roots that might be sensitive to a hard freeze. But usually anything that is an invasive is very frost hardy.

    You will love having fresh horseradish! Nice to have an heirloom plant. Its pretty easy to pick out the young shoots that start up away from the main plant in the early spring and the leaves make a wonderful addition to the salad bowl. Even a bit later in the season you can still add them to salads.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,109 admin

    @torey Good to know. I was starting to wonder if I did something that I'd regret.

    I have it because I can't say no to useful plants. I dislike horseradish very much, but want it for fire cider use. My mom wanted hers gone, so how could I say no when I would want some next year? It is much easier to go out into your own yard to pick whatever anyway.

    Maybe I could harvest extra & sell it fresh locally. Hmm...

  • toreytorey Moderator Posts: 3,112 admin

    @Laurie Marketing your extra is a good idea. (an option for any invasives that you suddenly have too much of) If you are only using it for Fire Cider, you will have more than enough. Our whole family loves horseradish. I have an excellent recipe for horseradish sauce. It loses some of its bite as it ages and oxidizes so its not pure white like the store bought stuff but still better.

    Horseradish has other medicinal benefits that you could use it for as well as Fire Cider. It is listed as a stimulant, aperient, rubefacient, diuretic and antiseptic. It can be infused in oil to make a massage oil for arthritic or rheumatic joint pain. The same oil can be used to stimulate circulation in the extremities or rubbed on the chest for respiratory conditions. (always do a skin patch test with horseradish before use) You can add horseradish to hot infusions for coughs, colds and flus.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,109 admin

    @torey I will certainly keep those uses in mind. I was unaware of any of those.

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