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Getting Rid of Mint

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Joined: 7/31/2006
Posts: 1
Posted: Jul/31/2006 4:44 PM PST

I am new to gardening -- but my problem is not growing something -- it is getting rid of mint. When we bought this home (Highlands, N.C), MINT was growing on the side of an embankment -- we have tried a lot of things -- hand pulling it, cutting it before the winter sets in, and even Round up -- we cannot get rid of it. The mint continues to try to choke out the mountain laurel, hydrangeas and dogwood tree -- I seem to spend all my time trying to keep it from advancing -- What can I do? If there is a non-toxic solution, I would appreciate knowing that -- if not I am desparate enough to use pesticides. Thank you Highlander
fozbot3 blog photos
Joined: 1/18/2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7893
Posted: Jul/31/2006 7:14 PM PST

here's what one gardener had to say about this:
[QUOTE]I'm afraid mint doesn't blow in, it ain't a dandelion. the underground runners from a neighbor perhaps, made a beeline for your tree. it is hard, if not impossible to eradicate. best thing todo is wait til after a really soaking rain, very, i mean very gently try and pull the main plant out of the ground. you don't want to break off the underground runners, because they will then be stimulated into putting out leaves , and more runners. follow the runners from the main plant and try to ease them out of the soil, they are normally quite close to the surface. it's a big task, every piece you leave brhind is a potential plant. face it, mint is eternal. you can keep cutting back the plants that do pop up, and eventually(?) you'll starve them, perhaps your children or grandchildren will take over ,afteryou've gone. if you do succeed, do as the previous writer suggested and plant it in a pot, WAY above ground. i never plant mint, my neighbors are only too happy to have anyone come by and cut what they want. food for thought, as it were. good luck. you can ultimately blame the Greek gods for your predicament.[/quote]

here's another testimonial:

[QUOTE] A short testimony about destroying mint:

There is a list of plants you want to know about if you really want to irritate your neighbors. Blackberry, raspberry, Canna, and Mint are some of a list of plants that send underground shoots so that you and eventually your neighbor can both enjoy these plants for a lifetime.

In my side yard, where my neighbor's mint plants took over, I'd like to do some landscaping. One Summer weekend my hubby and I got out shovels, gloves and the garbage can and dug up all the mint in that plot of land. We pulled underground shoots out that were as long as 5 feet! The area was barren -for about 2 weeks! As soon as the hot spell that prevented us from working there subsided, we saw that there were dozens of mint shoots coming up all over!

Hubby goes to the garage and gets the ready-to-use Round-Up weed killer in the spray bottle. We use the whole spray bottle on the mint plants. A week later there are lots of brown leaves, but the mint is still thriving.

We go to our local Orchard Supply Hardware store, tell the helpful garden section employee about our problem, and he suggests: Ortho Brush-B-Gon Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Brush Killer. This product states that it can kill just about anything, in addition to kudzu, blackberries, poison oak, other brambles, vines and brush. Just spray when plant has leaves, but at least 2 hours before a rain, and it will kill. I am ready to do some killing! I purchase the can for $5.49 + tax and head home.

I did not even go into the house, I pulled the can out of the bag and headed towards the mint patch. The instructions tell you to cover the plant, so just like when you have a can of Raid and a black-widow spider, I sprayed those mint plant WHITE! It looked like snow in California. There wasn't an inch of green to be seen anywhere.

Every day I went out to check the mint patch. After a couple of days the tops of the mint plants started drooping, and the top leaves got a yellow tinge. I am sad to say that after 2 weeks, the mint plants look pretty healthy. Maybe I was using a chemical fertilizer on them instead of a chemical brush killer?

So, the mint plant is victorious once again. I will have to keep up my search for the perfect murder weapon against the mint plants. The helpful Orchard Supply worker has suggested I try Triox next. He says (and the bottle states) that it will kill all plants, so you shouldn't use it near plants you want.

