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How to Remove a Groundcover

Ground cover plants are used to cover bare ground in flowerbeds or landscapes. A a good ground cover plant can crowd out weeds because it is usually aggressive. This means it can take over an area and become a pest if grown outside its original boundary. In some cases, thick ground covers around homes harbor pests such as mice and snakes and need to be removed. Removal can be difficult because the roots of the ground cover must killed so they don't grow back.

How to Remove a Ground Cover

Remove a ground cover when it is actively growing. Put on safety glasses and then use a gas-powered weed trimmer with a plastic line. Cut all of the ground cover close to the ground, removing everything but 1 or 2 inches of growth.

Rake over the ground cover to remove pieces cut with the weed trimmer. Ground covers can sprout from pieces left on the ground. That's why you must clear out pieces as completely as possible.

Spray the stumps with a weed killer containing glyphosate right after cutting with the weed trimmer. You must spray the stumps while they are freshly cut, before the cut ends can heal. Healing can take place within 20 minutes.

After one week, spray glyphosate on any part of the ground cover that is still green or actively growing.

Once the ground cover plants are dead--and they're dead if they haven't sprouted again after 10 days--chop out root sections with a hoe and remove the ground cover root base from the garden or landscape. Rake the area carefully to get rid of any sign of the ground cover.


Don't cover the ground under trees or shrubs with weed killer. The roots of the shrubs and trees can take up the weed killer, damaging the plants. Apply the weed killer only to the ground cover stumps.

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