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Just moved into a new house and the previous owners didn't take care of the yard AT ALL. Weeds everywhere. 90% are simple weeds that will probably go away after I dig and relay a couple inches of soil ready for sod, but there are a cluster of 5 really large weeds that I can't identify and don't know how to properly kill.

My plan was to dig them right out, roots and all, to completely remove them. But the roots are huge and go very deep - I dug a couple feet down and they're still going. I have a feeling I will be digging forever to get them out.

How would you recommend I properly kill these weeds? I was thinking of cutting the roots a couple feet down, spraying weed killer in them, covering them in thick plastic and then filling the holes with the soil I dug out.

Images of the weed and how far down the roots go below (I kept digging the roots more than in this photo - but it gives you an idea).

the weed

the root

  • The easy way would have been to spray the leaves with glyphosate (roundup, etc) which will kill the entire plant including the roots. If the leaves don't look dead a week after spraying, spray again. Your digging may have broken off small pieces of root and mixed them with the soil, and they may regrow even if you kill the main root. – alephzero Jul 20 '19 at 18:35
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    The weed looks like burdock, which means that you can just break the root off; it shouldn't grow back. Alephzero's advice would work, but don't use glyphosate - any broadleaf killer takes care of it. – Jurp Jul 20 '19 at 19:47
  • I couldn't identify it, and I assumed it was a perennial from the size of the tap root. (And IMO reluctance to use glyphosate is more about emotion than science, but that's different topic). – alephzero Jul 20 '19 at 20:31
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As @jurp has pointed out in a comment these plants are burdock. Burdock is big and frightening in appearance but easy to deal with. Its vulnerability is that it is a biennial, grows a rosette of leaves first year and then second year goes to seed. Seed then falls to ground and the parent dies taking that root with it. The plan is to interrupt the seeding process by cutting the second year flowering spike off at ground level, either with pruners or mower or just trampling them down early in the season. There are only 5, should be easy peasy to cut off the spikes and done. No herbicides, no digging, no plastic. Just pay attention to clobbering any new attempts to send up flower spikes. In a couple of years no sign of them.

Good news is that generally burdock likes deep good soil, so you may have a yardful of good base material for your grass. Just examine carefully for potential harmful stuff like bedsprings, then mow regularly with rough mower and the grass will take over.

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  • Thank you! Glad to know they’re easy to get rid of. I had cut them at the stem right at their base about a month ago, but they grew back to what you see in the photo, hence why I tried digging the roots up. I will fill the holes in now, and if I see it starting to grow back up I’ll keep on top of cutting them down until they disappear. :) – Chris White Jul 20 '19 at 21:19

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