For now, julep anyone?[/quote]

this rant is followed by a recipe for mint juleps. good luck!
Joined: 6/09/2004
Location: Minnesota-Zone 3/4 ~ livin' on the edge!
Posts: 42
Posted: Aug/02/2006 2:07 AM PST

A much less expensive, organic method is to dissolve 2 cups of salt (table salt is fine) and a squirt of dishsoap into 1 gallon of white vinegar. Pour into a WELL MARKED spray bottle, and liberally douse the mint, or any other green thing you want to curl up & die
This is going to take MANY applications, because mint is the demon spawn of all garden plants, and is truly evil. But diligence will eventually win!
trudy blog photos
Joined: 6/02/2006
Location: SW Georgia
Posts: 404
Posted: Aug/02/2006 9:16 AM PST

I don't have mint to deal with like that but do have a very invasive vine that has the waxy leaves that has gone unidentified now for years. Anyway the only way so far I have been able to kill this vine is by wearing some latex gloves and taking undiluted roundup, putting some in my hand and rubbing it on while crushing the leaves at the same time on this vine. And it works, only with this particular vine the berries it produces make it continously reseed itself. So its a matter of staying with it which is difficult for me to do sometimes. Perhaps try this on the mint, it may work for you. trudy
Joined: 7/14/2006
Location: zone 5 wisconsin
Posts: 49
Posted: Aug/02/2006 12:58 PM PST

Is the ground fairly hard? I have taken note of the various plants many find uncontrollably invasive where others find them manageable and am curious as to what makes the difference.

I am sure the amount of sunlight the mint gets has an effect as I have mint in a shade bed that comes back each year and tries to grow, but never really takes off. I also have it in my vegetable bed in full sun, but it has to compete with chives and a few other agressive herbs and doesn't get out of control as long as I pull up the extra at the end of the year. I also have it in a full sun ornamental bed where it has mostly free reign and it took a good year of repeated pulling to remove it all. In the last case the earth is extremely soft so pulling up everything is not difficult, but I suspect if the soil were compacted I would have had a devil of a time.

In any event, if the soil is hard and the plants can't be pulled out completely then your other option is digging the area up about 12" down and screening the soil to remove root fragments and then putting the soil back. If you can't do this then RoundUp seems like about the least toxic method remaining.

I agree with Trudy in the use of full strength, rather than diluted roundup. Plants with large root systems are often not completely kill by RoundUp at label strength. Selectively treating plants with the concentrate works better for such plants.
treeman blog photos
Joined: 3/29/2002
Posts: 2874
Posted: Aug/02/2006 4:27 PM PST

Mint?..... hmmmmm.... Well, you can try cussing at it...... it probably won't help tho..... but it'll give you something to do while you watch it grow.
Joined: 4/02/2002
Location: Manistee County, MI, USA
Posts: 496
Posted: Aug/04/2006 12:37 PM PST

If the area of conern is large pulling won't get rid of mint.

Your only options are spraying it with some type of herbicide. I'd give the recipe Donna S. gave above. If that fails Round-Up or a similar product is an option that I know will work.
Joined: 5/15/2005
Location: Northeastern Lower Michigan
Posts: 66
Posted: Aug/04/2006 7:23 PM PST

... paving the area "usually" will slow it down a bit.

Joined: 5/10/2002
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 90
Posted: Aug/10/2006 3:54 AM PST

It sounds as if the area you are talking about is pretty large, so this may not work. My son planted mountain mint and catmint in a perennial bed when he was living here before he bought his own home. I was surprised because he's the one who had warned me about mint in the first place, but he said he would control it. HAH! He never had time to do much controlling so I kept pulling it out to keep the area as small as possible. As soon as he moved out, I lasagna-ed the whole bed to smother the weeds AND the mint. Thick pads of newspaper with a thick layer of shredded bark mulch did the trick. Even though the weeds gradually returned as the layers broke down, the mint is still gone. I do this every 2-3 years and it really helps control weeds and invasive plants. The weeds that come back are easy to pull out of the mulch, which keeps the soil moist and soft. AND no poison is needed. One thing I used the pulled-out mint (minus any seeds) for was pest/insect repellent in the veg garden. Many pests avoid "smelly" plants like mint and stay away from the veggies.
Joined: 9/08/2005
Location: Central Idaho
Posts: 296
Posted: Oct/29/2006 2:53 PM PST

I had to do pretty much the same as suggested in the first reply.
I inherited a stand of spearmint when we moved into this home. Basically I had to wait until spring when the ground was nice and workable and dig up and pull up all the runners and even the smallest pieces of root. I haven't had any come back since and it was a pretty big patch

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