Getting rid of Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon'

Helena2013(7)August 15, 2013

I discovered this horrible pest in the garden I just purchased. I know it by reputation and realize that the faster I get rid of it the better!

Normally I avoid chemicals but for certain plants I believe it's warranted. I've read that every bit of root left in the soil will produce new plants.. soooo... is RoundUp (or something similar) my best shot at getting rid of it for good?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its your ONLY shot ...

use the GW search.. you might find various diatribes about it ....

anyway ... get the very expensive applicator at the link ...

and go buy some 41% RUp ... which i s the strongest they make ...

clean out applicator.. insert RU ... snip plant.. drip on little stump...

and repeat for a couple years.. it will get the idea ... sooner.. OR LATER... lol ...

return the RU to the original labeled container.. for safe storage ....


ps: nmy old rant on this plant was.. something along the lines that you give good friends.. good plants.. and this one you give to your enemies.. or peeps you dont want to come back.. lol ..

Here is a link that might be useful: brand isnt important.. its the fact that you can apply ONE SINGLE DRIP per cut .... no waste.. no drift....

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:57PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

see link.. just so you understand.. you are not alone..

therein.. i said:

roundup will take care of it ....

and just like poison ivy.. you have to respray it.. EVERY TIME it releafs.. 3 to 5 times per year ... until it is gone ...

you just have to be more aggressive than it is in reapplication ...

trust me.. been there .. done that ...

the PI took me 3 years to kill ...


==>>> above.. i went the drip method.. rather than the spray suggested here ...

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:03PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

How wide is the spread, do you have a clump or is it everywhere? I'd pull/dig it, then treat any bits that resprout from missed roots with roundup....That's worked for me on bishops weed, and I'm doing it now for ivy, false lily of the valley (Maianthemum dilatatum). The roots of the maianthemum are very similar, meaning they look like a bowl of spaghetti underground.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:49PM
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morz8, so far I have found it in two separate planting beds. One is a raised bed and the other is ground level.

I say "so far" because the sellers apparantly never pulled a single weed after I signed the contract to purchase, back in late March. Therefore when I finally got possession of the house in mid-July all of the beds were choked with weeds. I've been working my way through the beds as time, weather and health permit, but there are still some that I just haven't been able to get to.

To give you an idea of what else I have to deal with, invasives-wise, in addition to the 'Chameleon' there are multliple stands of tiger lilies, multiple large groups of the roadside orange daylilies, multiple stands of rudbeckia, and large sections of pachysandra and vinca (both of which are okay, since they do suppress weeds).

There are also about a half dozen rose of sharon (some are HUGE) which is probably my least favorite shrub/tree because of the bees it attracts and the gazillion seedlings, which are, of course, all over the lawn areas.

Weedwise, I have so far found:
Bindweed, smilax, crabgrass, quackgrass, ragweed, horseweed, a few groundsels and sowthistles, chickweed, lambs quarters, TONS of copperleaf and smartweed, pokeweed, ground ivy in one section, and oxalis EVERYWHERE.

There is also that PITA bramble with the prickly stems which I have always called The ShrubWeed From Hell.

And if that wasn't enough, there is a Chinese wisteria climbing up one side of an arbor, and on the other side there is something that looks frighteningly like Campsis. :-/
I seem to recall the former owner bragging about his "hummingbird vine".

At least I have SO FAR not found the bane of my existence in my current garden, which is wild garlic. But it may be there and just dormant. Brrrrrrr.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:12AM
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ken, I love your "expensive drip applicator", LOL !!

I'm going to use that method for the wisteria mentioned above, too.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:16AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

took you long enough.. i figured i was going to have to come back and harass you for ignoring me ....

but you take the cake with this description.. no matter the plant:

===>>>> The ShrubWeed From Hell.

full strength RU... BTW i use generic .... is LABELED as a stump killer at 100% ....

with your new handy applicator.... there are a myriad of things you can kill in the garden .... shrubs.. trees... all cut to the ground and treated ...


