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Effective Methods to Get Rid of Mint Plants in a Garden

Effective Methods to Get Rid of Mint Plants in a Garden

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Say what you want about mint, but there’s no denying its versatility and refreshing taste. 

You can use it to liven up beverages, add a burst of flavor to desserts, or even enhance savory dishes. And that’s not even the best part—it’s super easy to grow. You can have an unlimited supply right at home just from a single cutting!

There’s just one problem: mint is painfully invasive. It’s as though it took “easy to grow” as a challenge! Once it takes root, it can spread rapidly and dominate its surroundings. This is why you should always plant mint in a pot. 

But what if you didn’t have that foresight and now find yourself drowning in an army of mint, siphoning off the nutrients meant for your poor tomatoes? Stick around—I’ve got all the solutions you need.

In this article, I’ll show you how to get rid of mint plants and regain control of your garden.

Option 1: Keep the Mint Under Control

Close Up Of Mint Plant

There are different varieties of mint plants and some tend to be more aggressive than others. No matter the strain, it’s essential to keep the mint under control and prevent it from taking over your entire garden space.

Planting barriers underground can prevent the mint runners from spreading. 

Growing mint in containers, however, is probably the best idea when it comes to keeping them under control and preventing overgrowth.

We start with good intentions with our mint and don’t realize the havoc they can cause. So, if you do want to grow mint in your garden without it becoming a real issue, try to grow them in bottomless containers.

Sink those containers deep underground or, if you must, grow them in larger containers above ground.

If you do plant them underground, make sure you keep the rim of the container at least an inch above the soil. Doing this is meant to keep the mint from being able to spill out into the other areas of the garden.

Of course, controlling the mint is a great plan but sometimes plans go awry. That can leave you with only one other discourse: kill the mint.

Option 2: Dig up the Mint

Digging Up Plants

Though it may seem obvious, digging up the mint is certainly a possibility. After all, digging up a plant that you don’t want there anymore is always an option.

But with mint, keep in mind that even one small piece of the plant that gets left behind can (and usually will) root itself and simply start the whole thing over again.

So, if you do decide that digging out the mint is the best possible option, don’t stop after the initial dig. Make sure you continuously check the area to guarantee there are no runners or debris left behind.

It can be maddening to put in the work of digging out the mint only to find that a small piece leftover sprouted up and set you back to square one. 

There are alternatives to digging, however, that may be more effective and save your sanity.

Option 3: Kill Your Mint Plants

Mint can quickly grow to become uncontrollable. It can wreak complete havoc on garden space and even push gardeners to the brink of their sanity.

For those who love their gardens, killing a plant is a tough decision. But invasive plants like mint make this a necessity for the sake of the other plants in the garden.

Mint isn’t an easy kill, though. There are plenty of gardeners that have invested time and effort into getting rid of the pesky plant only to be left wondering what else can be done.

Still, it’s possible to kill the mint but go in with a patient mindset to keep from going crazy.

Option 4: Use Boiling Water and Other Chemical-Free Methods

Boiling Water

The good thing is that there are ways to get rid of the mint without digging and without having to use chemicals that can be potentially harmful to the other plants in your garden. Those should be used as a last resort kind of scenario if at all.

Boiling water can be a great way to get rid of the mint but use it cautiously because boiling water can kill the leaves and roots of a plant.

If you aren’t careful, it could hit other plants in your garden and take something out of commission that you never intended to get rid of.

Some use a homemade mixture of soap, salt, and white vinegar in various fashions. Much like boiling water, this is meant to kill the mint on contact.

And like boiling water, it should be used cautiously as it will kill anything else that it comes into contact with.

If you are looking for safer, more controlled methods to get rid of that mint, you’re in luck. You can actually smother the mint. Cover it using a few thick layers of newspaper and then cover the newspaper in a layer of mulch.

Even if some of the mint pokes its way through, it becomes an easier target for pulling.

Option 5: Use an Herbicide 

Should all else fail, an herbicide should do the trick. 

Understandably, there are folks out there who don’t want to introduce chemicals into their garden. Still, it may be the easiest and most effective way to not only kill the mint, but the roots as well.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the level of infestation, you may have to implement any of these fixes several times to fully kill the spread of the mint. Just like the chemical-free options, you will want to try to avoid getting your herbicide on any of the other plants.

Whatever option you choose, just know that it takes patience and time to fully eradicate a rogue mint plant. They can take over entire gardens if you let them and getting them back from the brink can be a difficult proposition.

But with some persistence and patience, mint isn’t unbeatable. Be sure that you kill the mint or remove it completely or you could find yourself staring down the same problem again and again with no resolution in sight.

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Sunday 12th of May 2024

Great article! I love the natural option for a herbicide. I’m going to try these methods to get rid of my spreading mint.

Question: when using the vinegar, salt and soap spray, how long will you have to wait before plants can be planted in that area.

Lisa Bridenstine

Thursday 16th of May 2024

For vinegar, you should be okay to plant after a few days, but salt can complicate things. Too much salt can build up in the soil and prevent other plants from growing. This method may be better for areas that you won't be growing plants in. Still, if you would like to go this route, use it sparingly and you may want to also irrigate the soil with water heavily after the mint has died as well.

Happy Planting! Lisa