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How to Kill Pachysandra

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pachysandra is a flowering ground cover. If left unattended and unpruned, it can become an invasive plant, growing on neighboring plants and shrubs. In addition, pachysandras use a lot of water and nutrients. Nearby plants, shrubs and trees may be dying because there is too much pachysandra using up most of what they need to thrive. Whatever the reason, there is a way to kill pachysandra. Since herbicides are designed not to kill plants, including invasive ground covers, you will need to manually get rid of it.

Pull up as much of the pachysandra as possible. Use your hands and hold tight near the base of the plants. Then pull up. Pachysandras have shallow shoots so this shouldn’t be too difficult; however, if the soil is moist, it will make this step much easier. Toss out the pachysandra or give it away to someone else to plant.

Water and then cover the area with black plastic to ensure there is no pachysandra left alive, ready to grow and invade again since pulling up pachysandra is not 100 percent effective. Lay the plastic down and be sure to cover the entire planting side plus and extra 12 inches for extending roots. Stake the plastic in or set heavy rocks on top so it will not blow away.

Leave the plastic there at least several months, but a year will work best. While this may seem extreme, the heat will burn the remaining roots and if pachysandra has been taking valuable nutrients away from your trees or shrubs or suffocating other plants, this step is worth it. Arrange potted plants over top of the plastic, if desired, but not too many since the black plastic needs to absorb the sunlight in order to cook the roots.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Black plastic
  • Rocks or stakes

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.