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I would use Weedol Rootkill Plus - apply it as per the pack instructions and leave weeds until they have withered and turned brown. That means the weedkiller has gone into the roots too.
However, the ground elder must have spread in there from somewhere - check your boundary fences and sink vertical root barriers
http://www.hy-tex.co.uk/index.php/products/geotextiles/root-barrier-c3 into the ground if the ground elder appears to be coming in from outside of your property.
As a veteran of this battle, I sympathise with you, I really do. At a previous house we had a long border full of perennials which did not respond to us working around it to destroy the weed. I got 'allergic' to the very smell of the stuff. It seems to grow from the tiniest bit of root, and while weedkiller might deal with what is there for the moment, more of it springs up, and its close association with the existing plants makes it hard to 'get in there'. In the end I took drastic and time consuming action.
At the end of the season, and over the winter, I lifted every perennial in the area, and picked at their roots to get rid of the elder roots, which were entwined. I planted them in 'quarantine buckets' and beds when I was absolutely sure the root had all been taken out. In the spring, the bed was empty of plants, but up popped the elder, so I sprayed the whole bed with glyphosate, waited a couple of weeks and sprayed the new growth a second time. Then I dug it all out, dug the border over, improved the soil, covered it with landscaping fabric and then bark chippings, into which I cut holes to insert the plants which had managed the quarantine. I then watched the bases of those plants to make sure none of the elder was returning, and on the one or two times when it did, I isolated with a plastic bottle and sprayed with weedkiller.
I can't tell you what a relief it was to get rid of it and see the bed clean and organised. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it, and if you can't manage the problem in an easier way, it does offer a kind of final solution. But I agree you need to check where it is coming from. In our case the garden was bordered by a road, so I only had the issue of a hedgerow which I could deal with myself, and not a neighbouring garden.
I hve been trying for 8 years to get rid of it and it still sprouts up.. I have tried weedkillers, digging, matting everything. i have all bar 5% eradicated it it's persistence persistance I'm afraid and it will take more than a year to get rid..
i feel your pain... my whole garden was covered in it when i moved in, and tall enough to hide the cats and most of the collie! i'm bordered by it on three sides and it's endemic to the area so it's never going to be gone completely.
i was reluctant to use chemicals but with the amount i'd got there wasn't really another choice, on the worst offending areas i sprayed it out and then covered with weed membrane and gravel just so i had at least one spot the dreaded stuff wasn't growing and had somewhere to put some pots to brighten the place up.
4 years on and i've pretty much pushed it back as far as it can go, i keep on top of it by spot treating and weeding the bits that come up in the borders and where i can't get rid of it i make sure i dead head it so it can't spread any seeds.
Unless you want to spend the rest of your life weeding: I'd go with the glyphosate.
Weedol is a " contact" weedkiller, so only kills the foliage. Glyphosate is "translocated" or "systemic" weedkiller which is absorbed by the foliage and gets into the the water system within the weeds and gets right down to the roots.
The choice is yours Paul. Good luck whichever way you go.
Just to clarify - I suggested Weedol Rootkill Plus because it contains glyphosate.
i have a similar ground elder problem and reluctantly agree that glyphosate is the way to go. I have borders that it is not feasible to dig up the shrubs due to their size. Plus it's everywhere round here so it'd only find its way back in. I'm taking it in stages and pleased that I now appear GE free in one border (although waiting and ready to attack if/ when it comes back. ) Have now commenced on the next. am blitzing GE when it appears. Am using various techniques to avoid getting chemical on wanted plants: deciduous plants I strip the lower leaves, use cereal packets to create a "tube" to spray down, couple of smaller plants dug up and quarantined like Busy Bee. Like dogfish, though, I expect ground elder will just be part of my gardening routine - hoping that I can get on top of it like I have in the one border.
Sorry to learn of your problem. There is something about some weeds, that still present a mystery. My eldest daughter lives in the New Forest. Keen gardener like her dad. She has had the fight againt ground elder for yonks. One common factor is. I know of individuals who have had the money etc, to actually go as far as having loads of soil removed and replaced by fresh imported soil. Then blow me down. Next season. There it is again. Firstly. It is difficult to eradicate, even with modern chemicals. Might I suggest. That you take a look over the fence, and your local/immediate area. In some instances, plagued gardeners have practically got rid of it. However it comes back. For some unknown reason. Growths way beyond your garden could house the source. It is as though, similar to slugs and snails. As if in some way, a kind of scent trail is left behind. Honestly. It is one of the mysteries of gardening. I would be inclined to, if possible. Try burning. This is easy on a blank canvas, however in a planted border, not so easy. Basically, one would burn off the surface of the soil, with a flame gun. Then dig the area over, and burn the fresh soil. This helps to destroy bits of roots, which chemical wouldn't reach. Sad to say. Even then. It is likely to return.
I wish all the best. Frequent hoeing will keep it out of sight, but below decks, it will flourish. Good luck.