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Invasive Plants: Ajuga

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JustWe
Chester County, PA
(Zone 6b)

May 31, 2006
1:44 AM

Post #2333698

Has anyone had problems with Ajuga (Bugleweed) being invasive? The previous owners planted it and in the four years since, I allowed it to get out of hand and into the yard. Now it is sprouting up everywhere. It flowers beautifully, but is one of the ugliest groundcovers I have ever seen!!!
bensjd
Spokane, WA

June 2, 2006
4:23 PM

Post #2343888

People plant Ajuga as a lawn substitute - especially in shady areas. The city of Suffolk VA (sort of in your neck of the woods) has listed it as potentially invasive. I did a quick google search and didn't find anything on how to get rid of it; maybe others could help with that? Good luck.
jxmas
Marble Hill, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 5, 2006
2:05 AM

Post #2352675

Ajuga works well as a groundcover for city plots -- ie areas surrounded by concrete -- because it is one of the fastest spreading plants I've seen.

The easiest way to get rid of it would be to cut the whole patch out of the ground -- like you would remove grass sod for a new flower bed. But you must get every leafy node because they will root and grow back.
dodecatheon
Wauconda, IL

June 6, 2006
4:05 AM

Post #2357068

I think an even quicker and easier way to get rid of it would be a couple of applications of Round-Up.
JustWe
Chester County, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 6, 2006
1:50 PM

Post #2357959

Yes, I'm using a combination RoundUp and hand weeding. Thanks to a recent rain-spell, the grass seed I planted is coming up - so now instead of having patches of dark throughout my lawn (Ajuga), I now have new green grass coming up.

I'm going to have to be patient b/c it will take years to get rid of it all. It's my own fault though - my garden practices have definitely improved as I am planting lots of ground covers and using mulch much more freely than before.

I have a large area to take care of and I got a real First Class Lesson in invasive plants - not only Ajuga, but wild strawberry and marsh marigold, too. Those three are the worst of it.
sugarbell
Moscow, PA
(Zone 5b)

October 18, 2009
3:29 AM

Post #7181326

Hi Justwe, I just came across this thread in my quest to rid ajuga(the devil) from my lawn. I originally had it planted in a raised bed but as you can guess it didn't stay there!!!!! I too now have dark patches in my lawn. I sprayed it with weed killer for lawns that won't kill the grass but it didn't touch it. I was wondering how you made out with your quest? If you managed to rid your lawn of this awful " weed" I would love to know how!! I'll await anyones help! Thanks.
Delightful_Dawn
Altus, OK
(Zone 7a)

October 18, 2009
2:19 PM

Post #7182101

Ajuga hasn't been a problem for me. Or the Mexican Petunias (dwarf or regular size). I do have to keep an eye out on the Mexican Hydrangea, crape myrtle, and four 0'clocks but even they are not too big of a problem. I let the volunteers get to a decent size and dig them up to pass on.

My ajuga has had a decent growth this year but it has stayed and not strayed. I'll have to keep an eagle eye on it to make sure it doesn't sneak out some babies without me being aware of them...

Was it a certain type of ajuga that is the devil?

Dawn
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

October 21, 2009
1:29 AM

Post #7191785

Ajuga about covered my property in Hoopa, CA...except where the Himalayan blackberries, ivy, vinca, lemon balm, crocosmia, money plant and many other escapees from captivity ran wild (not in a manicured place). They preceded me by some years and thrived under the black locust trees (also not native and essentially invasive).

hanseycollie
Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO
(Zone 5b)

October 21, 2009
11:09 PM

Post #7195035

I planted some Chocolate Chip Ajuga - I didn't have any idea it could be invasive. Does it spread out through runners or just pop up in areas it shouldn't? I stay right on top of my gardens, daily, so do you think it'll be a problem if I watch it carefully? It's right by the front door so I have to see it every day. Help??
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

October 22, 2009
1:33 AM

Post #7195518

Runners, for sure, but I don't know about seeds...CC is supposed to be less aggressive, but ...what if you are not there to care for it? That's my concern...

