Hello Mike, I’m a Philadelphia native, and I adore your show (and my maiden name is McGrath, which, I confess, is why I started listening). Anyway, since we relocated to the south, wild garlic has taken over our grass. No herbicides are needed because my 14-month-old daughter will be playing on this grass. What else are we able to do? Thanks,
Emily in Knoxville, Tennessee
Any ideas on how to get rid of the onion grass in my yard? Even though I remove the plants, they continue to spread across more of my yard every year. I appreciate your support.
Wild onions are overrunning my flowerbed. How do I get rid of them without harming any bushes or perennials nearby as they are impossible to pull?
in Kankakee, Lori (Illinois)
A. Well, you can forget about spraying herbicides on these invaders, regardless of how you feel about the benefits of killing off otherwise desirable plants with poison that you have been trained to detest. Broadleaf herbicides make up the majority of chemical and non-chemical treatments intended to eradicate already existing plants. Simply said, the chemical, vinegar, or soap is caught and held in place by the wide leaves of the targeted weed so it may do its plant-killing function. These ‘onions’ and ‘garlic’s’ wild Allium family members are tall and slender, which allows them to shed herbicides quite successfully. Additionally, much energy is stored in their underground bulb, similar to that of a grown onion or garlic, for future regeneration.
Intelligent plucking is the solution to these weeds in flower beds and top-notch lawns. I don’t understand why Lori in Kankakee claims that they are “difficult to extract” because I have seen some of the recognizable clumps in my peach orchard, and when I gently but firmly tug on them after a nice, soaking rain, the entire cluster comes out with ease. One of the numerous advantages of upgrading your soil is that weeds practically drag themselves out of excellent, loose, rich soil with lots of organic matter in the form of compost. On the other hand, weeds that thrive in poor, compacted clay tend to be well-established.
Additionally, digging in damp soil is always more fruitful than in dry dirt. So after a rain, walk outside, reach down to the soil line, and gently pull; this will totally remove the underground bulb. The plant is unharmed if you merely cut them at the soil line; nevertheless, you will use the same amount of time and effort and reap no rewards.
A sharp, long-handled “poachers spade,” which is also a very helpful tool for transplanting and rabbit hunting in Merry Old England, can also be used to break apart tight clumps.
The most troublesome and time-consuming sprouts to manage are single sprouts. Be wise, then. If you have a huge area that is mostly covered in single plants, remove little parts at a time, making sure to pull slowly and remove all of the bulbs. Give yourself several seasons to finish; if you’ve just been cursing them for the past five years, you can’t anticipate overnight eradication. Start with highly obvious spots. Additionally, while you are doing this, mow or weed-whack the tops off of any unpulled plants in other locations to prevent them from setting seed.
The greatest course of action for a lawn is always to grow a healthier grass. This entails giving cool-season grasses like bluegrass and fescue a substantial natural feeding with compost or a bagged organic lawn fertilizer in the fall. In the spring, use a corn gluten meal weed and feed to give a nice feeding and prevent any spilled seed from germinating. For cool-season grasses, no summer feeding is necessary! And never use chemical fertilizer!
Never mow cool-season lawns any shorter than three inches. Never water grass every day, for a little length of time, or on a schedule that disregards rainfall; instead, water all grasses deeply, INfrequently, and only as necessary. By taking these steps, the alliums and other weeds will eventually disappear on their own.
Furthermore, I would be negligent if I failed to mention that these plants are edible and highly prized as components of springtime “tonics.” Yes, they have a very harsh flavor compared to farmed alliums, but that just means they have much higher levels of allicin and other naturally occurring antibiotics and cancer-fighting substances. Try adding modest amounts of finely chopped food to recipes. Alternately, you can cut up some (cloves and greens) and make wonderful garlic vinegar by letting them steep for a while in a high-quality apple cider vinegar.
A: Hello Mike, The lovely Star of Bethlehem, a flower with six petals, is bothering me, and I’d like to know how to get rid of it.
Harry in Levittown, Pennsylvania
Do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of the pesky little devils known as Ornithogalum umbellatum, or Star of Bethlehem? It takes a long time and is laborious to dig them up one by one. I attempted to cover them with fieldstone, but they only continued to protrude from the edges of the stone.
Linda in Collingswood, New Jersey
A. You may control these runaway ornamentals in the same way you control wild alliums: remove the underground bulb by carefully tugging, and the plant will stop bothering you.
Install edging to keep it contained to specific locations, or have a look at this passage from the wonderful and highly suggested new book “Bulb” by Anna Pavord (Mitchell Beazley; 2009)
: “Star-of-Bethlehem will appear rather endearing if you have not been taught to think of it as a thug. It has wide spreading heads of light, fluffy, airy flowers with very specific habits, opening at 11 o’clock and closing at three in the afternoon. An excellent bloom to naturalize among shrubs or meadow grass.”
