How can I kill the wild onions that are taking over?

ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)March 31, 2008

How can I kill the wild onions that are taking over everything? I weed ate them down to the ground last week and we had rain and they are now 4 inches tall again.


1eyedJack and the Dawg

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Make a stir fry. Seriously though, I don't know, but they are edible.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi ole_dawg,

Digging them up should work.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog: The Wicked Good Garden

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

You both must be kidding.
One: they are as strong as hell

Two: That is completely impossible. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE and the ground is hard as heck and you can not even pull them up, the stems break off.

Come guys, get real and quit kidding around.

I consider this a serious problems.

Whee, well I got that off my chest, time for another beer.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your only alternative to digging them up would be to spray them with something. I'm not sure a pre-emergence herbicide would work because onion grass is usually up all winter. Anything else might kill the grass too. Anyone else?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

I learned long ago that edible and tasty are not the same. There are alot of wild edibles I'll never eat unless it is a true survival situation! Yup, ole dawg, the wild onions are strong. Some boys around here ate some on the way to school and got sent home because they smelled so bad :)

I don't know of chemical controls..never had enough of these to get that desperate. Stay on top of hoeing off new growth and use heavy mulch. And NEVER let them get big enough to set seeds on the top.

My brothers and I took a wagon into a nearby field when we were kids and completely filled it with the seeds that grow in ball on top of the stems. We were quite proud of it. My father was horrified when we came into the yard with it and made us take it far away to dump. Guess if we hadn't, I might have more info on how to remove them :) Dad would have seen to that.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
shot(8 - GA)

Ole dog........ check this out.


Here is a link that might be useful: Killing Wild Onions in the lawn

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Boy, that sounds dire ole_dawg. I guess I assumed they were taking over your garden and digging would work there. I was also imagining somethhing like bunching onions. I guess we don't have the type you're talking about up here.

Anyway, good luck.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

I have them in the lawn (in places) and ocassionally I find them in my garden beds. I dig those out and carefully remove the little bulblets. Crush them, trash them, stomp em, I don't care...just KILLEM! That works if you don't have a lot.

In the lawn...well...they might require some chems.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Never dealt with wild onions, just onions I planted and then moved the garden and they kept growing right through the lawn.

Does that make them 'wild'?

It took me all year to get rid of them and I wouldn't be surprised if a few made it back this year. What I did was use a hori hori knife. It's a really veratile garden tool that I use for planting seeds, cutting twine, weeding, harvesting you name it. I just shoved the blade down into the ground along the stem and removed the greenery as deeply as I could and repeated throughout the season. If they regrew and I just didn't feel like going over the area again I weed whacked them down. Anything to prevent them from getting energy from photosynthesis.

Took time, but it worked. If that sounds like too much work then paint them with RoundUp (or just spray them if you don't mind the stuff around them dying as well). Haven't tried that, but seems like it should work.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's a tough one. You're probably looking at an herbicide treatment (probably multiple) and you'll either be swabbing plants by hand with a mop-like apparatus that doesn't drip or killing entire sections of your ground's plants/grass/etc.

There's no easy indiscriminate application I know of to deal with wild bulbs and they're actually a bit harder to kill than the surrounding grass/plants.

There might be something out there, though I've not heard of it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 4:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anney(Georgia 8)


I've seen "Weed B Gone" and "Image", both herbicides, recommended. It's recommended that you mow the area before treating, probably to open up the stems, and you may have to treat them more than once. Now (March in South Carolina) is the time to do it.

Do a Google search on "wild onion herbicide" and see if you can find some others that will do the trick. Sounds like it'll take patience though, no matter what you do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Garlic/Onion, Clemson University

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

Thanks Guys and Girls,
I don't mind killing the grass as I planned to do that anyway. This is the area where I keep my containers and plan to put my raised.
Yesterday I weedate them to the ground. It is raining today so I can not do anything, but I will try roundup and kill the grass as well then I am going to burn the dead grass.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

Apparently a BUNCH of folks have struggled with wild onions growing rampant.. Check out the battles to eliminate them in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Getting Rid of Wild Onions

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

RU won't work very well. i have a patch of wild onions in my dog pen right now. they are about 18" high and growing strong. the dog uses it to pee on everyday. i soaked them with a strong dose of RU 3 weeks back, not a single one died! i just mow them down and leave them alone out in the yard, in the pen i don't even mow them since the dog seems to like to pee on em.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 6:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

I can assure you that ANY DOG THAT CAN PISS on 18 INCH ANYTHING has my complete and total respect. I once had a very large German Shepard and EVEN HE COULD NOT PISS 18 inches high. I once played a little too hard with him and ended with have stiches INSIDE MY MOUTH where he shoved a foot. My fault, not his, but it still hurt like hell. I miss him still. His last day on earth he still went out and brought in the paper even though he fell down half a dozen times in 30 feet. My vet was a hunting buddy and he came to my house and put him down. What a dog!

