Kill the bishops weed gas city indiana


Every year I swear I’m going to get the Bishop’s Weed all pulled out in early spring, and well before the time that it flowers because Bishop’s Weed, a highly invasive plant can produce a prodigious amount of seeds, and you really don’t want this plant reproducing anywhere near your wildlife garden!

But, life has a way of intervening and one spring I’ll walk out the door and those white umbels in flower will be taunting me. “Ha Ha, it says. I’ve won again.” Such was the case last Sunday morning when I had planned on having a birding adventure at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge.

Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) makes a thick carpet in garden beds, and also into woodland natural areas where it has escaped from gardens, and this thick carpet wipes out all the native spring ephemerals, blocking their access to the sun, outcompeting them for resources, and keeping them from being able to grow.

Bishop’s Weed is a sneaky plant. From its long stoloniferous roots it will send up plant stalks–right next to the flower stems of your favorite native woodland plants, making it very difficult to pull it without also pulling out your natives.

And one other thing. For several years now I’ve gotten what I thought was Poison Ivy, even though I had never before been susceptible to it in my many years of landscaping. But recently after working in my garden I’ve gotten a blistery rash that itches so bad I make myself bleed from scratching it in my sleep.

Guess what? I now don’t think it’s Poison Ivy (but I’m not willing to go rub some Poison Ivy leaves on my arms to prove it, LOL). In doing some research for this article, I discovered that Bishop’s Weed can be a major skin irritant and have an itchy painful rash. Just one more reason to hate on the Goutweed. I feel like I’ll need to get a hazmat suit now so I can deal with getting rid of my nemesis plant.

If we really want to change people’s minds about invasive plants, I think we need to re-name them. Plenty of weeds could stand the re-branding treatment. Wild morning-glory sounds marvelous, exactly the sort of thing you’d put in a soap, but if we insist on calling it bindweed, we may get somewhere. Goutweed ought to be CALLED goutweed, and not dressed up as “snow-on-the-mountain.” Himalayan blackberry could probably be called “ravening monsterthorn” without anybody who is familiar with it complaining. And I’d pay good money to get the silk tree renamed to the “killer mayhembush.”

The trouble is, pulling the invasive Goutweed is just a temporary measure. It’s root stolons travel far and wide underground, and unless you get every tiny speck of root out of your wildlife garden it’s going to keep coming back. I know. I’ve been pulling it for 14 years now. My neighbor across the street has been pulling it for more than 30 years now.

The best way to eradicate invasive Bishop’s Weed is to cut every stalk of it back as soon as it emerges in the spring. This will become a weekly chore, probably for several years. But the goal is to starve the roots by not allowing any energy from photosynthesis to reach the roots. So grab your garden shears in early spring and start snipping as soon as you see the Bishop’s Weed rearing it’s thuggish head. And keep snipping at least every week throughout the fall until it goes dormant.

Another method to eradicate the invasive Goutweed (only if you don’t have any native plants in this spot) is to cut it back and cover the entire area with black plastic–not at all aesthetically pleasing. You’re going to need to leave the black plastic there for at least 2 full seasons, and probably more. This will “cook” the plants and eventually kill the roots.

Whatever you do, DO NOT TILL the area where the invasive Bishop’s Weed is growing! Goutweed thrives in disturbed soil. If you till the area, you have just created prime habitat for the Aegopodium podagraria to thrive. You’ve succeeded in chopping up all of those long roots and made thousands of new plants waiting to terrorize your precious native spring ephemerals.

Don’t ever throw uprooted Bishop’s Weed into woodland areas. It will immediately re-root itself and invade your woodland–and you’ll never see your native spring ephemerals again. You can’t really compost it either, because when you spread that compost through your garden beds you’ll be greeted next spring by Goutweed in new places. It’s the plant that just refuses to die.

Vinegar does not work to eradicate the invasive Bishop’s Weed. The only thing that may kill it is something like RoundUp. But applying RoundUp or any other similar chemical is going to kill everything else it comes in contact with, including your native plants. RoundUp will also kill all of the organisms in your soil that keep your plants healthy. And for wildlife gardeners, financially supporting large chemical companies like Scotts MiracleGro (RoundUp distributor) or Monsanto (RoundUp manufacturer) is no way to support healthy ecosystems.

The best way to eradicate invasive Bishop’s Weed is to NOT PLANT IT! And the big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart need to make more responsible decisions and stop selling it, especially with cute marketing gimmicks like “Vigorous Grower” “Fills in Problem Spots Quickly” My best advice to you is that if you see any plant marked this way at Home Depot, RUN AWAY! Most of the plants they are marketing as “Spreads Quickly” will eat your house, swallow your garden, and make your gardening so much harder in years to come as you realize that you’ve been duped and now you’re spending all of your garden time trying to get rid of some plant that was a huge mistake to add to your garden.

Golden Alexanders are a great native addition to the landscape because they flower early in the spring. The clusters of yellow flowers are arranged in an umbel. The small flowers provide much needed nectar and pollen for emerging native bees.

Also see Golden Alexander Faunal Associations for photos and descriptions of the wide variety of native pollinators who use this plant. Since native pollinators don’t recognize Bishop’s Weed as a larval food plant, this invasive plant serves no ecological function for wildlife.