Please help identify this plant

Asked May 15, 2019, 7:52 AM EDT

Good morning, I am trying to identify this plant. It is taking over my flower bed and hostas (a friend called it a hosta takeover. Haha! Anyway, I digress. But is spreading, and fast! I’m attaching pictures of the leaves and stalks that will hopefully help. Any info you can go oils be appreciated. Thanks so much,

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

They don't call it 'loosestrife' for nothing. This is gooseneck loosestrife, a notoriously aggressive garden nuisance, but still sold (in places) in the trade as a desirable perennial.

It's possible to get rid of it. Cut it down to the ground and spray immediately on the freshly cut stems with an herbicide that has the ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate is a systemic, which means it enters into the system of the plant, translocating down to the roots. Killing the vigorous root system is key.

Do not let glyphosate touch any desirable plants, because it is a total vegetation killer. You can use a shield of cardboard or plastic to keep the spray off your hostas, etc. Then, cover the cut back areas with cardboard or 3-4 layers of newspaper, then mulch. That will look good for the summer and hold down the newspaper/cardboard. Respray any resprouting.

Often, systemic herbicides are even more effective at the end of the growing season when plants are translocating things to their roots for winter. You may want/need to spray again in early fall.

Read the label carefully on your glyphosate product. Often it is mixed with other ingredients you don't want.