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Wild onions taking over!

Posted by bibbus 7b (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 5, 14 at 17:49

So despite the terribly cold winter in East TN I have noticed that my flower beds are full of wild onions. I've had some problems with them before but nothing like this. Any ideas on eradication and prevention? I know there are a lot in my yard but I assumed that mowing would prevent them from being an issues. I have one patch that looks like its about a foot by two feet of clumps of wild onions. I mulch with pine bark nuggets but obviously something went wrong.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Wild onions taking over!

They're growing from bulbs underground, so I'd think you'd have to dig them out. Neither mulch nor mowing nor cold will get rid of them. Maybe someone else will have another idea, but I think you'll have to dig. I'll be digging quack grass soon, in solidarity with you.

RE: Wild onions taking over!

Wild onions, and garlic, seem to prefer soils that are less then good, lacking adequate levels of organic matter, a low soil pH, sandy, in my experience. When I have had them growing and took steps to correct the soil conditions thye eventually disappeared.

RE: Wild onions taking over!

This bed is well enriched. I realized as I watched my neighbor cut his grass that his mower is spewing weed seeds into my flower bed that runs the length of our yards. I have asked many times that he not do that but his mower is very powerful and I saw lots of clippings on my mulch... Tried to get up as much as I can but its not possible to get it all.

Any idea on getting the onions out that are growing through another plant. I have noticed several that are inside the crown of bushes and plants. It wouldn't be possible to dig them out. Is it better to leave them or to pull them out?

RE: Wild onions taking over!

Wild onions/garlic will establish themselves most anywhere. In loose cultivated and nutrient rich soil they can get rather huge compared to the kinds you see in the common lawn...bigger than the green onions with bulbs you see at the grocery store.

Wild onion is present pretty much everywhere in large dispersal areas...from Florida to Alaska and all points in between (but not Hawaii). Wild garlic is found pretty much everywhere but not as much in the arid areas in the US.

The problem isn't soil stewardship as much as it is anyone who has an un-mowed or wild strip of land with flowering onions on them...especially if a bird has pecked them up after dispersal from the plant and pooped them onto your land. Unless your neighbor goes a very long time between mowings that let wild onion/garlic flower and set seed (this takes quite a long time) then your problem is probably coming from further away than him and your issue is probably birds/animals.

As far as's a pain. You really do need to get down in there and remove as much of the bulb as possible manually by digging them out. There's some that will suggest natural herbicides or other types of treatments, but we're talking about some really tough bulbs here.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 6:45

RE: Wild onions taking over!

There's a thread over on the vegetable gardening forum with lots of posts about this, and some links. Apparently even round up doesn't work on them.

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