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Do I need to panic about my bed of mint?

 
                            
Posts: 16
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We planted a 10x10 bed of peppermint last year because we were tired of mowing it (it's a STEEP hill, over 45 degrees) and liked the idea of having something useful. The mint was nice, we made plenty of iced tea with it.

We knew before we planted that mint is treacherous, but we did it anyway. Should I regret it? Should we pull it up? Should we put a tarp over it all year next year in hopes of killing it? How badly do I need to panic?
 
                          
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
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Well, what's next to it that you want to keep the mint out of? Are you prepared to weed a lot of little mint plants out of the nearby beds? How much water does the patch get? Most mints won't run rampant in dry areas.

If you're really worried, you could try sinking a barrier around the mint bed. I've seen this have limited success—that is, success was limited by the mint's ability to get around, over, under, or through the barrier. Still, with the right barrier it could work.
 
                            
Posts: 16
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All that's next to it is grass. Lawn. We're not picky about the lawn. If an errant mint plant pops up every now and then, I'm happy to just pull it out. But some of the things I've heard have kind of scared me Like our lawn would become literally overgrown with mint no matter what I did. I've heard you can't kill mint. Not even rototilling will do it, or so I've heard.

I do hope to plant more on that hill - my goal is to get rid of the majority of the grass and grow something useful. I have my work cut out for me though, since the slope is so steep - I'll need steps of some sort to reach things. Add a few neighborhood children and dogs (that already tear up that part of the yard) and I'll want to take it VERY slowly.
 
                                    
Posts: 2
Location: Easton, Kansas
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I love my mint.  I have never really had a problem with it growing too far out of bounds, but I go and cut sprigs of it all the time.  did you know mint tea is good for an upset stomach?
I would certainly not try to kill it! If you have a farmers market in your town, dig individual plants up, pot them and sell them in the springtime- lots of people will buy mint!
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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Eyes Wide Open wrote:
All that's next to it is grass. Lawn. We're not picky about the lawn. If an errant mint plant pops up every now and then, I'm happy to just pull it out. But some of the things I've heard have kind of scared me Like our lawn would become literally overgrown with mint no matter what I did. I've heard you can't kill mint. Not even rototilling will do it, or so I've heard.

I do hope to plant more on that hill - my goal is to get rid of the majority of the grass and grow something useful. I have my work cut out for me though, since the slope is so steep - I'll need steps of some sort to reach things. Add a few neighborhood children and dogs (that already tear up that part of the yard) and I'll want to take it VERY slowly.


you're probably worrying too much.

i have a patch of mint along my border garden.  it does spread, but it's not like some sort of infestation.  i weed it by hand just like i do with other weeds that are in places that i need for something else and into the chicken coop they go.

if the other areas near the mint are sensitive, i'd try some of the methods described by others, but it may not be as big a deal as you think.

 
Delilah Gill
Posts: 35
Location: Southern Georgia
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Mint does make a good ground cover. You can always solar bake it with a sheet of plastic and that will kill it off (that kills kudzu too). Test it over a year or two to see how the mint grows before deciding to remove it by baking. (I hope you keep the mint for all the good things it gives back to you.) Oregano may be a good plant to use as a border around the mint to keep it in check.
 
                            
Posts: 16
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Thanks, that was all helpful. I'd rather just keep it. It's nice to know I don't have to panic So from what it sounds like, it's not a big deal and maybe I'll have to pull something out of the grass every now and then but that's pretty much it - and if I change my mind and don't want mint I could probably cook it. That's all I need to know.
 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 89
Location: Zone 8b Portland
food preservation forest garden fungi
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Look on the bright side.  If you mow it, it'll smell fantastic! 

