Vinca is a flowering evergreen perennial ground cover whose dense matting and rugged adaptation to a wide range of soil conditions make it challenging to eradicate quickly. The most effective method of removal is repeated manual and mechanical liftings of the plants and roots from the soil. Chemical herbicides struggle to penetrate the wax coating on vinca leaves when applied in safe doses, so they are most effective when used in conjunction with manual removal methods.
Water your vinca to soften the soil around the roots. Begin pulling up plants by hand from the base of the plant by grasping the entire plant in a cone shape with one gloved hand and lifting directly up and out. Alternatively, use a shovel to dig down under the roots, lifting the plants and roots up intact to the surface of the soil. Think of it as large-scale tilling of the soil that does not cut the plants but aims to keep top growth and roots in one piece. Once exposed in loose dirt on the surface, pull the plants from the soil and discard. Use a rake to pull vinca runners, roots and loose foliage from the soil.
Mow down vinca plants that are growing on flat surfaces without any large stones or pebbles as an alternative to manual lifting. Set the mower blade to its lowest shear setting and cut down all of the vinca's foliar growth, exposing cut stems and the base or trunk of the plants. Always use a catch mechanism on your lawn mower so that the plant parts and seeds are not redistributed over the same area.
Apply several doses of a biodegradable herbicide such a Roundup over the soil that has been stripped of plants or mowed down so no waxy foliage top growth remains. Follow the package instructions for dosing and application, reapplying as needed to control the reappearance of vinca.
Things You Will Need
- Garden gloves
- Herbicidal spray
- Be patient in the removal process as it may take a year or two of diligent maintenance to eradicate long established vinca. Resist the urge to use toxic chemical herbicides because they are limited in effectiveness and can considerably damage the soil, leech into the water supply and weaken or kill surrounding plants.