Does anyone know how to control/eradicate Ground Elder/Gout Weed? (corrected: was initially Cow Parsley)

I have a terrible problem with cow parsnip and have spent many hours (actually days) digging out roots. I’m trying to plant a native bed but want to eradicate the cow parsley first. I keep thinking I’ve got it all, but with this lovely sunshine, it keeps appearing! Any help would be appreciated!

You could contact the Invasive Species Council of BC ( and they should be able to advise you. Their web site is .

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great suggestion…thanks!

That looks like giant hogweed not cow parsnip. It is a nasty invasive and you want to take care in removing it. It contains a phyto toxin. Small plants like the one in the photo are easy to dig up. Use gloves, cover your skin and do it before it seeds.

Hi Frank…I was incorrect…my nasty weed is actually ground elder (or gout weed). And apparently the only non chemical way to eradicate it is to be vigilant with weeding and maybe, eventually it will use up its energy and stop producing. It’s incredibly prolific and the roots are really deep. I’ve been over the ground twice now (a 5’ x 40’ bed) in addition to the almost daily weeding and its like I never even touched it. If you do have any suggestions, they would be most welcome! The flowers ARE pretty at least.

Hi Lorna;
I don’t think there are any easy solutions to get rid of it in an active garden. I have a friend who covered a patch with poly and a foot of wood chips. He left it for a couple of years and killed it that way. Obviously that would not work in an active garden. Continuous weeding might be the best option you have.
Frank H
Ps Did you change the photo?

Yes I think I’m in for a bit of soul crushing weed pulling unfortunately. The leaves appear to be getting smaller when they poke through but that may be wishful thinking. Trying to pull them and whatever roots I can dig up every day—this IS the year to be taking on this type of project!

Re: the picture—I added a new picture of ground elder. The cow parsnip picture is still attached to the first post.

Wow, if you’ve already dug it out of a 5’x40’ bed and it hasn’t disappeared, then soul crushing weed pulling it is indeed.

I’ve had a similar problem with buttercup in an established bed, where I vigilantly weeded it out so you would never know it had been there, only for it to come back just as strong the following year. Ugh.

You need a good podcast to listen to while you weed. That can make the soul crushing work enjoyable :grin:

Ha! You are funny…and that is a good idea…there’s an opportunity for another topic: podcasts to garden by :grinning:

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Buttercup Is horrible…and horsetail…aargh…they are the worst. I’ll now add Gout Weed to my Top 3 worst weeds list…

I feel your pain. I just read an article that suggested horticultural vinegar used multiple times (during hot sunny weather of course) after cutting the plant down fairly short. You need some of the leaves to have the acid work but it may be worth a try!

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Oh…good. I will try anything. I’ve spent countless hours in this bed weeding. It’s dormant now…at least above ground…I can just imagine it is growing madly beneath the soil. Such a nasty weed. :smiling_imp:

Thanks for this!