Chinese lanterns used to fascinate me as a child. They can be pretty charming and work great in crafts, but are Chinese lanterns invasive? In some regions, gardeners call them Chinese lantern weeds because they spread abundantly. If you mixed them in with your perennials, you may find the lanterns crowding out all your other plants. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of Chinese lantern plants.
Removing Chinese Lantern Weeds
Despite their whimsical appeal, Chinese lantern control can at best be challenging and even frustrating. This is because the plant grows from rhizomes. Trying to manually remove it may leave behind even a tiny piece of root which is all this plant needs to regrow.
Many gardeners resort to glyphosate or other chemicals to manage Chinese lantern weeds. However, if you are determined enough, there are non-chemical methods you can use to conquer this persistent plant.
Digging to Remove Chinese Lantern Weeds
As back breaking as it sounds, digging out all the rhizomes is a safe, often effective method of Chinese lantern control. You must dig well around the plants and follow each rhizome and root for complete removal. It has been suggested that you also sift the soil because even tiny bits of rhizome can sprout.
Solarizing should work just as well. Use rocks or stakes to hold down a piece of black plastic. The plastic will have to stay in place for many months during the hottest part of the year to kill any rhizome pieces.
Managing Chinese Lanterns by Mowing
You can also achieve some control by starving the rhizomes. Essentially, you have to prevent the formation of leaves which photosynthesize and create plant starches. Keeping stems from forming will, over several seasons, finally kill the rhizomes.
For convenience, use a line trimmer or even a mower and consistently remove any developing shoots. It will take some time, but if you were already going to mow or trim the lawn, hit the lantern site as well.
How to Get Rid of Chinese Lantern Plants with Glyphosate
If you are not opposed to chemical warfare in your landscape, glyphosate can achieve control over several applications. Since it is a broad spectrum herbicide, it could drift or contaminate wanted plants. Make sure the day is breeze free when using this chemical.
Cut the stems of the Chinese lanterns and hand paint the glyphosate on the remaining stem. Do this immediately after cutting so the plant does not callus over. Some stems will succumb, while others may regrow. Be persistent and eventually you will master the plant.
Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and more environmentally friendly.