I have a list of things to remove if I move, and also would leave instructions on in my will...lol...I don't want to leave a mess for someone else...lol Right now I have some CC in a new bed with a clematis, but I'll move it and not let it spread once other plants cover the clematis' roots. It seems really easy to pull, but my understanding is that any little bit may grow a new plant.

sugarbell
Moscow, PA
(Zone 5b)

October 23, 2009
10:42 PM

Post #7201531

Hi guys, I'm not sure what kind of Ajuga it was (it was so long ago).As long as it was in the flower bed I was able to control it.I have no idea how it got into the lawn but it"s there and I"ve had a terrible time with it. This spring I'm going to dig all the sod out a few inches deep and replant.(not looking forward to this but see no other option).Good luck and keep a close eye on this plant if you decide to go with it.

Tammy

Tammy
Barto, PA
(Zone 6b)

November 4, 2009
1:29 PM

Post #7240085

I fought ajuga at my old place. And marsh marigolds. And evening primrose.
I promised myself never to plant anything "aggressive" on my new property.
Of course, I realized after 8yrs that I had Alianthus trees (tree of heaven) here
and they are taking over the wooded areas. I'm mowing them down in the fields.
Ugh.
spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

November 18, 2009
2:28 PM

Post #7285965

Tammy, just FYI, mowing is a bad approach to ailanthus; cutting it down produces root suckers over a remarkably wide area. We moved into a property infested with ailanthus thanks to a neighbor whose property line is defined by huge old ailanthus specimens, and their offspring (some mature) were everywhere on our property. When I tried to pull what I thought were seedlings from my garden beds, I often found that they were root suckers; pulling them produced many many more of the same. The two mature trees at our property entrance produced both seedlings and root suckers on a regular basis. After trying every possible less invasive approach, I found that only heavy-duty chemicals worked on this beast. For the seedlings/root suckers, I'd wet a sponge with BrushBGone and brush it on the foliage if it was close to desired plants; if not, I'd simply spray them. For the mature (30-foot or so) trees, I had to use the hack & squirt approach, using a little hatchet to cut into the cambium layer during growing season and immediately spraying with BrushBGone. We've now been ailanthus-free for several years, aside from the occasional wind-blown seedling (easily pulled out) thanks to the neighbor's tree. It's not an easy battle, but it's worth fighting; left alone, ailanthus will totally take over the area and continue spreading. Its roots are somewhat toxic to other plants, which increases its invasive potential. Good luck, and let me know if I can help with any advice/suggestions-
Ruth

Tammy

Tammy
Barto, PA
(Zone 6b)

November 18, 2009
4:01 PM

Post #7286296

Thanks Ruth. I have 10 acres & mow the fields. The alianthus are in
the tree lines. We did the hack and squirt but perhaps didn't get into
the cambium layer far enough 'cause it didn't phase 'em. (or maybe it
wasn't nasty enough chemical). I cut one down before reading this was
a bad approach & did survive it. I think its finally really gone, after
pulling & spraying its suckers for several years.

Yes - I am afraid I didn't realize what I had until it had invaded a great
deal of my properties' tree lines. I'm going to be battling it for a long
time I'm afraid.

Tam
spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

November 19, 2009
8:42 AM

Post #7288993

Hi, Tammy; I found it took several hack & squirt treatments to kill off the bigger trees. In the process, our driveway entrance looked like the home of a demented woodpecker on steroids; but it did eventually work, and I felt like partying the spring when no new foliage appeared on the trees and we could have them cut down safely. Hang in there; it's one of the nastier invasive battles, but winnable and well worth winning.

PS Ajuga spreads like the wind here, but it's a piece of cake compared to ailanthus.
hanseycollie
Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO
(Zone 5b)

November 19, 2009
1:16 PM

Post #7289214

What type of ajuga do you have there that is so invasive? Does it send runners under the ground and then up, or do you mean it climbs or what?

