WOULD like to know how to eradicate liverwort from my garden in
an area where I have carnations, penstemons, azaleas and a low-growing
saxifraga. I tried taking off the first few centimetres of soil,
but within a few weeks the pesky liverwort is back. Is there an
easy way to get rid of it without harming the plants?
spores germinate on the soil surface when it stays moist for long
periods and once established the mat of liverwort can survive dry
periods. The spores blow around in the wind and can travel long
The first line of attack
is to try to create conditions that reduce the chances of the spores
germinating. First get rid of existing liverwort by spraying or
brushing on a solution of Surrender, Hitman or 1 part vinegar to
4 parts water. Or remove the top layer of soil. Once the liverwort
has died off (it usually takes only two or three days after spraying)
hoe the soil surface until it becomes friable and loose, to encourage
it to dry out.
Regular hoeing is often
enough to keep liverwort at bay, but if you don't have the time
or if the soil won't break up or just simply won't dry out enough,
then cover it with a mulch of something like granulated bark, which
is naturally open and porous. You could try mixing bark, or coarse
sand, with the top few centimetres of soil to encourage better aeration.
This should help, but have one of the above sprays ready to apply
to any patches of liverwort that reappear. Avoid getting any on
your plants though as they can cause damage.
Gardener, Issue 194, 2005, Page 18
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.