Dichondra often hailed for its lush, carpet-like appearance, is a ground cover plant that flourishes in various landscapes.
Its silver-green leaves can be a beautiful addition to gardens, providing a soft and natural feel. However, while some gardeners intentionally incorporate it into their outdoor designs, others view it as an unwelcome guest.
Its vigorous growth can sometimes overshadow other plants, leading to the quest for control or eradication from certain areas.
How To Get Rid Of Dichondra
Dichondra, with its creeping growth habit, can become invasive in certain settings. If you find yourself wanting to control or eliminate its spread, there are several effective strategies:
- Hand Pulling
For small infestations, hand pulling can be effective. Ensure you pull out the entire root system to prevent regrowth.
- Pre-emergent Herbicides
These prevent the germination of dichondra seeds. They are best applied in early spring before the growing season.
- Post-emergent Herbicides
These target established plants. When choosing a herbicide, look for those specifically labeled for dichondra control, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use. Remember, some herbicides might also affect surrounding plants.
Natural Control Methods
A solution of distilled white vinegar can act as a natural herbicide. It’s best used on a sunny day for maximum efficacy. Note that vinegar might also affect adjacent plants, so it’s important to apply it directly to the dichondra.
- Boiling Water
Pouring boiling water over the dichondra can cause it to wither and die. This method is best for smaller patches and, like vinegar, should be applied with care to avoid harming desired plants.
Regular mowing at a height that’s unfavorable for dichondra can inhibit its spread in lawns.
- Water Management
Dichondra thrives in moist environments. By reducing unnecessary watering or fixing areas of poor drainage, you can create conditions less favorable for dichondra growth.
Applying a thick layer of mulch (about 2-3 inches) over the soil can prevent dichondra seeds from germinating and can smother existing plants. Organic mulches like wood chips, straw, or shredded bark are commonly used.
It’s important to remember that multiple treatments or a combination of methods might be necessary for complete control, especially in heavily infested areas. After removal, monitoring the area for new growth and acting promptly will prevent future infestations.
Preventing Dichondra Re-Growth
Once you’ve managed to control or eliminate dichondra from your garden or lawn, ensuring it doesn’t make a return is crucial. Here’s a comprehensive strategy to prevent its re-growth:
Landscape Design Considerations
Installing physical barriers, like edging materials, can prevent dichondra runners from creeping into areas where they are not desired.
A thick layer of mulch (2-3 inches) not only suppresses dichondra growth but also prevents the germination of its seeds. Organic mulches like wood chips, straw, or shredded bark are effective.
Routine Monitoring And Maintenance
- Regular Checks
Frequently inspect your garden or lawn for signs of new dichondra sprouts, especially during the growing season.
- Prompt Action
At the first sign of re-growth, remove the plants immediately, ensuring complete root removal.
- Optimized Watering
Overwatering can create ideal conditions for dichondra. Adjust your watering routines to ensure you’re not creating a hospitable environment for its return.
- Improved Drainage
If certain areas of your garden or lawn tend to collect water, consider implementing solutions like adding organic matter to the soil, creating a slope for runoff, or installing a drainage system.
- Healthy Lawn Care
Keeping a healthy lawn can prevent dichondra invasion. This includes regular mowing, proper fertilization, and aeration. A thick, vigorous lawn leaves little room for dichondra to establish.
- Competitive Plants
Plant ground covers or other species can compete with dichondra for space, sunlight, and nutrients.
- Pre-emergent Herbicides
Natural Control Methods Re-Application
If you’ve had success with natural methods like vinegar or boiling water, you can reapply them periodically as preventive measures, especially in areas where dichondra was previously dominant.
Preventing the re-growth of dichondra requires a combination of vigilance, effective cultural practices, and sometimes chemical interventions.
By understanding its growth habits and requirements, gardeners can create conditions that are unfavorable for its return, ensuring a dichondra-free landscape.
Alternatives To Eradicating Dichondra
Rather than seeing dichondra as a pesky intruder, some gardeners choose to harness its unique characteristics and incorporate it purposefully into their landscapes. Here are some alternative ways to approach dichondra in your garden:
Embracing Dichondra As A Ground Cover
- Lawn Substitute
Especially in areas with mild climates, dichondra can serve as a low-water, low-maintenance alternative to traditional grass lawns. It provides a soft, carpet-like texture that’s pleasant to walk on.
- Shade Tolerant
Dichondra can grow in shaded areas where many other plants struggle, filling in gaps and providing a consistent green cover.
Using Dichondra In Controlled Spaces
- Containers and Pots
Dichondra, especially the silver varieties, can be an attractive addition to mixed plant containers. Its trailing habit can provide a beautiful cascading effect.
- Raised Beds
Designing With Dichondra
- Borders and Edges
Use dichondra to line pathways or garden beds for a soft, verdant edge.
- Companion Planting
In larger gardens, dichondra can complement taller plants, shrubs, or trees by providing a consistent ground cover, which can also help retain soil moisture.
Maintaining A Controlled Growth
- Regular Trimming
To prevent dichondra from becoming too invasive, trim it back regularly, especially if it starts encroaching on other plants’ spaces.
- Physical Barriers
Installing root barriers or edging can help keep dichondra confined to specific areas.
- Erosion Control
Due to its dense growth, dichondra can help prevent soil erosion in sloped areas or places prone to water runoff.
Its thick mat can provide shelter for beneficial insects, enhancing garden biodiversity.
Dichondra doesn’t have to be an enemy. With thoughtful planning and maintenance, it can be integrated into garden designs to create beautiful and functional spaces.
By recognizing its potential and setting clear boundaries, gardeners can enjoy the benefits of dichondra while minimizing its challenges.
Dichondra, a seemingly humble ground cover, can play varied roles in the garden landscape. While its invasive nature can pose challenges for some, with proper management and innovative approaches, it can be transformed from a potential nuisance into a beautiful and functional asset.
Ultimately, understanding and respecting its growth habits enables gardeners to make informed decisions, whether that’s eradicating, controlling, or embracing this versatile plant. Every garden tells a story, and dichondra can be a character that adds depth and texture to that narrative.