Why do Star of Bethlehem bulbs deteriorate?
With star-of-Bethlehem, the response to chemical control techniques is constrained. Although substances like glyphosate and 2,4-D can harm the leaves above ground, the bulbs remain active underground and continue to produce new plants. Under various trade names, herbicides that contain 44% of the chemical paraquat are up to 90% effective at eliminating star-of-Bethlehem. Despite this apparent high success rate, the lingering bulbs continue to grow, making it challenging to totally eradicate the issue.
In situations where the star-of-Bethlehem problem is serious and spread out over a large area, this alternative is more feasible than manual removal techniques. The University of Tennessee cautions caution when using chemical pesticides because they can poison people and animals and damage other plants in your yard.
How may a star-of-Bethlehem plant be eliminated?
The star of Bethlehem can be dug up, but it won’t be simple. The best way to effectively control this plant is to use a herbicide that contains carfentrazone (Speedzone, Q4, etc.). You should apply this herbicide when the weed is still in its early stages of growth.
How can star grass be eliminated?
SpeedZone EW Broadleaf Herbicide is the herbicide we advise using to treat Star of Bethlehem. This product is a selective herbicide, which means it will protect your desirable grass while only killing the invasive weed. It has demonstrated effective use against Star of Bethlehem.
Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, safety goggles, and long sleeved clothes, before mixing and spraying. For a day or two before applying, stop mowing.
Measure the area of your lawn to determine how much SpeedZone EW Broadleaf Herbicide you’ll need. To achieve this, count the square footage by measuring the length and width of the area.
The label instructs users to use 1.1 to 1.8 ounces of product per 1 gallon of water per 1,000 square feet when spot treating cool-seasoned lawns. Apply 0.75 to 1.5 oz of product per 1 gallon of water per 1,000 square feet to warm-seasoned lawns. According to your measurements and calculations, fill a hand-pump sprayer with water, add the required amount of SpeedZone EW Broadleaf Herbicide, and stir the mixture thoroughly.
Apply the mixture to the Star of Bethlehem plants once it has been combined. To obtain a beautiful, even coating on the weed, use your sprayer’s fan nozzle setting as you apply.
To increase the chemical’s absorption, mow before applying the post-emergent. To give the herbicide time to operate, mowing should be postponed for 1 to 2 days after application.
Star of Bethlehem: Is it intrusive?
Background This plant, sometimes known as the drooping star of Bethlehem, was brought into cultivation for decorative purposes. O. umbellatum, a small close relative also known as sleepydick, nap-at-noon, and common star of Bethlehem, is a native of northern Africa, western Asia, and Europe. It was also imported as an ornamental plant. It has been noted to be invasive elsewhere, including in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic.
Availability and Habitat In the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast, and mid-Atlantic, nodding star-of-Bethlehem is sporadic and has been noted to be invasive in Maryland and Pennsylvania. It may grow in full sun to partial shade and is adaptable to floodplains, fields, waste regions, and abandoned gardens. The prevalence of Sleepydick is greater, and at least 10 states, ranging from Wisconsin through Connecticut and south to Tennessee and Virginia, have reported it to be invasive.
Ecological Danger Once established, it invades the entire forest floor, displacing numerous native spring ephemeral plant species.
- Plant: A 12 to 20-inch-tall (nodding star of Bethlehem) bulbous herbaceous annual (sleepydick).
- Basal, linear, slender, and succulent leaves that are 0.3–0.6 inches wide (nodding), less than 1/4 inches broad, and have parallel veins (sleepydick).
- Flowers, fruits, and seeds: A flower is a “perianth, which consists of six tepal-like structures, which are white with a broad center green stripe on the outer or underside; flowers appear in racemes; fruits are three-angled capsules, which are broadly ovoid.
- spreads: via seeds and bulbils.
- Similar plants include other herbaceous bulbous spring-flowering plants.
Prevention and management Keep an eye out for it and remove it as soon as it is identified. The bulbs will typically be extremely deep (see Control Options).
There are numerous natural wild flower species, such as bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), and may apples, that can be used as alternatives (Podophyllum peltatum).
How can intrusive light bulbs be removed?
Go Chemical Bulbs will be killed by a ready-to-use herbicide with a glyphosate basis, along with other plants like grass. When bulbs are actively growing, use glyphosate because dormant plants cannot carry herbicides to their roots.
Does Roundup destroy bulbs?
Yes, glyphosate can destroy spring bulb bulbs if it is applied to their foliage. Herbicides work best to eradicate weeds in the fall when their sap is migrating to the roots. After flowering, when plants are often weak from using so much energy to make flowers, is the second-best time to plant.