1eyedJack and the DAwg

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I honestly have to say I've eaten them in a stir fry with mushrooms and ground beef and they were quite good. Eating them raw isn't exactly the best way to take smaple their flavor. I think most people wouldn't toss a raw onion into their mouth. But yes, I was mostly joking. I hope you figure it out.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Actually, I understand there is a way to do get rid of most of them. The answer is ... pigs. Pigs are Ma Nature's rototillers. Pigs like wild onions.

Fence an area you want cleaned out. Add pigs (young ones seem to work fine, that's what a guy here did). The pigs will root through the whole area and dig up and eat the wild onions, underground runners of wild grasses, everything.

Keep other 'contaminated' areas mowed while the pigs are working on other spots. Then move your fencing to the next area, and plant a cover crop (or whatever) where you moved the pigs out of.

Mow. Fence. Add pigs. Plant cover crop. Repeat.

Of course, you will want to keep a sharp eye out for stray plants for the next few years, and make a point of digging them out before they go to seed.

Of course, if you live in town on a small lot, or in one of those awful places that has Homeowner Associations, you're simply out of luck, I guess.

Please be very careful about using RoundUp. RoundUp itself is only "relatively" toxic (whatever THAT means), but the "carrier" that it is mixed with are even worse.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 3:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My yard has fallen victim to either wild garlic or wild onion. I am not sure which is which but I will tell you that whatever they are....I hate them. I will not eat them and I can't stand to smell my hands after digging them up all day. I have tried everything short of blasting them with a hand grenade. Anyway, after some tedious research around the web I realized that I am not alone. I did however find 2 sites that may offer some assistance to those in the same shoes as I am. Might help. and


Here is a link that might be useful: Kill Wild Onions, Wild Garlic, and Wild Leeks

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kate6(z7 bhm)

My in-laws have been after those in their lawn for years. Nasty sprays and everything. I don't have a proble, though, because I've got a shovel and just fill the holes with sand or soil- whatever is handy. Its really easier in the long run and much more thorough (not to mention safer, cheap, and responsible).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 12:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

i did not mean he pisses on the TOP of the 18 inch WO. i meant he goes on them. heck, he marks every tree inthe yard the same way!

i have been bringing him to work lately due to the excessive rain we bit getting. yesterday at lunch i was here by myself and we were waiting up fron tfor my wife to bring me lunch. 4 police officers came by to get the new undercover truck we had just finished up. they grabbed the door to open it and he went in defense mode. i swear i ain't never seen 4 BIG guys move so fast in my life! i could not even put him up for a minute, i was laughing so hard.

my mom has a dog that could pee on top of them though. he was actually mine when i lived with her and i had to leave him there since the apartment did not allow big dogs. he stands waist high to the top of his shoulders and weighs in at a hefty 165 lbs! part lab and part Akita and HUGE. one thing about it, no one comes in her yard without permission!

and when jehovah's witnesses make their rounds we hold him by his collar as we open the door. funny, they never ask to come in or even continue speaking to us. they just turn around, say have a nice day, and leave.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My lawn guy says that wild onions in your yard is a sure sign that you need to lime. After liming for two years, they are all about gone. I'm sure the little white nasties are lying dormant, just waiting for me to slip up.

I still find them in the garden. I judiciously dig up the bulbs and toss them into my walkways where they dry up.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zengeos(5 Maine)

If you are planning on a raised bed where the wild onions are, why not just sheet mulch or do the bed in lasagna fashion? The onions won't grow through the barrier of newspapers, and will eventually die or go dormant. Meanwhile you will be happily planting/growing overtop them.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kate6(z7 bhm)

I agree with zengeos. It'd be really fruitless to spray round up when you want to have another raised bed with living plants, so just smother them lasagna style. or dig. it really does work and then they are really gone!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 12:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anney(Georgia 8)

A dandelion digger used when the soil is very wet is probably the best way to remove single wild onions that pop up.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

Just four days after I weed whacked them down to the ground lever they are 4 or 5 inches high. It has been raining for days.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I mow over them in the lawn and ignore them in the garden. They don't use many nutrients and they go dormant in hot weather. They have never affected lawn or garden other than visual appeal.
A few snippings will add flavor to an omelette just like young dandelion greens will add to a salad. It's easier to learn to appreciate them than try to eliminate them.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

My experience with wild onions and lasagna gardening is that it is best to start the bed when the onions are actively growing. I allow them to grow to their natural height then flatten them under paper or cardboard and mulch.

