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Managing Weeds: Yellow Archangel

October 28, 2013

Is yellow archangel weed (aka Lamium or Lamiastrum galeobdolon) taking over your garden beds?

Unwanted Lamium crossing a fenceline

A neglectful neighbor’s weeds traveling across the fence line into our rich garden soils. Argh!

It used to be that this stuff was for sale in just about every nursery in the PacNW. Fortunately, we’re seeing less and less of this Class B Noxious weed for sale. But, the stuff is still eating garden beds everywhere — including ours — mostly because we can’t control what’s happening on the other side of the fence.

Yellow Archangel Gone Wild

A lesson in what we can’t control: Lamium or Yellow Archangel left untended in an adjoining neighbor’s side bed.

Like the bindweed and blackberries and holly that the renters next door do nothing about, this Lamium continues to thrive under neglect. Some might say: “But, it’s pretty when it blooms yellow, and those silvery leaves brighten up dark corners.” Our response: “It’s a non-native that spreads fast even in deep shade. It can easily smother out native plants. Oh, and it stinks!”

How to Eradicate Yellow Archangel

Eradicating Yellow Archangel means following each stem to each rooting node it creates off of each stem.
(Weeding Tool from Fiskars® was provided for review purposes)

If you’ve got it, get it out from the roots sooner rather than later. Once it creates a dense patch, it can be difficult to remove all of the roots. But, if you’re going for it, find a clump and dig out the entire root. If it has sent out runners — above ground or under ground — follow those runners to then next clump, and remove everything. Using a garden fork to loosen the moistened and drained soil around a big patch and then following with a hand tool to get all the roots out can make for easier work.

Note the moistened and drained part. If the soil is rock hard, those roots just won’t come up very well.

4 Comments

  1. Angela says:

    I have been dealing for years with this on our property. The other thing to mention is what to do with it once you have gotten it up: throw it in the trash and take it to the dump. Don’t move it to a compost pile, it will keep living if there is any soil on the roots, and it will spread from any spot you move it to. The other way to deal with dense patches is to smother with cardboard, then cover the cardboard with a thick layer of mulch. Remember to monitor all spots you have removed the archangel from, it takes years to really be sure it is gone. It is possible, it just takes vigilance.

  2. Agreed about not putting it in passive, home compost Angela. But, I hope you’re able to send it to an off-site composting facility like Cedar Grove composting rather than add it to the trash.

  3. Mary Carney says:

    After removal of this yellow archangel invasive plant, what would you recommend putting in its place to help fight off any further appearance of this noxious weed?

  4. Mary, thanks for asking about ways to keep yellow archangel at bay with new plantings. Unfortunately, site unseen it’s tough to know what might or might not work as a replacement planting for your garden. Soil, sunlight, shade, heat, cold, moisture and more go into determining right plant for the right place. And, that darn yellow archangel is a tough nugget that grows in a wide range of habitats.

    One thing that may help is keeping a deep layer of arborist chips over the area where you have pulled out the the plant. This may help keep any new seeds from germinating. However, it will not stop shoots arising from any roots (or stems that can grow roots) that are left behind. It may slow their progress, but it’s important to stay on top of any new shoots coming up. If you keep pulling those, eventually, you will probably starve out the problem plant. And, ideally, eradicating it completely before replanting may be desirable. If you haven’t fully eradicated the problem, it will insinuate itself among the roots of your new plantings.

    Good luck!

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