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Wild Onions / Wild Garlic


Wild onion and wild garlic are cool-season perennial broadleaf weeds. Both have slender, smooth leaves that produce a strong odor. Wild garlic has hollow stems, while wild onions are not hollow and tend to be more flat.

Both emerge early in the spring, growing faster than the turf (image 1). They grow in little clumps, (image 2) and soon begin to flower (image 3). Below the ground, both form bulbs (image 4) with garlic having a membranous papery coating and onion having a fibrous reticulate coating. They not only show up in the yard, they can also be found in the landscape.

Seeds germinate in the fall and small plants overwinter, reshooting in the early spring. Bulblets that are produced at the tips fall to the ground and sprout right away.

Star-of-Bethlehem (image 5) looks very similar but has a whitish stripe down the stem and the blossoms can have a green stripe. The stems of this do not have a strong odor. Controls that work on wild garlic and onion work for this as well.

It’s tempting to try hand pulling as a control but this often makes them spread more rather than reduce the population.

Since they emerge early in the spring when it is cool to cold, ferti•lome® Weed Free Zone is the best choice for control in the yard. You can add a little Hi-Yield® Spreader Sticker to the mix to help it stick to the very waxy stems, however, as temps rise into the upper 70’s, skip the Hi-Yield® Spreader Sticker as it can lead to burning.

As temperatures get warmer, ferti•lome® Weed-Out with Crabgrass Killer is a great choice for the yard. This method of control needs Hi-Yield® Spreader Sticker added, again due to the waxy stems.

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