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3 Easy Ways on How To Get Rid Of Pachysandra

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Pachysandra, commonly known as Japanese spurge, is an evergreen ground cover that appears to be a good idea when planted since it stays green all year and spreads swiftly to cover a large area.

Unfortunately, this ferocious plant has no idea when to stop. If you have a lot of Pachysandra in your garden and are looking out for ways to get rid of them, then don’t worry; this article is all about how to get rid of Pachysandra ground cover.

Pachysandra is an invasive perennial ground covered with underground stems and roots that grow across the garden. It is quite difficult to control once it has established itself in the garden. Pachysandra plants can take over your garden and spread into the wild, displacing native plants.

How To Get Rid Of Pachysandra
A “river” of Pachysandra via Flickr

Rhizomes, thick horizontal stems under the ground, spread Pachysandra terminalis (the most usually planted type). Roots and shoots grow from nodes on the rhizomes.

Look for nodes with roots on the rhizomes and separate them at that point. If this ground cover has taken over your garden, you’ll need to know how to control the pachysandra plant.

There are three methods for removing Pachysandra from the garden; none of them are particularly pleasant.

How To Get Rid Of Pachysandra – 3 Easy Ways

1. Dig it Up

  • While this method may work in tiny spaces, it can take longer in bigger ones.
  • Digging is difficult work, but it is safe for the environment and works well in small spaces. The root system of Pachysandra is shallow.

Things You’ll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Trash bags
  • Hand trowel
  • Garden gloves


  • Please put on your gardening gloves and start by gripping the main root stem at its base and gently but firmly tugging it straight up.
  • The plant and its main root system should be pulled up in one piece.
  • If the soil is dry, moisten it to loosen the root system’s grip, then use your shovel to make vertical cuts around the Pachysandra plants, then use the shovel as a lever to pick up the root ball.
  • These two strategies should make pulling the plants out by the roots much easier.
  • When a plant top breaks free from its roots, dig up the roots, link stolons with a shovel or hand trowel, and discard them.
  • When all of the plant and primary root material has been removed, gently rake through the soil.
  • As you work, remove runners, stolons, root parts, and any residual plant leaves.
  • All rhizomes (horizontal underground stems and roots) must be removed from the earth.
  • The Pachysandra will reappear if this does not happen.

2. Use Black Plastic As A Cover

  • The soil beneath the plastic will heat up, and the plastic will keep the plants from getting enough sunlight and water.
  • The disadvantage is that it is unattractive, and it takes three months to a year for the plants to be entirely killed.
  • Plants in shady places take the longest to grow.

3. Use the Chemicals

  • If you have a choice between using chemicals and allowing pachysandra weeds to take over your landscape, this may be the best option for you.
  • For wider regions, herbicides are the preferable option.
  • Pachysandra can only be eradicated with the use of a systemic herbicide.
  • Use a 2-percent solution of a systemic, broad-spectrum herbicide like glyphosate.
  • Read the label to learn about the components and use it when selecting one.
  • Surfactants are also present, allowing the glyphosate to attach to the plants.
  • Make sure you don’t use it on a windy or rainy day. If not, the herbicide will blow off, wash away, and end up in bodies of water or on attractive plants and grasses.
  • This will kill any vegetation it comes into touch with; therefore, you need to be extra cautious when using it. 
  • If you have any leftover herbicide, keep it in its original container out of reach of youngsters.

Pachysandra does not require pruning; however, it benefits early spring. In early spring, bypass hand pruners can trim plants back to half their height in small Pachysandra beds. When the plants are dry in the early spring, large beds of Pachysandra can be mowed to a height of 4 inches.

Controlling Pachysandra Growth

Because of its quick growth habit and capacity to overwhelm other plants, the USDA Forest Service classified Pachysandra as an invasive species.

Although some people employ the plant in their landscaping, it can be tough to manage. Controlling the spread of Pachysandra necessitates a combination of manual and chemical techniques.

When these techniques are utilized, the Pachysandra remains in the desired spot and does not spread to other locations.

Step 1: Pull up all Pachysandra in an unfavorable location using your hands. When uprooting the plant, grab the bottom of the stems as close to the ground as possible to take up the complete root rather than just the stem.

Step 2: According to the USDA Forest Service, spray the ground you just weeded with a herbicide containing glyphosate, which is an efficient pachysandra killer.

Step 3: Dig a 3- to 4-foot-wide trench along the outer edge of the pachysandra-infested area. The trench should be roughly 6-inch deep to accommodate plastic landscaping edging.

Step 4: Unroll the plastic landscape edging and place one end of it in one of the trench’s ends. The edging’s “V” side should face down toward the pachysandra planting area. Continue unrolling the edging until you reach the end of the trench, then use a utility knife to cut off the excess.

Step 5: Place a landscaping stake approximately 3 inches from the end of the edging in the lower “V” and put it virtually parallel to the ground. Using a hammer, pound the stake into the edging until it is completely inserted. Place additional pegs at 7-foot intervals throughout the length of the edging.

Step 6: Backfill the trench with soil and firmly pack it down. Stomp down the soil with your foot to compact it as much as possible.

Final Remarks

Pachysandra is an evergreen shrub ground cover that is widely used. The crowns, roots, underground runners or stolons, and daughter plants that may be just below the surface or around the perimeter of the mature plants must all be removed when removing Pachysandra bulk plantings.

Patience and a few common garden equipment are all that’s required.

Wherever possible, pull the plants out by the roots, plucking out the root systems and stolons, then raking them up and discarding them.

Work slowly and deliberately to avoid cutting up too much plant material into the soil, which will make it more difficult to retrieve and hence slow down the eradication process.

Although this is a simple task, it does necessitate some skill and patience. Pachysandra removal may necessitate a period of upkeep, although a do-it-yourselfer easily handles it.

You can also use a black plastic cover to remove it, but the process takes time. Lastly, chemicals or herbicides can also be used, but chemical management should be utilized only as a last resort because organic methods are more environmentally friendly.