Ajuga reptans, also known as Bugleweed and carpetweed, is a plant that forms dense, spreading mats that can offer effective groundcover for shaded areas. However, ajuga can be invasive and run rampant, taking over large areas of a landscape. These plants share traits with other members of the mint family and are typically difficult to eradicate. If you’ve fallen victim to Ajuga’s charms turned evil, it’s going to take some time and consistent, persistent effort on your part to eradicate this noxious weed without the use of toxic chemicals.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Garden rake
- 1 gallon white vinegar
- 1 cup salt
- 1/2 tsp hand dishwashing liquid
- Garden sprayer or repurposed plastic spray bottle
- Black garbage backs or plastic sheets
- Bricks, large rocks or pieces of firewood
Use a garden rake to lift and raise the ajuga plants as much as possible. Hand-pull as many of the plants as you can and discard them in the trash or burn them. Don’t toss them onto your compost heap, where they’ll re-root.
Adjust the blades on your lawnmower so that they’re as low as possible. Mow the bugleweed plants and rake up the clippings. Pull or dig up any of the stubs that you can.
Pour a gallon of white vinegar into a heavy saucepan and heat over medium. Stir in 1 cup of salt until dissolved. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of hand dishwashing liquid to the saltwater. Stir it in slowly to avoid creating excessive suds. Vinegar and salt are toxic to plants, and the soap will make the solution adhere to the ajuga.
Pour the solution into your garden sprayer. If you only have a small area or just a few bugleweed plants to get rid of, use a repurposed plastic spray bottle.
Apply the solution to the affected site with the garden sprayer and soak the ajuga plants thoroughly. Use the plastic spray bottle to treat small areas or individual plants. Coat all surfaces well.
Cover the ajuga plants with black plastic garbage bags or sheets. Set some bricks, large rocks or pieces of firewood around the edges to secure the plastic in place. This process, called solarisation, will smother any surviving ajuga. The plants will die due to deprivation of sunlight and nutrition. It will also kill any seeds that they may have dropped into the soil. Leave the plastic in place for two weeks and check your results. Repeat in another two weeks if necessary.
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