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I have these plants growing a meter or so from my house:

enter image description here

I have no idea what they are, but I quite like them, so would prefer to keep them if practical. However, they have a tendency to spread easily (perhaps they're considered weeds?), and of particular concern is that they're coming up in between the sealed edge between house and footpath:

enter image description here

To be honest, I don't even understand how they're growing there, since there's no water and I would have thought there's no nutrients being the foundation of my home. Presumably, the high humidity is sufficient to allow these things to thrive.

If I try removing them by simply pulling them, the stem detaches from the base and they promptly grow back.

What should I do to deal with these suckers more permanently? I'd prefer to avoid any herbicides or harsh chemicals, since I don't want to expose my family or dog to anything toxic if I can help it. Any idea what I can do?

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  • pesticides are not for plants
    – jsotola
    Commented Jan 20 at 5:20
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    google lens says that it is a Setaria palmifolia
    – jsotola
    Commented Jan 20 at 5:24
  • I was going to suggest using vinegar, but this US University site makes the case that it's a) unlikely to kill mature weeds, such as your probable grass and b) likely to damage your concrete. See here if interested: extension.umd.edu/resource/vinegar-alternative-glyphosate
    – Jurp
    Commented Jan 20 at 15:24

2 Answers 2

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If the ID (Setaria palmifolia) suggested in a comment is accurate, you might want to consider removing that plant from areas close to your house and walkway. It's a very large grass (6 ft height and spread eventually) and increases by underground rhizomes (i.e. can be invasive). It will be a never-ending chore to keep it from causing damage to and blocking the pathway. The only alternative to using chemical herbicides is manual removal, which would not seem to be practical in your case. Glyphosate is a well-known herbicide that is highly effective and has been proven to be minimally toxic to animals.

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  • Yes, the systemic herbicides absorb down to every root before killing the entire plant. That is typical also of Poison Ivy killers. If you get some of this handsome but aggressive plant into pots, you win. Commented Jan 21 at 1:46
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I've had good luck using an electric kettle to bring water to a boil and then slowly pouring it on the plant. Sometimes, the plant is a bit resilient and it takes a couple of times, but even after the first time, you will see it wilt quickly and look dead in a day or two.

Given the location, you may want to use foil to prevent the boiling water from hitting the exterior of the building by sliding it behind the plant.

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