Goutweed/Bishop's Weed/Snow on the Mountain--need help organically eradicating

Ellie Strand
Ellie Strand Posts: 2 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

My neighbor planted this voracious ground cover about 10 years ago and it's literally taken over about 20% of my backyard where it abuts the fence between our properties. I had a high schooler dig it all up the second or third year it invaded, but I didn't know you have to literally almost sift the soil to remove ALL root pieces. I am elderly and chronically ill. I do not have the strength to go out and patiently dig up every plant.

Apparently, even horticultural vinegar will not kill it. The only applied control I've read about that is supposed to work is glyphosate--RoundUp. Solarization isn't an option in many areas of goutweed infestation because it's wound itself around beneficial plants I can't move.

Does anyone have a "secret weapon" I could spray on the plants...or any suggestions?


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    @Ellie Strand Welcome to the forum! This is a great place to ask questions. We have a lot of combined experience here.

    I have never tried to get rid of goutweed before but I have a very invasive species of buttercup that is similar in habit. It breaks off when you try and pull it and it leaves bits of root in the ground. So I will be watching this thread for answers. One thing that I am going to try is choking it out with a cover of some kind. Probably cardboard. But it has crept into cracks in my rock border and cracks in the joints of my raised beds so that will be harder to address.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @Ellie Strand Perhaps this would be a good time for an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy. According to Ellen Zachos, Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) is edible. Young leaves can be used in salads and older ones like cooked spinach. Even if you can't use it all, perhaps you know someone who is interested in foraging and you could let them know it's free for the taking.

    I don't know where you live, but in MA, there is a group called the League of Urban Canners. They pick produce from people's property and process it in their community kitchen. I believe the proceeds are split between the property owner and the pickers/processors. There may be a similar group elsewhere.

    Ground covers can certainly be tough customers to eradicate. I hope you get the upper hand!

  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Ellie Strand and welcome to TGN, I found this article about goutweed. Not very encouraging, but hopefully it is worth your reading it. http://www.ecosystemgardening.com/kill-the-bishops-weed.html. Best wishes in your battle with a VERY tough plant

  • Ellie Strand
    Ellie Strand Posts: 2 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, Tomandcara.

    I appreciate the article link. It confirms my fear that the only way to eradicate it is by completely replacing the soil.

  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

    @Ellie Strand and probably your neighbors soil as well!