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Beginner Gardening Questions: getting rid of wild onions

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 24, Views: 168
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dec29girl
Big Stone Gap, VA

February 11, 2008
7:52 PM

Post #4524755

Does anyone have a solution for getting rid of wild onions in the yard and garden?
The more I dig, the more they multiply...I was hoping early Spring would present an alternative solution.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 11, 2008
7:55 PM

Post #4524763

Oh, boy, can I use an answer to this one, too.

Karen
growgirl59
Saint Louis, MO

February 11, 2008
9:51 PM

Post #4525125

Ditto.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

February 11, 2008
10:21 PM

Post #4525226

I tend to have lots of wild onions too, along with a wide variety of other unwanted weeds. Can't tell you how to get them out of your garden but I start mowing my lawn early in the year (just finished first mowing today). It stresses all the weeds that pop up early and prevents them from being able to go to seed. I will mow once a week from now till end of summer. The wild onions are down to almost nothing now (3rd year of early mowing). Seems like a lot of extra work but is my choice versus spraying with chemicals since I have two grandkids and several dogs and cats. Once my bermuda kicks in it almost completely chokes out the weeds. I don't get them in my garden. I think it may be because I plant a fall cover crop (wheat or rye grass) to be disked in late in the winter. After the first time disking we will disk about every two weeks until I plant. This goes a long way in keeping weeds out.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 12, 2008
2:41 AM

Post #4526464

My wild onions come up all over in the flower beds. They come in from the neighboring fields. I've tried digging them out, but more just seem to pop up.

Karen
growgirl59
Saint Louis, MO

February 12, 2008
4:22 AM

Post #4526958

What most of us call wild onion is actually wild garlic. I don't know if it makes much of a difference. If I remember right, the important thing is to keep the onions/garlic cut back as much as possible so that it can't make food for storage in the underground bulb. This takes years as mentioned above. I guess any method (mowing, chemical treatment) that keeps them from growing tall will eventually take a toll on the health of the plant. Several years ago I set out to remove them. I spent hours and hours hand digging them only to have them come back stronger and more plentiful the next year. What a disappointment! I will make a point of finding someone who has had success in eradicating them and get back with you. I'm determined to banish these from my yard.
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

February 12, 2008
11:39 AM

Post #4527420

I wonder if y'all could use a product like Preen? It sounds like you have seeds blowing in from neighboring areas and Preen is a pre-emergent type treatment that keeps seeds from being able to germinate. The problem, of course, is, if you are trying to grow any flowers from seed, they won't germinate either. I'm afraid to use such a product in my flowerbeds because I use cedar mulch and all my cats think it's all one big cat box! I'm afraid it would make them sick if they walk in it and then given themselves a cat bath. For those who don't have cats, it might be worth a try. Wal Mart has it.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 12, 2008
3:27 PM

Post #4528057

NatureLover1950,

Well, if they would just cooperate and put themselves in a nice patch . . . but they come up one here and one 25 feet away. Sheesh! However, the Preen suggestion is a good one as that may be something I can use on the patch of Johnson Grass I would like to keep from spreading all over. Thanks for the info. I'll check WalMart tomorrow for it.

Karen


ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 12, 2008
3:31 PM

Post #4528067

If they're spreading by seeds then something like that might work--but if there are already little bulbs in the soil I don't think the pre-emergents help with that situation. Similar thing for the grass--if it's spreading by seeds then the pre-emergent will work, but if it's spreading by runners then it won't do anything.

If you want a safer more organic alternative, corn gluten is an organic pre-emergent which does the same thing as the Preen.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 12, 2008
4:13 PM

Post #4528248

ecrane3,

Well, there are little bulbs in the soil all right, but they spread by seed. I suspect I'm stuck with the darn things. I can't keep an eye on them all over 1.8 acres to keep them from seeding nor can I keep them from seeding in from the neighbor's 5 acres.

The Johnson Grass also spreads by seed, not runners. My grandson is going to come out Sunday and weed-eat the grass down -- it's four feet tall from last summer. I would really like to put something on it then that would just get rid of it altogether. Digging it out would take DAYS or even weeks -- so that's not an option. I've had several suggestions -- one being to plant a type of vetch that is native to TX that will crowd it out. Can't think of the name right now -- this happens you get old like me. LOL. I looked it up on PF. At least it has pretty flowers which would possibly be an acceptable substitute for the grass.

Karen



doccat5
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7b)

February 12, 2008
4:17 PM

Post #4528263

Would that be hairy vetch, by chance? If so, be careful because it can be almost as bad as the weeds. Deep, deep root system. That's one you mow and keep mowing. Great nitrogen fixer. Or you could try white or red clover as well, great cover crops and excellent nitrogen fixers. They draw the bees, butterflies and hummers in.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2008
1:17 AM

Post #4530639

doccat5,

Yes, that's the one -- you told me about it. If I goof and don't get it mowed properly, I figure it still has GOT to be better than that four-foot tall, ugly Johnson Grass. At least it has a pretty bloom. I've got some red clover I'm going to throw out there, too.

