Invasive Plants Taking Over Your Garden? Try This

Updated: Mar. 20, 2024

Keep spreading plants from choking out the rest of your garden.

For a gardener, there’s nothing worse than watching your hard work get overrun with weeds and invasive plants. These green pests come in all shapes and sizes. There are trees and bushes along with vines and other types of plants.

Invasives are defined as nonnative, adaptable plants that reproduce by seeds, stems and roots. These are spread by wind, deposited by birds or carried into new areas by people, pets and visiting wildlife. Left unchecked, they can spread rapidly, choking out native plants or the flowers and shrubs you’ve planted. Once invasive plant species gain a foothold, they crowd out the native plants that birds, pollinators and other wildlife depend upon.

Of course, it’s not just weeds that can be nuisance plants. Some of your favorite additions to the garden can take over and crowd out neighboring plants you’ve worked hard to grow. So if you love lilies or black-eyed Susans, but hate the way they can run wild over your garden there’s an easy to way to help control aggressive plants like that that have spreading root systems.

You don’t need much in the way of tools and materials, just a few common items that almost every gardener has on hand. In addition to a plastic pot or pail, you’ll need a spade or some kind of digging tool that you’d use for planting and a utility knife. Once you have the tools and materials gathered up, it’s time to get started.

And for the days you don’t have too much time in hand but still want to work towards making the garden green, here are a few gardening tips for busy people. 

Make sure your plastic pot or pail is at least 10-in. deep. Then, cut the bottom off of it. Set the container in the ground. Replant spreading plants inside it to hold in the roots. It will look something like this:

planting potFamily Handyman

If you love lilies and black-eyed Susans, but hate the way they’re taking over your garden and choking out other plants, here’s what you can do:

Many plants multiply by dropping seeds and by sending out roots that establish new plants. A layer of mulch will prevent the seeds from taking root. But to stop those aggressive roots, you need a solid barrier. Replant the spreading plants inside underground “corrals.” The plastic corrals should extend at least 10 in. below ground to prevent the roots from sneaking under them. This trick won’t work with plants such as strawberries or mint that spread above ground.