I put a mint bed into my parents house when I was little and 20yrs later it really hasn't gone much more than a few feet away from where I planted it.  Mind you dad runs over it with the lawn mower in the summer because he loves the smell.  It's not as rampant as you think. 
 
duane hennon
volunteer
Posts: 625
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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I have mint planted all over my place.
it's a great plant for beneficial insects and bees.
it does replace some grass but to me that's a good thing.

it is a pioneer sunloving plant. so control would be by shading it, plant trees or shrubs to control.
come to think of it, this patch of mint would be a good place to start a forest garden.
you already have the ground layer started and grass under control.
good work, you were doing permaculture without realizing it.
 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 89
Location: Zone 8b Portland
food preservation forest garden fungi
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I agree with Duane.  I think it competes well with grass but doesn't smother things.  It won't move into shady spots.  It really does like that sun.  There are arbor vitae bushes planted next to my parents mint bed and it has never grown under them.  Way too much shade for mint to be happy. 
 
Willy Kerlang
Posts: 106
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Containing the mint is not terribly hard.  Just get some kind of edging material that you can pound/press into place all around the bed and Bob's your uncle.  I have contained mint very successfully in a raised bed for several years with one piece of hard plastic edging I bought on special somewhere. 
 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
Posts: 1399
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I have three different types of mint and none have been horribly aggressive.  I wish they would be.  As a matter of fact my curly mint (my favorite for tea) is quite picky.

The chocolate mint has spread the most - it makes mowing a real joy in that area.  When I run the mower over it the smell of chocolate mint fills the air.  I am thinking of raising the mower blades in that area to encourage it to come out into the yard a bit more.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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duane wrote:
I have mint planted all over my place.
it's a great plant for beneficial insects and bees.


We hung it in bunches on our porch last year as a fly deterrent. I've also heard of planting it around houses where ants are an issue (as a repellant). Mint also contains antibacterial, antiviral, antiemetic (stomach settling), and muscle relaxing/analgesic (pain relieving) properties.
 
Casey Halone
Posts: 192
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I was going to ask about putting mint into a lawn. seems it would grow tall slower than the grass? I have a lemon mint I think would be great.
 
                                    
Posts: 2
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I would be very careful about where you try to pare down your mint. Mint works much like my mustache. If I shave it a bit at the edges the next day I wake up with handlebars.

On more than one occasion I\\\'ve been woken up to find something crawling up my leg and low and behold, MINT!

Seriously though it\\\'s a pain but I just chuck some hummonia that\\\'s been sitting around for a while onto the areas that I want to curb and it usually burns it away.

Note: with this method temporary burnt areas will grow back even stronger and thicker like a handlebar mustache!


 
Haru Yasumi
Posts: 102
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I think how hard mints are to get out depends a lot on the kind of soil.  In my garden beds it's pretty easy to yank up runners from under the mulch but I imagine being in a mowed lawn could make it more difficult to pull them without snapping and leaving a bunch of root cuttings in the soil due to compaction.

I unleashed apple mint, spearmint, and orange mint into my garden last year and potted up all the newly rooting offsets this year.  There's still some spearmint growing - wasn't sure if I wanted to pull it or not and decided to disturb the soil a little later on.

The mint that I probably couldn't get rid of very easily but unleashed into the garden a couple of years ago is corsican mint.  They're commonly sold around here as "steppables" since they're tiny-leaved mints and give off a great smell when walked on or otherwise crushed up.  They seem to seed vigorously to the point where I'm not sure if they come back from the roots at all or just act like annuals.  I first encountered one in a large yard/garden that had it growing spontaneously in the pebbly paths and wondered where the great smell was coming from (though it was a bit overwhelming to work around for hours).

Anyway since we're talking about mints I thought I'd post pictures of the mints I potted up.  They're adding a nice green to part of the concrete in the back yard here
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Cory Allan
Posts: 61
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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It depends on your soil, I suspect.

I had sandy soil on my previous property and had a potted plant sitting on the grass. I spent the rest of the summer and spring pulling shoots that took off from under the bottom of the pot across the lawn and garden beds.

Mint runners need to be completely removed, or they spawn new plants, so you could have your hands full.
 
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