Ground Elder Fight Club - how to rid the garden of ground elder organically?

We have some epimedium that we want to remove from another part of the garden and thought we might try planting it in the border that has invading ground elder, which so far hasn’t been too rampant and has remained fairly small/low growing (perhaps because it’s pretty shaded in the summer from the growth of roses and other shrubs and I have been weeding it out as best I can each spring) to see if the epimedium might out compete the ground elder. Epimedium is pretty good at keeping other parts of the garden weed free as it creates such a dense canopy, but the downside is perhaps that unlike some other ground cover options (e.g. comfrey) its habit is such that it would be impossible to carry out any further weeding out of ground elder between the epimedium once that’s established, and I’m not sure it’ll get tall enough to stop the ground elder just growing through it. Any thoughts as to whether it’s worth a try or is bound to fail would be welcome!

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Good question Tom, I would say it is worth trying in an area of ground elder first before committing to the whole lot.

In my experience, ground elder is a more vigorous groundcover than epimedium but, perhaps where you are it’s the other way around. Definitely worth a shot and I’d be interested to hear what happens… because if it works I’ll be following your lead!

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I have not tried this, but I do have a bed full of Epimedium and the only weed that gets through are thistles, I have ground elder in near by areas but it has not appeared in the Epimedium.

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Thanks Nick, perhaps I need some epimedium too!

Thank you Jack and Nick for your thoughts. It’s good to know that it’s doesn’t sound like a completely foolish experiment! So far the ground elder has been very low growing and not at all dense, how much that’s do do with the growing conditions and how much because it’s newly arrived I’m not sure, so ideally the epimedium would have to bulk up fairly quickly, in case the ground elder starts getting stronger, but elsewhere in the garden it always established quickly in the first season and nothing really manages to grow through it. I’m sure it’s a bit late ideally to move it, but it needs moving now anyway. I’ll report back!

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