Removing invasive wild ginger from a garden

Asked June 23, 2016, 10:54 AM EDT

Hello, My mother has a 3 tiered rock garden. Fairly large. She lives in a wooded area in Washington Co. and over the years, wild ginger has completely overtaken her garden. Completely! She is elderly and cannot do the garden work herself. I am wondering how I can remove the ginger for her. A few years ago I tried to dig up the plants with a pitchfork, but the ginger has spread even further. How can I remove the ginger? Do I need to be using a herbicide? I feel a bit nervous using a poison, but I also know that digging it all out by hand may be more than I can handle! Thank you! Christine

Washington County Minnesota

3 Responses


Digging out the wild ginger (with care to get the entire root system) is the most effective method of eradication. Have you considered offering plants to her neighbors, friends, and/or family if they'll come and dig them for you? Wild ginger is usually quite a prized plant since it thrives in the shade. (They would need to use shovels rather than pitchforks in order to get the entire root system.)

You can consider a herbicide, but understand that if you use a product with glyphosate (like Roundup), it will kill all vegetation it comes into contact with. If you decide to use a herbicide, you may want to "paint" the individual plant leaves to ensure you're just killing off the ginger. Please be sure to follow the directions on the label.

Thank you so much for the information and suggestions! I have had no luck in getting others to help do the digging, but I will certainly offer some plants to the neighbors. I know at first, she was pleased to have the plant in her garden, never expecting it would come to dominate the entire place!
I am quite hesitant to use a herbicide, so I'm glad you are recommending digging as the most effective method. I will see what I can accomplish with a shovel rather than a pitch fork!

Again, thanks so much!!

Here's another thought: I'm a Hennepin Co. Master Gardener, and we have an annual plant sale using donated plants. Why don't you contact the Washington Co Master Gardeners and see if they might want the ginger (they might want to wait until next spring...). It can't hurt, right?

Here's their contact information: