It’s spreading in my front bed. I’m already breaking my back rooting out wild strawberry and yarrow. But can’t ID this monster. What is it ? and what’s the best way to get rid of it ?
The monster in your front garden is most likely creeping European bellflower, Campanula rapunculoides. It spreads via its rhizomes and readily resprouts from these rhizomes and its perennial roots when dug up incompletely. If you would let it grow it would eventually produce quite showy bell- like blue flowers for which it was once introduced from Europe as an ornamental.
You will find more information about this invasive plant in this previous post on our website
This link to an article by Liz Primeau provides excellent pictures of its root system https://lizprimeau.com/creeping-bellflower-beautiful-but-evil/
To get rid of it, if possible at all, certainly needs persistence and vigilance over several years. Never let it bloom and set seed. Get at it as soon as its leaves emerge in spring and keep monitoring the sites where it grows throughout the entire growing season. An alternative to digging is to regularly cut the stems at soil level as soon as new leaves emerge. This should eventually deplete the roots of nutrients and their ability to send out new shoots. Do not put root and shoot fragments in your garden compost as they might regrow.