I have an approx. 12' x 12' bed in front of my house that gets totally
taken over by Lily of the Valley in the spring/summer. I also have
blulbs in spring, a rose bush, a hydrangea, and several autumn joy
sedum in that bed. I want to be able to see the mulch and plant other
flowers there...but the LotV totally take over. My question is: how do
I get rid of them but not damage/destroy the other plants that I want
to keep? I'm in Zone 6 if that matters and the LofV start appearing in
Sandra in PA
I have been fighting the Lily of the Valley for two years. The first year I
tried to remove the Lily of the Valley and leave the other plantings. Did
not work. This year I dug out what I wanted to save and put them elsewhere
and went at the Lily of the Valley with a vengeance digging up every root I
could. Now I have put the planting back. I am very sure that some LoV will
be back next spring, but hopefully so little that I will be able to get them
out. I have thrown all I have dug out "over the banking" and I am sure they
will grow there so I will still have them to bring in for their lovely
They spread via their roots, known as "pips". As you try and remove them,
they inevitably break, leaving enough behind to produce another plant. You
can tip the odds in your favor in a number of ways.
- The best time for removing almost any plant is about 24 hours after a good
rain or watering.
- Use a pitch fork to loosen the soil first. Drive it straight down into the
soil and pull back maybe 45 degrees to loosen & lift the soil under & around
the plants. Don't be savage with it or you'll break the pips into smaller
pieces that are harder to spot. Then, fish them out by hand carefully.
- Get yourself a gooseneck weeding tool, preferably the hand version. Here's
the stand-up version - I can't seem to find the hand tool online at the
(Amazon.com product link shortened)"8013&s=hi
These tools skim just under the soil's surface and slice off a plant's
leaves. While it doesn't necessary kill weeds immediately, it certainly
cramps their style to have their leaves hacked off. And, when you don't have
time to do deep weeding, these tools at least allow you to do SOMETHING to
slow their advance.
Unfortunately, Smith & Hawken is now run by a bunch of little Martha
Stewarts who think clay figurines are more important to the gardener than
actual tools. This is their idea of a hand weeder:
It'll sort of work, but the blade needs to be angled so it skims under the
surface. The tool selection at this site seems to vary with the positions of
the moon & stars. A year ago, I bought the RIGHT tool from them, but I don't
see it there at the moment. Keep checking.
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