It’s Not Easy But Don’t Give Up
Removing goutweed and other invasive groundcovers, like periwinkle, English ivy or pachysandra from your garden will not be easy. It will likely take more than one attempt. But don’t let that stop you! Removing invasive species will create a garden that supports biodiversity, climate resilience, native plants, pollinators and birds.
For the best results, choose a removal method based on the size of the infestation.
Digging & Pulling
Ideal for small infestations. Best done when the soil is soft, such as after a rainfall. Use a shovel or a hand trowel to pull up the plant and its roots. Dig out roots that break off below the surface of the soil. Any roots left behind can grow into a new plant. Protect bare soil by covering it with a six to eight-centimetre layer of mulch.
Effective for medium to large infestations. Use a hoe or lawnmower to cut the goutweed down to ground level. Cover the cleared area with heavy, black plastic or cardboard and weigh down the edges with rocks, bricks or other heavy objects. For a more attractive look, cover the tarp or cardboard with a thick layer of mulch. Smothering starves the goutweed of sunlight and water, but it might require leaving the tarp in place for more than one season.
Effective for medium to large infestations during the summer in areas that receive full sun. Use a hoe or lawnmower to cut the goutweed down to ground level and water the area thoroughly. Cover the cleared wet area with heavy, clear plastic and bury the edges in the soil to trap the heat and “cook” the goutweed. Keep the plastic in place for at least six weeks.
No matter which method you choose, dispose of goutweed and other invasive plants in the garbage or check with your municipality for more information. Monitor the area regularly and remove any new sprouts (and their roots) as they appear.
Top Tips for Stopping the Spread of Invasives in Your Yard
- Know what you’re buying. Some nurseries and garden centres sell invasive plants. Use CVC’s native plant lists to find local, easy-to-grow options for your yard.
- Use CVC’s Native Plant Nurseries guide to find a nursery that focuses on native plants.
- Don’t accept plants from friends or neighbours unless you know what they are.
- Use CVC’s Guide to Gardening Wisely to find native plant alternatives to common invasive garden plants.
- Use the iNaturalist app to identify what’s growing in your yard.
- Read more about invasive species and learn how to control or remove them.