How to get rid of creeping cinquefoil?

After the wood sorrel, let’s continue with our little rundown of common invasive plants in creeping cinquefoil gardens.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant of the Rosaceae family.

Common throughout France (except at high altitudes), it spreads along paths, in ditches, meadows… and gardens.

It is 10 to 20 cm high.

The leaves are divided into 5 (usually the case) to 7 toothed leaflets.

Flowering, yellow, extends from July* to November.

Creeping Cinquefoil Leaf
Creeping Cinquefoil Leaf
Creeping cinquefoil flower
Creeping cinquefoil flower… *in May (well, we have temperatures worthy of a month of July)

But like any plant, the cinquefoil, or quintfeuille (his other name), speaks to us… yes, yes… I assure you!

You do not believe me ?

So let’s say rather that it gives us valuable clues about the condition of the soil.

Cinquefoil, a bio-indicator plant

In the garden it is very often present on the paths of the vegetable garden…

And rightly so: it indicates a compaction of the soil by trampling.

This trampling will result in compacted soil which can lead to suffocation.

It wouldn’t be a problem if she stuck to those aisles…

But the concern is that at the base of its rosette it forms long shoots that can grow up to 1 meter in length and take root easily… at the same time making its eradication particularly delicate).

An excess of nitrogen in the soil also promotes its spread.

It is fairly hardy and can withstand negative temperatures of around -15°C and drought.

The goal here is to make the soil more flexible and aerate, creating conditions that are not conducive to the development of this perennial.

But, as with most invasive weeds, you have to be patient…and be methodical.

In spring

Aerate the soil by working with Grelinette or Campagnole

Packed, compacted soil must be aerated…

So we’ll start with that.

But to do this, it is out of the question to use a tiller.

On the one hand you would generate a compaction of the soil (at the height of the working depth of the rotary tool), the opposite of what we are looking for here.

And on the other hand, you would only multiply the root pieces of the invasive plant you want to get rid of.

For good aeration of the soil, use an ecological tillage tool (Grelinette or Campagnole).

You will be able to lift and pull out much of the root system (but not all…that’s why you will have to be patient), while aerating the soil in a timely manner. And this without multiplying the square roots…

Don’t forget to evacuate what you ripped out of the grow bed, otherwise there is a high risk of restarting, especially if the weather is wet…

But I’ll show you that in this short video:

Note that if you till the soil several times, for example at weekly intervals, you will probably see new shoots, with a small root system, still underdeveloped and therefore easier to remove. Pull them out as soon as possible, using the whole root if possible.

chopping wood

potato cultivation mulch
A good mulch helps aerate the soil

If it is at all present, the cinquefoil will easily cross even thick mulch…

But covering the soil with living organic matter will eventually help loosen and aerate the soil.

And mulching makes it easier to pull up outgrowths in softer soil.

Also, feel free to mulch.

I, who always have grass in my paths, and therefore ended up curtailing them by repeatedly trampling, now plan to mulch the paths too…

In the spring and summer

Drain the plant

Potentilla shoots
Young shoots of potentilla uprooted

Pulling new growth from cinquefoil frequently will cause the plant to gradually wear out.

Whereas as you grow it, it will grow stronger and then become tougher and harder to eradicate.

The principle is therefore simple: do you see potentilla in a place where you do not want to see it bloom? Pull it out systematically and quickly, preferably after rain (this will allow you to more easily evacuate the root system).

In the fall

Sowing green manure

To restructure and aerate the soil, nothing beats a green manure.

This is therefore a highly recommended exercise for overcoming potentilla.

And what I’m probably going to do next fall on the shelves still overgrown with potentilla…

To conclude this article, let’s potential interests

  • the bloom is attractive to pollinators
  • its bright flowers are not without charm
  • the leaves and roots are edible with astringent, febrifuge and anti-inflammatory properties (but ask for medical advice…)

Also, leave it alone where it won’t disturb your crops…

Note that one also often finds anserine cinquefoil, more present in vineyards, orchards or roadsides. The causes of proliferation and methods of eradication are identical.