Karen

doccat5
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2008
11:29 AM

Post #4532283

Well, agree with that one. It will certainly improve your ground. If you decide to plant anything in it though. Mow it short and either plant directly into it, or use the lasanga method over a section and plant directly into that. You'll get excellent crops/flowers. Vetch is a heavy nitrogen fixer.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 14, 2008
1:26 AM

Post #4535290

doccat5

My hairy vetch seeds are in the mail. The place I'm putting it is over 200 feet from the houses, so I doubt it will be up in my garden if I don't get it mowed in time. However, if it does it is still a pretty flower and apparently blooms for a long time. I'm not a tidy gardener. If it blooms, it stays. If it doesn't, it's a weed and goes. Last year we had coffee weed come up all over. My daughter was grumpy about it, but I thought it was pretty. So, before she chopped them out, I got lots of seeds. I'm going to plant them on the hillside that I am trying to naturalize.

On the other hand, there's still the problem of the annoying wild onions, which may be wild garlic. I don't know how to tell. Are they edible? Maybe that would be the best revenge.

Karen
doccat5
Fredericksburg, VA
(Zone 7b)

February 14, 2008
10:18 AM

Post #4536308

They are edible and are good in salads. We have a bumper crop also. I just ignore em and go on. LOL
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 14, 2008
3:07 PM

Post #4536944

doccat5,

Eating them or ignoring them seems to be the best solution. They are too far apart and too difficult to dig out. On our property and on the property next door, I can see them out there. They are the little green sprigs among all the brown grass. Apparently, they don't even die down in the winter.

Karen
JulieQ
Bella Vista, AR
(Zone 6b)

February 14, 2008
4:50 PM

Post #4537434

Unfortunately they do best in the winter and early spring. They stick out like a sore thumb with their long green leaves amongst the dormant grass. They are the reason we have to cut grass before we have grass to cut. lol
I have tried digging and it does help "a little", but it is excruciatingly slow and hard work for the results you get...
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

February 16, 2008
1:02 AM

Post #4544070

I am on overload with the wild Garlic here in UK too, you wont get rid of IT all, but it does spread by seed, I have used one of those weed burners (flame throwers) and had some success, but to be honest, the best way to go is, as you dig your borders/beds etc, dig out the bulbs and burn them, they are not deep rooted and they dont have a large root system either, or of I cant get to them in time, whenever I see a flower head, I just snap it off and get rid of the heads, dont know about USA, but there are a lot of top restaurants screaming out for this wild garlic plant, as far as I know, they dont use the bulbs, just the foliage, the other thing to try, is crush the foliage and hand paint the plant with weed killer, doing it with paint brush means you dont spray the killer onto neighbouring plants. Good luck. WeeNel.
dec29girl
Big Stone Gap, VA

February 20, 2008
3:23 PM

Post #4564173

Thanks to all of you who replied who seem to be having a similar challenge with these pesky things...they are sorta like mosquitoes, I have wondered why they enjoy a spot on planet Earth ...it is still snowing here in SW Virginia and we have mowed the yard and kitchen vegetable garden spot twice already ...I will let you know how successful we are with this process as we prepare for the Spring thaw...mowing again on Monday...
Len123
Adrian, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 1, 2008
4:37 AM

Post #4607517

I have the wild garlic. they get little white flowers. i think they are just beautiful. They are the first thing to get that bluegrass-looking green, grass look. they spread also. I wouldn't even think of killing them. I wish that my grass would get that nice green color.
I don't know why they are so despised.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 1, 2008
4:57 AM

Post #4607577

Len123,

I must have the wild onions then. I've yet to see any flowers on them, but I assume they must seed somehow in order to spread like they do. My philosophy is that if it has a pretty flower it stays, if not it doesn't. I even like the wild thistle that grows here. It looks like an alien from a sci-fi movie. LOL.

Karen

Len123
Adrian, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 1, 2008
6:02 AM

Post #4607695

LOL karen, the wild garlic stays small, maybe 5-6 inches. i think the onions grow taller and go to seed.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 1, 2008
4:03 PM

Post #4608597

Yep, sounds as if it might be wild onions here. They do get to about 10-12", and although I've never seen them flower or seed they must be doing so in order to be all over the place. Many years ago when my grandma lived down near Mountain View, MO, her cows loved to eat the wild onions and wild garlic. Garlic or onion flavored milk, anyone? Oh, yeah, but the worst was when they ate the dog fennel. That makes the milk taste like quinine!

Karen
Len123
Adrian, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 2, 2008
7:46 PM

Post #4613188

I remember that. My grandparents had a dairy farm in Morrisville, Mo about 35 miles north of springfield, wild onions are not good in milk. Of course my grandma didn't drink milk but made us kids, yuck.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 2, 2008
9:01 PM

Post #4613409

Len123,

Yep, we had to drink it, too. My mom said it was perfectly good milk. Sure learned to drink it down fast. The worst, though, was the dog fennel -- bitter! -- after that, the garlic and onion milk wasn't half bad.

Karen



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