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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Help - Ground Ivy Might Eat My Yard

Help - Ground Ivy Might Eat My Yard

Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 376
So, before we started converting our lawns to gardens we had a bit of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) mixed into the grass. No big deal, and the bees liked the purple flowers.

However, it seems that we have created the perfect environment with stone-bound beds and sheet mulching for the ground ivy to go bionic. In the areas we've sheet mulched but not yet planted to other things, the ivy has created a virtual carpet over the mulch and a root mat to be reckoned with.

I'm trying to think strategically about how to get ground ivy back in balance. Any advice? I know I can't make it go away completely and I don't mind a little bit of it. Should I try to pull up the "mat" before I create the garden beds? Or should I just heavily mulch right over it, knowing that I'll just need to selectively pull it as it resurfaces....

I'm paralyzed on this one:)
A former member
Post #: 119
I accidentally brought it into my flower beds from a neighbor's gift plant. I didn't try to get rid of it because I love the smell and find it pretty as well. It turned out to be a big mistake. It has tried to take over everything and wouldn't be so bad if it would stick to being a creeper, however in a crowded bed it will grow as tall as need be to get it's share of sun.

I have learned the hard way to think twice before introducing any wild plant into my gardens, and especially so since I tend to have a lot of wood chunks and rocks in my beds as I like to try to imitate nature. I'm having the same problem with violets, queen Ann's lace, and wild daisies with hundreds of plants coming up in every nook and cranny. The only thing that has not caused problems for me is johnny jumpups.

I think I would attempt to get rid of it if possible. Good luck!
user 3832381
Portland, ME
Post #: 32
Oh cripes! Is that also known as Creeping Charlie? and Rat's Tongue? If so, it is a crazy, crazy. crazy weed that appears to have the need to take over the world. We are absolutely loaded with it. It's a bit "fun" to pull it out - many runners!
Sue M.
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 24
I would definitely pull up the whole mat of it, especially since that doesn't mean you're getting rid of it! I have it everywhere as well, it's more of a problem in some places than others. Happy pulling!
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 158
Some people apparently eat ground ivy. I haven't tried it. It is also used as a tea. It smells good when you mow it.

I was thinking a few years back how I would rather have that for my lawn than grass since it stays low generally. Far less mowing. Grass is certainly invasive and at least as much problem as a lot of other things. I have problems with false lily of the valley - Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), sessile bellwort, various berry bushes, esp. raspberries and creeping dewberries, and that creeping 5 leafed stuff.

Cranberries get pretty crazy in about the same way.
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 169
I know what you mean Lisa! Last week Francis used the edger around the sheet-mulching with the idea of disconnecting it from the mother vine in the path. We don't mind the ivy in the path even though we're gradually trying to replace the grass AND the ground ivy by replanting clover after we kill both by covering it with left-over pond liner. We want to make all the paths woodchuck fare.

But to get back to the invasive ivy: After using the edger we re-sheetmulched the edges where path and successful sheet-mulching meet by placing our "garbage sandwiches" (GS) all along the edge of the sheet-mulching, putting them one next to the other in a line, under the straw.

A friend joked calling my use of the GS's "sand-bags!" But in a sense the GS so far seem to be doing that -- stopping the encroaching ivy! I saw that it sneaks in on the sheetmulching at the edges because the newspaper there has broken down and exposed more soil. So the GS are an easy way to restore
the sheetmulching.

One more thing. Our godchild's -- Rowan's mom, -- Lynn, suggested we add some dark mulch over the straw. She saw the beauty of our new cherrywood sawdust paths to each of the eight fruit trees and visualized it would be even more beautiful with the contrasting dark mulch. I agreed and thought it would also add more mulch to continue keeping out the ivys. Knock on wood!

Lori P.
Portland, ME
Post #: 13
Rat's Tongue? Wow--I have heard it called Creeping Charlie and Creeping Susan. It's a variety of Ajuga, right? And very pretty and fun to pull out, yes, but EVERYWHERE! Perhaps I'll try Elaine's sandbag approach.

But I wanted to ask about the false Lily of the Valley that someone mentioned. Lisa, I noticed you have a ton of a shade-loving spreading plant in the woods near your frog pond. Is that false Lily of the Valley? And if so, am I crazy to want to plant it in a shady spot in my yard to avoid mowing in that area?


Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 413
Hi Lori - next to the pond...that would be remnants of the landscape we inherited so it's vinca and pacasandra. Nice ground covers. I'm planning a rabbit hutch with a 3-ish season worm bin underneath next to the fence where the pacasandra is located now.

By the way the solar pump for the pond is very cool. Rowan's trying to figure out how we are stopping the water flow when we wave our hands in the air (blocking the sign from the mini panel). He just waves his hands in the air randomly expecting the water flow to change.
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 173
Lisa did you get a 12 volt solar pump for your small pond? That's the size Hap told me to get for our mini front yard pond (one you call "prosperity pond" I believe.) Because it's been sitting stagnant (waiting for Hap to hook a wire from the roof solar panel to it) it started breeding mosquitos big time! Looked like hundreds of them. When Hap saw it he gave us a temporary remedy until we get the pump hooked: Add 1 TBS oil which deprives the mosquitos of oxygen. (We ended up making it 3 TBS). It worked. But there's new minimal acitivity probably in a few air pockets here and there so I called again to get that hook-up made.

Some knowledgeable person had assured me that mosquitos breed only in shallow water. Well this pond is small in diameter but it's about 1 - 2 ' deep. Blows that theory.

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