Are you struggling with an invasive ground cover that just won’t quit?
Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle, may seem like a great solution for filling in problem areas, but it can quickly become a nightmare as it spreads beyond its intended boundaries.
The good news is that you don’t have to resort to dangerous chemicals to get rid of it.
In this article, we’ll explore some effective and non-toxic methods for killing vinca minor ground cover.
From digging and pulling by hand to using vinegar and cardboard barriers, we’ve got you covered.
So roll up your sleeves and get ready to say goodbye to those pesky periwinkles once and for all!
How To Kill Vinca Minor Ground Cover
One of the most effective ways to kill vinca minor ground cover is to dig and pull it up by hand. This may be a time-consuming process, but it is a non-toxic removal method that is highly effective. Be sure to wear garden gloves to protect your hands from blistering.
Once you have pulled up as much of the plant as possible, rake up and destroy all parts of the weed. Do not leave any of it lying around, as periwinkles root readily from cuttings. Also, do not add vinca to your compost heap.
Another method for killing vinca minor ground cover is to use vinegar. Add 2 ounces of liquid hand dishwashing soap to a gallon of white vinegar and stir slowly to avoid creating excessive bubbles. Pour the solution into a garden sprayer and apply generously to the cut vinca plants. The vinegar may not kill the weeds, but it will weaken them.
If you want to create a barrier to prevent the periwinkles from spreading, you can use cardboard. Cut large empty cardboard boxes down into sheets and cover the vinca-infested area with cardboard, overlapping the ends of the sheets. If possible, extend the cardboard several feet beyond the perimeter of the affected area to completely deprive the weeds of light. Soak the cardboard with water and pile 6 to 8 inches of compost or shredded mulch on top of it. Drench it thoroughly with water. This barrier will reduce the weed’s vigor and inhibit growth as it struggles to reach the light.
Introduction To Vinca Minor Ground Cover
Vinca minor, also known as lesser periwinkle, is a popular evergreen ground cover that is native to Europe and western Asia. It has been introduced to North America and is widely grown as an ornamental ground cover due to its dense habit and ease of cultivation. However, vinca minor can quickly become invasive and spread aggressively, displacing native plant species in the process. It grows up to 6 inches tall and spreads in all directions by sending out long trailing and rooting shoots, which can make new plants. Vinca minor blooms in March or April and sometimes again in the fall with purple, blue or white flowers depending on the cultivar. The leaves are dark green, glossy, oval to lance-shaped, thick-textured, and may be variegated. The plant spreads vegetatively through rhizomes, making it difficult to eradicate once established. It is important to control vinca minor ground cover to prevent it from invading natural areas and disrupting the local ecosystem.
The Dangers Of An Invasive Ground Cover
Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle, is a fast-growing ground cover that can quickly become invasive. While it may seem like a convenient and attractive solution for filling in problem areas, its aggressive growth can quickly become a problem. If left unchecked, vinca can invade surrounding plants, shrubs, trees, and even structures like mailboxes and decks.
One of the biggest dangers of vinca is its ability to displace native plant species. As it spreads, it crowds out other plants and reduces biodiversity in the ecosystem. This can have negative impacts on local wildlife and the overall health of the environment.
Another danger of vinca is its difficulty to eradicate once it has become established. The roots can grow up to 6 inches deep, and any small piece of the plant left behind can regrow and spread. This means that removing vinca from an area can be a time-consuming and challenging process.
Additionally, using potent herbicides to kill vinca can have negative impacts on the environment and surrounding plants. These chemicals can leach into the soil and waterways, harming beneficial organisms and potentially contaminating food sources.
Non-Toxic Methods For Killing Vinca Minor
If you prefer to avoid using toxic chemicals to kill vinca minor ground cover, there are several non-toxic methods that you can try.
