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Acanthus spinosus

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Question from Rayna Salmon


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I had one of these and it was taking over the garden. Despite digging it up at the end of last summer it continues to send up new shoots.
It is now proving to be a battle between me and the plant! It is very deep rooted and the deeper roots are proving hard to reach. The deeper I dig I find the roots are in clay soil which sticks to the fork. I feel like I am excavating! I have dug down 3 feet but still stubborn roots remain. How do I kill the remaining roots please as I don't have the energy to dig deeper and don't want the plant to get the better of me!

Thanks for your advise

  • Views: 1985
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Wed. 14th May 2008 00:28

weed killer

Reply from Cris

Hi there! Well you will be happy to know that you can stop digging for now. You should try a glyphosate based herbicide. It is fairly safe and is systemic (taken down to the roots), and I believe it is deactivated by contact with the soil so won't harm neighbouring plants. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Round Up and Tumbleweed ready mixed. You will need a bit of the leaf to spray this on though.....so I would fill in the holes and wait for it to grow back then attack it with this magic juice. You may need to reapply a few times depending on how tough the plant is.
Good luck!

  • Posted: Wed. 14th May 2008 02:53

Removing A. spinosus

Reply from Kathy C

Hi! You are certainly not the first (or last) gardener to struggle with A. spinosus. I once read that once you have it, you have it forever!The warmer weather (ie hotter summers and milder winters) we have had lately don't help - Acanthus like it that way. I am surprised, though, that it is doing so well regenerating in clay soil - usually doesn't like that at all. I think Chris C gave you really good advice to stop digging because every time you sever a root, the plant is encouraged to grow a shoot! Apparently, cuttings is the best and easiest way to propagate this plant for that very reason. And as much as I hate to use chemicals, that may be your best bet. If you want to go more organic with your eradication, filll in the holes as Chris said. Once the new little plants break the soil surface, hit them with vinegar or boiling water. This will only kill off the vegetation above the soil surface (and maybe a bit underground). However, if you are vigilant and hit them every time they emerge, you will (hopefully) eventually weaken the roots to a point in which they can't muster the energy to make new shoots. This will be a loooooonnnngggg process, I think. Good luck and let me know how you get on. Kathy C.

  • Posted: Wed. 14th May 2008 03:21

acanthus spinosus

Reply from angie wilkinson

Hi im not to good with plants so is this a shrub type plant? I would try deeproot killer as it kills the root (hence the name). i use the liquid one for my bindweed which is also a loooooonnnng process.

  • Posted: Mon. 18th May 2009 23:26