The smell of garlic and onion sizzling in the kitchen is irresistible and brings a smile to everyone’s face. Wild garlic and wild onions in the garden? Not so much.
In fact, where you find wild onions and wild garlic in a garden, you are likely to find a frustrated gardener. Wild onion and wild garlic are both considered “winter” weeds and their bulbous roots and grassy tops make them a pesky plant to get rid of. These weeds emerge in the late fall and persist all through the winter only to then die when the weather warms up in early spring. Make no mistake, these are not the onion and garlic you want to top your next pizza with.
Both of these green grassy weeds grow in clumps and near “hard-to-mow” areas of the garden. They are often confused for one another as they are very similar in appearance. Both wild onions and wild garlic have thin, waxy green leaves. Wild onion leaves are flat and solid, while wild garlic leaves are round and hollow. Wild garlic leaves branch off the mainstem and wild onion leaves emerge from the base.
Aside from their appearance, wild onion and wild garlic have a signature fragrance that linger in the garden when they’ve been cut. After cutting either of the two weeds, a strong odor is released and it can linger for hours.
Spreading quickly, these weeds enter into your garden and can be difficult to remove. Although you may be able to pull or trim the leaves, the bulb remains in the ground and continues to grow and spread. These bulbs eventually create more bulbs which is what causes the plants to grow in clusters.
One must be careful when pulling these plants. They are designed to break away from the mother plant and then the small bulblets continue to spread and grow rapidly. Because of this trait, wild onions and wild garlic can quickly infest a garden or lawn and can be very difficult to remove.
When gardening, if you do come across wild garlic or wild onions, it is important to dig up the full clump of bulbs. Do not shake off any excess dirt or compost this clump. This will just spread the bulbs back into your yard. An infestation can remain in the soil of the yard for years and continue growing in the garden. You should throw any clusters of bulbs directly into the trash.
While pulling the plants might actually encourage more spread and growth, there are other options to consider to get a handle on an infestation. Just as counterproductive as weeding, attempting to mulch over the issue does not discourage growth from the wild garlic and wild onion plants. Additionally, both plants have waxy leaves which make it difficult to be penetrated by herbicides. Be careful with using any herbicides in your garden as they can be very harmful to children and pets playing in the yard. Make sure to call a professional before putting anything poisonous in your garden.
Careful attempts at weeding can be a lot of work but can help reduce the spreading of wild garlic and wild onion. Keeping the plants trimmed can also help prevent the spreading of seeds throughout the lawn or garden.
Although the threat that wild garlic and wild onion pose to home gardeners is primarily offensive to the garden’s look and smell, it can be a pesky weed to get rid of. Many of the attempts one can make to remove it from their garden can actually cause it to spread more. When dealing with any chemical approaches, it is important to be careful because it can be harmful to children, pets, and other plants. This is where Houseman Services can help. Call in the experts to solve your infestation in a safe and effective way.