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How to Kill an Ice Plant

Elton Dunn

Originally planted to control erosion along the coastline of California and other states, ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) is now invasive and chokes out native vegetation. This succulent plant thrives on neglect and creates vegetative mats. While ice plant may be widespread, pulling it out manually is not difficult. Gardeners can choose two organic or one chemical method to kill the ice plant that's taking over their garden bed or yard. Remove ice plant at any time of year.

  1. Weed the ice plant out of your garden bed by pulling it out of the ground. Ice plant has shallow roots and thick stems, so it should easily come out when pulled up. Remove all ice plant from the bed.

  2. Lay the ice plant cuttings in a pile and leave them there until they dry out, which can take several weeks to a couple of months. Once the cuttings are dried, dispose of them in a garbage bin or compost.

  3. Cover the bed with a sheet of heavy plastic, tacking it down with garden stakes. Leave the plastic in place for several weeks so the sun's rays suffocate the ice plant. San Diego State University recommends using this method in summer and leaving the sheet in place until the ice plant dies underneath the plastic.

  4. Remove the plastic sheet. Rake the dead plants out of the garden bed. Discard the dead ice plants in the garbage bin.

  5. Spray the ice plant with a 2 percent concentration of Roundup. Spray on a low-wind day to avoid carrying this herbicide to other plants or gardens. Follow the directions on the label to apply this product correctly.