One method is to use boiling water. Simply heat a pot of water to boiling and pour it over the vinca plants. This will scorch the foliage and make it difficult for the plant to recover. However, be careful not to pour the water over any desirable plants or grass, as it will kill them as well.
Another non-toxic method is to use a mixture of baking soda and liquid soap. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear.
You can also try using corn gluten meal, which is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent vinca seeds from germinating. Spread a thin layer of corn gluten meal over the affected area in early spring before the vinca plants have a chance to grow.
Finally, you can use a smothering method to kill vinca minor ground cover. Cover the affected area with a thick layer of organic mulch or newspaper, making sure to completely cover all of the vinca plants. This will deprive the plants of sunlight and eventually kill them. However, this method may take several months to be effective.
Remember, while these non-toxic methods may take longer to work than chemical methods, they are safer for the environment and for your family and pets.
Digging And Pulling By Hand
Digging and pulling up vinca minor ground cover by hand is one of the better methods of killing this invasive weed. The best time to do this is when the ground is slightly moist. For larger areas, in clay soil, or where the roots run so deep that they break, use a weeding tool to help. A hand-held, steel-tined tool can loosen the soil for easier vinca removal.
It is important to seal all plant parts in a plastic bag and discard them. This is because any piece of the plant left behind is one more way to spread. It can take years to completely remove vinca from your property, so it’s important to be patient and persistent. Remember to remove all loose pieces of periwinkle from the area and either burn them or dispose of them in a black plastic bag.
While digging and pulling up vinca by hand may be time-consuming, it is a non-toxic removal method that is highly effective. You can involve family and friends to make it a fun activity with some music and pizzas to keep you going. By following these steps, you can successfully get rid of vinca minor ground cover without using dangerous chemicals.
Using Vinegar To Kill Vinca Minor
If you want to use vinegar to kill vinca minor ground cover, saturate the soil where the plant crowns are to burn them. However, be careful not to expose desirable plants to the solution, which kills indiscriminately.
To make a vinegar solution, add 2 ounces of liquid hand dishwashing soap to a gallon of white vinegar and stir slowly to avoid creating excessive bubbles. Pour the solution into a garden sprayer and apply generously to the cut vinca plants. The vinegar may not kill the weeds, but it will weaken them.
If you want to create a barrier to prevent the periwinkles from spreading, you can use vinegar in addition to cardboard. After covering the vinca-infested area with cardboard, flood the soil of the affected area with the vinegar solution. Soak the cardboard with water and pile 6 to 8 inches of compost or shredded mulch on top of it. Drench it thoroughly with water.
To maintain this barrier, soak it with white vinegar once weekly and continue to keep it wet until periwinkle shoots stop sprouting up from underneath. Pull stray runners that attempt to emerge from beneath the barrier and keep it packed and heavy with water at all times.
Creating A Cardboard Barrier
Creating a cardboard barrier is a great method for killing vinca minor ground cover. This method is effective because cardboard acts as a natural weed barrier that blocks the light and kills the vinca as it slowly breaks down and feeds the soil. To create a cardboard barrier, you will need non-glossy cardboard, and you should remove any staples and tape.
First, lay the cardboard over the vinca roots, overlapping it by about six inches to prevent any gaps. Some people also wet the cardboard to help hold it in place and start the decomposition process. Once the cardboard is in place, pile 6 to 8 inches of compost or shredded mulch on top of it and drench it thoroughly with water. This will pack the barrier tightly and help reduce the weed’s vigor as it struggles to reach the light.
It’s important to keep the cardboard barrier heavy with water at all times and to soak it with white vinegar once a week thereafter. This will help prevent any periwinkle shoots from sprouting up from underneath. If any stray runners attempt to emerge from beneath the barrier, be sure to pull them out immediately.
Creating a cardboard barrier is one of the better methods of killing vinca minor ground cover, but it is also the most time-consuming. It can take years to completely remove it from your property! However, if you are patient and persistent, this method can be highly effective without using dangerous chemicals.