I have found the onions grow right up through paper and mulch if the beds are created while the onions are dormant.

In the lawn...I give up....


    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just dug some of these up & added them to a fresh herb pasta salad. They are strong,but jsut using a few is tasty!

As for killing them ... down in the deep south, they grow right through layers of paper & 15-yr anti-weed fabric topped with a good mulch! I've just learned to appreciate their beauty & the fact that they are edible.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maupin(z6 So. IL)

Raise your Ph. Wild onions and garlic are indicia of acid soil.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 6:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had tried everything that said it killed wild onion... no such luck... And this year.. they were coming up everywhere!
In some obscure forum somewhere I came across the comment that "my yard man said that if I had wild onions I needed to add lime to my yard." I did some more googling on wild onions and lime and found several more similar comments. So.. what the heck... I'd give it a try.

I bought fast acting pelletized lime at Lowe's and applied it at the rate of two bags per 5000 sq ft.

Amazing... Two months later and the wild onions are GONE!

It does seem to be true... wild onions like a more acid soil... and my grass likes a more neutral soil. Adding the lime got rid of the wild onions fast... and my yard is a bit greener and lusher from the lime too.

If you have wild onions... give the lime a try. Sure worked for me!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have three small beds for my garden and flowers, and was wonder about the lime, like everyone else I've tried every brand of weed killer that says they kill wild onions, and they all lied, including the barrier mat, the little beggars shot straight through, no way to pull the bulb through the barrier.

If there's a possibility lime can rid my gardens of wild onions, great!

My problem with lime was that I always thought that was one of the ways you added acid to the garden, guess I was wrong, I never had to. Can someone explain?

I have planted catnip every year for my cats, last year the bed was full of wild onions. If I pulled onions I also pulled catnip plants. The cats would not touch the catnip, and the wild onions were the only thing that was different, and this year, It has defied everything I've tried. I thought I had got rid of them and planted the catnip seeds, only to have the wild onions sprout back stronger, the seed is still about a week away from growth, I'm wondering if I can try spraying again? I read a article earlier that was suppose to be a pro Gardener talking, that said Otho extra, weed be gone, for crab grass, he says it will cut the waxy surface of the wild onion leaf and kill the bulbs

Does lime have to be mixed into the soil or is it absorbed by watering?

For those that say wild onions don't hurt the rest of the plants, they do absorb water needed for growing plants. This year our water levels are already low, if it comes down to a watering ban, it could be a major difference to your plants.

Thanks ahead of time!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lime is alkaline - high pH. Acid is low.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 7:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi everyone, I have a product that can be sprayed on a lawn and will kill all onion weed (and no harm to the grass) in one, maximum two applications (if infestation is very extensive).

I am in the process of commercialization - to be a specialized service where a contractor would come and spray for you or to sell for people to home spray.

As such I was going to ask the forum what they thought about pricing for this service/product and if there would be a demand for this.

Thank you for your help.

Regards, David

    Bookmark   December 9, 2014 at 10:33PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
what varieties of watermelons are you growing?
what varieties of watermelons are you growing?
What's Growing On Inside This Winter
Been getting all my vegetables started for my spring/summer...
Problem Peas - germination
Can anyone advise me on the best way of getting peas...
Steve Kind
Walnut mulch for raised vegetable garden pathways
Just had a walnut stump ground down. Is it safe to...
Artichoke Failure, HELP!!!
I am in zone 7a, middle TN, and attempting to grow...
Sponsored Products
Jessica McClintock Bronze Grand Salon Wall Sconce
Lamps Plus
Bentley Drum Chandelier by Fredrick Ramond
$659.00 | Lumens
TRIBECCA HOME Canterbury Louis Phillip White Queen-size Sleigh Bed
Wobbly Petals Tray
$47.99 | Dot & Bo
Knoll | Suzanne Settee
Singapore One-Light Outdoor Wall Sconce in Dark Bronze Patina Finish
$441.00 | Bellacor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™