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How to Kill Bugleweed

Bugleweed, also known as Ajuga, thrives in temperate regions of the United States. It is fast growing, resilient and difficult to kill. Bugleweed is attractive with brilliant blue flowers, but has an irritating habit of overwhelming lawns and flowerbeds, so eradication or control measures are often necessary. Because bugleweed is tough and propagates itself through runners, many commercial herbicides don't work particularly well, although they might kill more delicate ornamental plants, grasses and vegetables. Physical removal can be hard work, but it tends to be the most effective method.

Let surrounding grass grow to a few inches high, if the bugleweed is growing in a lawn. Bugleweed and lawn grasses compete with each other for nutrients and light. The larger and stronger the grass is, the less chance the bugleweed has.

Loosen the soil around each bugleweed plant with the fork and pull it out firmly from the base. Also remove any roots or runners, using the trowel as necessary. Although bugleweed propagates mostly through runners, it is advisable to remove the plants in the early to mid spring, before it has a chance to seed.

Place the plants on a groundsheet in full sun for a day. Once the plants are dead, they are safe to compost.

Use a mild herbicide such as vinegar in a spray bottle, or even pans of boiling water, on resistant plants. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation recommends a mixture of 1 gallon white vinegar with a cup of salt and a few drops of liquid soap. One of these remedies should kill, or at least seriously damage, the plant it comes into contact with, without poisoning the surrounding soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Trowel
  • Groundsheet
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Liquid soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Pan
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About the Author

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.