Hello, I am attaching photos of a weed that has overtaken a small perennial...

Asked June 23, 2015, 7:26 PM EDT

Hello, I am attaching photos of a weed that has overtaken a small perennial garden in my yard. I want to clean it all out and replant the garden. Since I am not sure what this is, I am not sure if I can try to preserve some of the perennials or if I should get rid of all the plants and start from scratch. Can you help me identify this plant and let me know what would be the best way to proceed with re-beautifying this garden . Thank you! Dawn Violette

Ramsey County Minnesota

3 Responses

Thank you for the question. There are many flower heads made up of small white clustered together flowers. Could you send me a photo of the entire plant so that I can see the leaves and stalk, and tell me how tall it is and what sorts of conditions it is growing in? I might be better able to help you with more information.

Sorry, I thought I had attached multiple photos. This plant has taken over a perennial bed on the north side of the yard at my sun's house. Despite begin on the north side, it does get quite a bit of sun as there are no shade trees near by. The soil was not amended as far as we know so just typical garden soil. He hasn't watered it much,just rainfall. The plant is not tall. More of a ground cover. As this is at my son's house, I cannot measure it but I would guess, maybe 3-4 inches tall with slightly taller flower stalks. Two summers ago I put in several perennials and my less than green thumbed child pretty much neglected it so these weeds took over and have returned since. He (or should I say his girlfriend) would now like to do something less weed like with that garden. So my question comes down to identifying the plant and finding out the best way to get rid if it. Thanks so much for your help!
Dawn Violette

Thank you for the additional photos and plant description. I believe your son's plant is bishop's weed or Aegopodium podagraria. This plant can become very invasive and is difficult to control and remove due to it's extensive root system. See more photos of this plant: q=Variegated+Perennial+Ground+Cover&view=detailv2&&&id=FC607D55F14081E1CA625E87BE6C51E829E473FC&selectedIndex=16&ccid=%2bdMepUyd&simid=608044834314912335&thid=JN.4Fg%2fiFagFbxbKWYQdL4qvA&ajaxhist=0

It can be very difficult to remove by digging and you won't get all of it at first although this is a non chemical removal option. It will require diligence in the next few years to quickly remove the stragglers that keep coming up. The other option is a chemical herbicide like Roundup also called glyphosate. This is a non selective herbicide that will kill everything it touches so if there are plants in the garden you want to keep, protect them with something like a cardboard box and only use when there is no wind. It kills plants by being absorbed down into the root system.

Once you have this weed under control, take a look at these publications to learn about establishing a perennial garden.

Thank you for contacting Extension and good luck!