If you are like most homeowners, your garden is filled with beautiful flowers and plants. You take great pride in the beauty of your yard. Unfortunately, the appearance of a single weed can ruin all of that hard work.
Wild garlic is a weed that can be recognized by its fragrant smell and taste, though if you have it on your property then you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Wild garlic can spread quickly through your lawn and garden if you do not take care of it in the early stages. In this article we will cover how to identify wild garlic and give some tips on removing the plant from your lawn and garden area.
What Exactly Is Wild Garlic?
Wild garlic, or Allium Ursinum, is also known as Ramsons, Wild Cowleek, Wood Garlic, and Bear’s Garlic according to Wikipedia. It is a perennial flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia, although it has been naturalized in many different countries all around the globe, including the United States.
Where and How Does Wild Garlic Grow?
Wild Garlic often grows in clumps, similar to other types of wildflowers. It is native to the more temperate regions of Europe, and is especially prevalent on the British Isles, where it is found in bloom from April to June. It reproduces primarily by seed spread.
It is often found in deciduous woodlands, and prefers areas with wet soil and mild acidity. The bulbs are often found growing near the base of other plants such as lily or grape hyacinths. The bulbs can be as big as an inch across and grow up to ¼ inch deep into the soil where they store their food supply for next year’s new plant growth.
How To Identify Wild Garlic
The first step to getting rid of wild garlic is identifying what it is exactly. Firstly, it smells like garlic or onion, so be sure to use your nose when searching for it!
When looking for the plant, you will first most likely see the small white flowers that bloom on the top of the weed. The flowers are star-shaped and very small, but they grow in clusters and can look like the top of a dandelion. They have six petals each.
Wild garlic also has long narrow leaves that are dark green and can grow up to 8 inches in length.
Can you Eat Wild Garlic?
Although considered a weed by many people because it spreads quickly and can lead to other plants failing, wild garlic is certainly edible, and it also has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. In fact, the Romans believed that drinking from an infused cup made from wild garlic would prevent intoxication!
Today, wild garlic has many uses in cooking. The leaves are the most popular part of the plant to eat. They can be used in a salad, as an herb, in soups, and can be used to make pesto or garlic butter.
However, wild garlic also bears a resemblance to multiple poisonous plants, such as Lily of the Valley, so it is best to not try and eat it unless you are absolutely positive it is not harmful.
How to Kill Wild Garlic In Your Yard
Wild garlic can be a nuisance in your yard, so it’s important to know how to get rid of it. There are two main methods for getting rid of wild garlic – chemical or organic means. Chemical means include using herbicides and pesticides that kill the plant without harming other plants around it. Organic ways involve pulling up the bulbs by hand and then applying mulch over areas where you have pulled up all the weeds from under their roots. These steps should help prevent future growth of this invasive plant!
There are a variety of weed killing herbicides to use on wild garlic. There are contact pesticides that will kill foliage but won’t do any damage to the bulbs. Instead, use a systemic weedkiller that attacks the leaves and then the bulbs, which is absorbed by them and carried down to the roots.
You can use weed killers that have 2,4-D as an active ingredient, such as Southern Ag Crossbow Herbicide, or Glyphosate, like in this Compare-N-Save Herbicide. Both of these products are effective at killing wild garlic, but also might harm other plants they come into contact with. To get the most out of them, follow all usage instructions on the label of the product you select, and make sure to always use safety equipment when handling dangerous chemicals.
For those who don’t want to use chemicals, there are organic ways to get rid of wild garlic. The first such way, and one you should consider before anything else, is pulling it up by hand.
Pull up all of the wild garlic bulbs out of the ground before they have a chance to sprout. Once the plant has begun to grow, it becomes more difficult to remove. You may want to use a digging fork or even an entire hoe if you are removing large clumps of wild garlic, as the bulbs are difficult to completely remove, and if you leave even a partial bulb submerged in the soil it could re-sprout.
This is a time-consuming process that will only work if it is done slowly and thoroughly, and it may even include sieving the dirt to ensure no bulbs remain underground.
Another approach to prevent the bulbs getting established is to till or aerate the soil during dry winter months like November or January, when the bulbs are growing and most vulnerable to damage. This will hopefully result in the weed fading or preventing blooming and bulbil formation. However, avoid digging from August to early October, because this will just spread small bulbils all around your lawn and make it much harder to rid yourself of them.
How to Prevent Wild Garlic From Growing
The most important thing you can do to prevent this pesky weed from growing in your yard is prevention.
Hoeing in the winter and early spring can keep new bulbs from growing, allowing you to eliminate it. Nothing sprayed above ground level can penetrate the soil and control the weed, as the bulbs of wild garlic may be dormant in the soil for up to six years. Because of this, it might take three to four years to entirely eliminate wild garlic using a combination of techniques, including hoeing, especially in garden beds.
There’s nothing like the smell of garlic cooking in your kitchen, but if you have an unwelcome infestation of wild garlic in your yard or garden, it can be a real pain. It’s an invader that spreads quickly and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible for the sake of your yard or garden.
Luckily there are plenty of ways to prevent wild garlic from growing on your property while also learning how best to identify these plants so that you know when they’re present before too much damage is done!