Herbicide must be applied often, and the roots and branches of the weeds you mention must be repeatedly dug out. You can paint the herbicide onto the weeds’ growing leaves as an alternative to spraying, protecting and avoiding the neighboring perennials. To apply herbicide to the weeds, use a foam brush or a cloth glove that has been wetted with herbicide and is worn over a pair of water-resistant gloves (yes, please wear all-waterproof gloves to protect your skin).
Glyphosate only functions when the plant is actively growing and the air temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to needing to be applied to leaves, the herbicide is also absorbed in part by stems. It moves into the roots from the leaves. The plant should be left in place for a few days to two weeks while it is being killed.
Look for a product, such as a “brush killer type product,” that has the largest amount of active substance you can locate. Read and adhere to the label’s instructions.
Are the Star of Bethlehem and snowdrops the same thing?
Is there anything I can do to get rid of the star of Bethlehem weed in my garden besides dig?
Other popular names for star of Bethlehem weed (Ornithogalum umbellatum) include summer snowflake, starflower, snowdrops, and nap-at-noon. This plant, which is not indigenous to the United States, was introduced to the horticultural industry as an ornamental spring-flowering bulb. It got away and turned into a plant.
The plant itself resembles wild garlic or wild onion, but unlike other weeds, it bears a white stripe in the middle of each of its clusters of succulent leaves. The late spring, six-petaled, white flowers with a green line underneath each petal. The lack of an odor, in contrast to wild garlic and onion plants, makes it the simplest to identify. Additionally poisonous, this plant. The leaves and blossoms can cause digestive problems when taken, and the bulbs have been known to occasionally result in fatalities when eaten.
It is wise to continue digging and getting rid of the plants as they come up in the spring. The bulbs proliferate even though they go dormant after blooming, so pick them out in the spring while they are still visible to stop each old bulb from multiplying to generate its intended seven new bulbs. Numerous herbicides have not been shown to be effective, according to tests. The majority of glyphosate-containing herbicides will damage the leaves of the current season, however regrowth the following year has not been considerably diminished. 2,4-D-based broadleaf weed killers have shown to be completely ineffective. So, continue digging and don’t let them discourage you.
Is the Star of Bethlehem toxic?
Various environments, such as pastures, bottomland and upland woods, wayside vegetation, suburban lawns, and disturbed regions are where it can be found. It can be lingering at abandoned home sites or in the woods. On gravel bars and alluvial soils along several of our streams and rivers, it is starting to become very prevalent. It has dense clumps of bulbs and is an aggressive colonizer that is endemic to Eurasia.
Will vinegar harm my grass?
One of the most prevalent liquids in kitchens, vinegar seems to have unlimited applications. A fast internet search will turn up thousands of uses for vinegar. People use vinegar for almost everything, from hair care to all-purpose cleaning, from medicine to disinfection. Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals are utilizing vinegar as a non-toxic substitute for conventional herbicides in their lawns and gardens. Household vinegar, which comes from the fermentation of alcohol, is non-toxic to humans, animals, and the environment. Where organic certification criteria are followed, it is very helpful.
Vinegar as a Natural Herbicide
While vinegar has been used as a herbicide for a very long time, the scientific evidence supporting vinegar’s effectiveness as a weed-killer has just recently come to light. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service tested vinegar on some of the most prevalent weeds in 2002. They discovered that the weeds were eliminated within their first two weeks of life when vinegar was applied at average household strength concentrations (about 5 percent). Vinegar produced an 85 to 100% mortality rate at all growth stages at stronger doses (about 20%). Be cautious that solutions more than 11 percent can cause skin burns and should only be administered with proper clothes. Solutions higher than 5 percent vinegar should be handled carefully.
How to Use Vinegar as a Weed-Killer
Any form of vinegar will kill weeds, though white vinegar is typically the least expensive. Fill a spray bottle or pump sprayer with undiluted vinegar and use it freely on large weed patches. For areas like driveways, sidewalks, and other places where no vegetation is wanted, this spraying technique works well. Due to vinegar’s non-selective nature, it may harm any plant it comes into touch with, including grass and other desired plants like garden flowers. Use a paint brush to spot-spray weeds on your yard. Use an old brush to “paint the vinegar on the leaves and stems” of the weed you want to get rid of.
Other Tips for Using Vinegar
Vine works best on small, annual weeds with weak root systems, according to gardeners. It can take a few treatments to completely kill larger, perennial weeds. Apply on a sunny day with no breeze for optimal results. You will need to reapply if it rains within a day or two of your initial application. Although vinegar is an acid, it decomposes swiftly in the soil and is unlikely to have an impact on the pH values of the soil. Some gardeners think that increasing the amount of liquid dishwashing detergent in a gallon of vinegar will boost the vinegar’s ability to destroy weeds.