Ground Elder

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Control of Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria) with Roundup Pro Biactive


Ground Elder, (Aegopodium podagraria) or Goutweed is a common, perennial weed of disturbed ground, gardens and flowerbeds. A member of the Umbelliferae family, it is widely established throughout Great Britain, though it is actually a native woodland plant throughout Europe and temperate Asia. It was probably introduced to Great Britain by the Romans and was grown in the Middle Ages both as vegetable and as a palliative for Gout.

Light green ternate leaves emerge in the spring and give rise to white flowers from May to July. Growing 30-80cm in height it has very pernicious, deep-rooted rhizomes, which are the reason for its persistence as a weed. A planned programme of treatment is required for complete eradication.

Control methods


The rhizomes are very brittle and easily spread by cultivation. Each fragment quickly regenerates with new aerial shoots. Repeated cultivation and removal of top-growth will weaken the plant, but is not an efficient way to eradicate it.

Some residual herbicides like Sodium Chlorate and dichlobenil give control of Ground Elder but cropping is restricted or excluded after their use.

Control With Roundup Pro Biactive

Roundup Pro Biactive should first be applied when the weed is about to flower in late May. Applications before this time will kill off the top growth but it will rapidly re-grow.  Re-growth may occur in the autumn or in the following season, and this should be sprayed when there is a good emergence of green leaf and shoots (30-40cm tall).  On waste ground and in amenity situations the addition of Mixture B NF at 2% of the spray solution will aid leaf wetting and uptake into the Ground Elder leaves and shoots.

Where areas are not cropped consider a first application in May, followed by rotavating after a minimum of 7 days. This will encourage all live rhizomes to break dormancy and produce aerial shoots. Then re-spray once the re-growth reaches 40cm.

As this weed frequently occurs among desirable plant species the spray lance should be fitted with a sprayer hood or guard when working close to shrubs and cultivated plants.  Alternatively applications may be made using a hand held weed wiper.

Rates, Timings and Water Volumes

MethodDose Rate of Roundup Pro BiactiveDose Rate of Roundup ProBiactive450Application Advice
Overall Spray 5l/ha or in waste ground and Amenity situations 5l/ha + Mixture B NF at 2% spray volume 4l/ha or in waste ground and Amenity situations 4l/ha + Mixture B NF at 2% spray volume Allow to fully grow and spray as weed is about to flower, typically May.  Spray any re-growth at same rates. Use a sprayer hood.
Weed Wiper 1 part Roundup Pro Biactive in 2 parts water 1 part Roundup ProBiactive450 in 3 parts water Useful method when working amongst desirable plants and shrubs

Spot Treatment in Knapsack Sprayer

Most knapsack sprayers are supplied with a set of 4 deflector nozzles giving different swath widths but all delivering 200l/ha of water at 1 bar pressure and a walking speed of 1 metre per second.

Area SprayedRate of Roundup Pro BiactiveRate of Roundup ProBiactive450Volume of Water
50 Square Metres 25ml 20ml 1 litre
500 Square Metres 250ml 200ml 10 litres
1,000 Square Metres 500ml 400ml 20 litres