Herbs Spreading Like Weeds

Q: We bought a house and had herb gardens that have started spreading. How can you kill these herbs without harming native plants and soil?
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shopping_addiction_woman from Nashville, IN

A: Sopping_addiction_woman,

How nice the former owner left you an herb garden. Too bad they didn't keep some of the invasive herbs confined to containers. I learned this lesson the hard way one year after losing a large corner of my vegetable garden to a variety of mints and some lemon balm. In your particular situation, the easiest and most eco-friendly way to control the spread of invasive herbs is to dig them out. You can also try cutting a hole in a large piece of black landscaping fabric and slipping it over the portion of the herbs you want to keep. Those covered by the fabric will soon die from lack of light. As long as you keep some of the original plant intact, the digging will be a yearly process to keep them in control until you insert a barrier in the ground deep enough to contain the roots.

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Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

March 27, 20060 found this helpful

When my herbs started taking over I just yanked them out roots and all, threw them in pots, and gave them away by putting them out to the road with a sign saying free plants. I would recommend to everyone not to plant mint at all because it is so invasive and will take over the flower beds and smother every thing else out. I also had a terrible time with chives taking over and would recommend that if you want chives to plant them in an area all of their own as far away from your herb and perenniel beds as you can get.

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March 27, 20060 found this helpful

A tip I've heard and tried that seems to be working going into the 3rd year of the garden is to plant the herbs in pots that have holes in the bottom and then plant the whole pot to the rim. To save some money I used the buckets that I get my cat litter in, drilled holes in the bottom, removed the handles and planted the mint in the buckets sunken into the ground. That was 3 years ago and my mint still has remained contained in the area of the bucket.

As a side note they do tend to get thick in the bucket so you may want to thin them out in the begining of the season to keep them healthy. Other than that there's no additional maintenance to them I water, weed and enjoy my garden as usual I don't even see the buckets and I don't have mint invading every inch of it. The fresh mint tea is wonderful on a hot summer night too!

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March 27, 20060 found this helpful

Oregano, too is very invasive.

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March 28, 20060 found this helpful

You could give them; I would gladly pay the shipping to get your throwaways! But you could also sell them on ebay. A starter pack of 12 herb plants for 6.50 seems popular. Could be a nice little side income.

I'm wondering if that step-in lawn/garden edger would be barrier enough to keep them contolled?

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