I have an area at the edge of a woodland where I am having difficulty
getting anything to grow. The area gets dappled sunlight, especially the
late afternoon. The area is mostly covered in wild strawberry and weeds
like persicaria. I have tried oenothera (evening primrose), lamb's ear,
Lysimachia punctata, English ivy,and ferns without much luck. The area
tends to be very dry and there are lots of tree roots.
A neighbor has offered me some variegated aegopodium (bishop's weed). It
looks like it might be a good solution, however all the information says it
is very aggressive and hard to get rid of if you change your mind. Some
sites recommend using a root barrier. It hasn't been that aggressive in her
garden, but I can see that you can't plant it in a mixed bed because it
intermingles with everything around it.
Should I try it or am I asking for trouble?
I'd restrict it to a pot. I've seen it making very large patches in
the UK, so YMMV. A root barrier is unlikely to contain it imho, because
it's such a shallow rooter and will just creep over the top.
The green form is an invasive weed here and spreads like wildfire by
seed as well as roots.The roots break very easily and every tiny
fragment grows. I'm not sure if the variegated one sets viable seed, or
if they come up green or variegated. I suppose like many variegated
plants, odd shoots could revert to green. I'd be worried about seeds or
reversion turning a pretty thing back into the ugly thug.
how badly do you want to cover that patch? if it is really dry it will
not spread as much as some of the other posters say. In my case, it
spreads mildly in a 2-hr sun location (it took 3 years to cover an area
of 4X6 sqft, starting from five trasnplants), but other ground covers I
have (like vinca minor, lilyof the valley, and mint) spread much faster
with less sun. It spreads about as fast as sweet woodruff, slower than
ivy and slightly slower than lamium. As you say, it is best planted in
a situation where it is the only cover, with perennials coming out of
it. If even ivy did not take, it may be your only choice. It is almost
certain that it will not spread much. Maybe place a barrier only in the
direction of the woodland. Your mower will make the edge towards the
I have tried lamium and it died. Lily of the Valley is growing, but not
spreading much after three years. Since the area is covered with wild
strawberry, I thought that Fragaria Lipstick
might work, but it is dying, and the surviving plants look like hell.
planted some common orange daylilies and they are surviving but not
spreading. Since it is bone dry and pretty shady, almost nothing grows
well. Since the roots are rather shallow, it seems like a root barrier
might be successful if you monitored it for roots trying to escape over the
top. The information I have read say that the variegated form is not as
invasive as the solid green. Some sites say the seeds are not viable and
other say it spread by self-sowing. I am inclined to try it since nothing
else is working but I don't want to release something invasive into the
woods. That said, the neighbor also lives adjacent to the same woodland and
hers hasn't escaped.
No, no, a thousand times no! My neighbor put some near the property
line, I love her to death, but it's crawling all over my backyard now,
it's a constant battle. Don't plant it (but of course that's just my
humble opinion, it's your garden........).
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
I have a large area under irrigation with both sprayers and a drip system.
There is a limit to how much one can (or will) keep meticulously groomed and
irrigated. The area that I am working on is a woodland area. I want to make
it a very informal, low maintenance area - a shady retreat from the more
formal area of the yard. Of course watering is one option, but not one that
meets my goals for this area. There is a creek that runs behind the
property but it is on the common area for the development. While no one
really uses it, I'm sure that the moment I tried to pump water from it for
my garden, all hell would break loose! There are probably all sorts of laws
precluding that option. My deed prohibits the installation of a well or
cistern, so I can't collect rain water or dig a well. I just want to clean
up the area and put in some plants that will survive with minimal care. I
have removed dead trees and cleaned up fallen trees and brush. I have
defined some paths and now I want to plant some low maintenance ground
covers, under shrubs, and woodland perennials. I see this as multi-year
Well, then, how 'bout some natives? It would seem they wouldn't be a no
brainer, you know, the right plant for the right place. If you don't know
of any, call you County Extension office and ask them for help.
Personally, I wouldn't touch it with someone else's 10-foot pole! I have
yet to hear of anyone who has planted it and hasn't eventually asked how to
get rid of it.
On the edge of a wooded area -- at least here in zone 5 there are many
natives that will grow quite nicely and not "eat" the area.
BTW, what zone are you in?
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