Virginia Waterleaf

Asked April 23, 2020, 10:09 PM EDT

Four years ago a plant appeared in one of my flowerbeds. I dug it up and thought it was gone, but the next year it had spread to other flowerbeds. I tried to dig it up but it has a very extensive root system. I took pictures of the plant and showed them at many nurseries but no one could identify it. Finally a forestry employee friend identified it as Virginia waterleaf. I have done some research and learned that some nurseries sell it as a ground cover. My experience has been that it completely takes over an area. Last year it was even growing up into perennial plants. This spring it has already appeared extensively in all my flower beds and has spread to our lawn. I dislike using chemicals but sprayed some with Roundup last year. It shriveled but recovered. Is there any way to get rid of it? It’s far too extensive to cover with plastic to smother it. If I try to pull it out, the stem breaks and leaves the roots behind. Digging doesn’t work because of the extensive roots.

Swift County Minnesota

1 Response

It is a native plant but is very aggressive. If you are looking for a good ground cover it works well but if you don't want it it is very difficult to get rid of. I'm afraid that Round Up is still your best option for getting rid of it. You will have to make repeat applications throughout the year. Don't mix it stronger if you buy concentrate because you burn the foliage and it doesn't transfer down into the roots then. Once you have beaten it back considerably you could try covering the area with black plastic to see if that will get rid of whats left. I'm sorry I don't have a better, easier answer.