    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:38PM
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I see they have a 50% RoundUp now:

Might try to find that one. Stronger can't hurt, in this case, LOL

Have you ever run into the "expired product" glitch mentioned in one of the reviews? (" Check the expiration date to make sure that it doesn't expire before you use it. The last one I bought expired in sixty days. ")

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 1:31PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

how much of this horrible plant do you have.. that you need 2.5 gallons ...

i buy generic at tractor supply .... i think it was 49.99 for 2.5 gals....of 41% ..... i have no clue why you need to pay for the name... nor the extra power ...

you know.. i fill that applicator once a season.. and rarely need to refill it.. the use is so low... 2.5 gals would last you an eternity.. or three.. crikey ...

see link


Here is a link that might be useful: yep.. there you go.. farm works .... will you be willing to send me the other 150 you would have spent on the RU ??? .... lol.....

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:11AM
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LOL, I have a feeling that I may only have scratched the surface of what I need to remove. :-( The ShrubWeed From Hell is something that I know will take multiple applications all by itself, as will the Wild-Eyed Wisteria and the Campsis With Territorial Ambitions.

I've never seen any brand of generic RoundUp in any stores here, but then again we're talking a NYC suburb so that may be why. I will give your source a call on Monday and see what the shipping would be if I order theirs online. I'll also doublecheck a couple of local places just in case, but if memory serves they only carry the brand names.

The 2.5 gal was what came up in my google for 41% RoundUp, LOL...not that I was looking for that particular amount. :-)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Well, on closer inspection it appears that even RoundUp will be an exercise in futility.... because the plant has invaded the neighbor's property on the other side of the fence and is acting as a ground cover under a bunch of thickly planted large conifers. So even if I succeed in getting rid of it on my side of the fence (which will not be easy, given the shrubs and trees on my side of said fence) it will just keep re-invading from the neighbor's side.

I don't think it originated with them, because the plant is also in separate raised beds elsewhere in my garden. Most likely it traveled in the other direction (mine to theirs). Neighbor's property is not 'landscaped' in the traditional sense (basically it's trees and dirt and some grass, plus a few foundation plantings) so they are probably delighted to have something there that doesn't need to be mowed. :-/

So I guess I should simply try to learn to love this thing? *sigh* Life's too short to fight battles that are lost from the get-go!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 6:33AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

well??? ... nothing like giving up.. before trying..

you draw the proverbial line in the sand.. and kill anything that crosses it ...

and when you succeed in your garden..

you offer the very expensive applicator to the neighbor ...

ya know.. i too grew up in suburbia .... very limited products available... then i moved to the country.. and discovered place like tractor supply ... man these farmer types.. have so many options ... when you move away from bigboxstore ....


    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 7:15AM
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Oh, I'll try.... but with focusing on "control" instead of "eradication". I've had too many experiences with failed eradication of plants (wild garlic, lythrum, ivy, wisteria, nd Rubus calycinoides come immediately to mind). You think you've won and then WHAMMO you discover you've been outflanked, LOL

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:37AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

There is this very, very useful tool called a lawnmower. The ignorant think it is just for manicuring grass. The enlightened know it as one the easiest, most efficient destroyer of truly horrible weeds commonly available. It is amazing what will rather die than be kept at three inches tall. The number of trees I have killed must be measured in the thousands by now.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:51AM
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LOL, yes, I discovered that the former owner used that very method to control the bazillions of Rose of Sharon seedlings trying to colonize the backyard. (said Roses of Sharon will be severely pruned and possibly entirely removed under the new management ;-) !)

Trouble is, the houttynia in the ground-level bed is well and truly woven in between, betwixt and behind several layers of shrubs and other (desirable) perennials... thus the Lawnmower Method is too non-selective in this case.

(That said, it has been my experience that wild garlic laughs at lawnmower blades, however low and repeititive, and simply throws yet another bulbil-propagation party underground afterward.)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:20AM
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