What we have here is just lil clumbs that make a nice border when they're maintained. I don't see where it's invasive in Missouri. I wonder if it's because, right now, there's a nice crunch to it since we just had snow?

I'd like to know more so I can be very wary of it. ??????????
Cynthia
spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

November 20, 2009
7:11 AM

Post #7292051

I'm not sure what type of ajuga ours is, since we inherited rather than planted it; it has relatively plain green foliage, nothing like some of the dark-leaved cultivars I've seen. You see one or two in the garden, and if you don't deal with it promptly, next time you look there's a line of six or seven of them marching through the bed like Sherman driving for the sea. It's a pretty little plant, but I'm not willing cede the beds to it. I should mention that our climate here in western NC is considered a temperate rain forest, so many plants that are well-behaved elsewhere run amok around here.
Ruth
hanseycollie
Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO
(Zone 5b)

November 20, 2009
1:14 PM

Post #7292319

It's supposed to be in part shade here, morning sun only, and I have it in the front yard with some late afternoon sun, so we'll see. I think a lot of the "invasives" are relative to your region, obviously, as elephant ears here need to have their bulbs pulled or they die in winter. Otherplaces, they take over. The only thing I've found here that's really invasive to our yard is nutsedge, LOL, the weed from $%^&.
spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

November 22, 2009
9:17 AM

Post #7298895

I hear ya, hanseycollie! Despite that old saying about weeds being simply a plant that's undesirable to one person in one place, there are some of those creatures that I'm quite sure everyone anywhere hates; the thorny guys, for example.
seran72
Bozeman, MT

June 26, 2010
8:48 PM

Post #7923755

Hi, I know this thread is a little old, but I have some Chocolate Chip ajuga in a bed. I like the flowers okay, but I'm not in love with the plant or anything.

I'm thinking about pulling all or most of them out because I'm worried about them taking over.

I'm wondering if anyone has any new information or experiences about ajuga to add to this thread?

Thanks for any insights.
spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

June 26, 2010
11:24 PM

Post #7923968

The ajuga we inherited with the property has marched every year from the lawn into the garden beds; every year I dutifully pull it all out, and the next year it's back again. A few weeks ago I sprayed all of it with RoundUp, since pulling hasn't worked at all. It has all turned satisfyingly brown and dead-looking, but we'll see next year... Based on that experience, Seran, I doubt pulling will work for you (though your climate is markedly different from ours). If you want to eliminate it, I'd just use RoundUp. If it's too close to other plants to safely spray it, wear rubber gloves and apply RoundUp with your hands or a sponge. It's called the "Glove of Death," and has worked well for me where spraying wasn't doable.
seran72
Bozeman, MT

June 28, 2010
6:37 AM

Post #7927003

Thank you, Spartacusaby. This morning, I pulled/dug it all out. It was a little sad, because it does seem like a perfectly nice plant, but also rewarding. The bed felt much cleaner and healthier and some of the other plants are now more noticeable. If any ajuga make a reappearance, I will use the "Glove of Death" method. I can definitely see how they might come back, because I could tell that the root systems were quite complex and it was obvious that I was not going to get it all using my method...

I will come back to this thread next year and report my results. :-)
spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

June 29, 2010
12:34 AM

Post #7929559

Best of luck, seran, and I'll be anxious to hear your report next year. I agree that it is a pretty little plant, but I really do enjoy having others as well, lol.
Ruth
seran72
Bozeman, MT

July 27, 2010
10:27 AM

Post #8000155

spartacusaby, I thought you'd be amused to know that about once a week, I have to go out and pull up new little ajuga plants making their appearance despite all my pulling efforts. :-)

spartacusaby
Hendersonville, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2010
12:32 AM

Post #8001524

Sorry to hear that, seran, but I'm honestly not surprised since my experience was just the same. Do try the glove of death; RoundUp kills it completely with one application. I purely ran out of patience with the continual need to pull new sprouts.
Ruth

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