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Wild Onion and Wild Garlic in the Lawn

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Date: April 6, 2020
Agent: Donna Teasley

Hello, this is Donna Teasley, Horticulture Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension, Burke Center.

Here’s a question for all of you Burke County gardeners. Do you have wild onion or wild garlic growing in the lawn this time of year? How do you tell the difference. Well, there is a difference even though they look very similar and smell the same. Even though we call everything wild onion, you probably have wild garlic. Wild garlic has a little bulblet at its root just like real garlic and its stem is hollow while wild onion has a fibrous root system and a solid stem. These persistent weeds are considered to be broad leaf weeds even though their stems are long and narrow.

Good control of wild garlic and onion can be achieved but timing is very important. Anherbicide containing 2,4-D must be sprayed during March and again in October while the plants are actively growing. The chemical should be applied only when rain is not expected within 24 hours. There needs to be plenty of stem available to absorb the herbicide so the lawn should not be mowed for a few days before spraying and if possible mowing should be delayed for up to two weeks to give the plant plenty of time to absorb as much herbicide as possible.

When purchasing any chemical, be sure and read the entire label to become aware of any restrictions that might apply to your particular shrubs and trees.

This is Donna Teasley with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information about this program, you can call us at 439-4460.