Controlling Wild Onion or Wild Garlic in Lawns – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Controlling Wild Onion or Wild Garlic in Lawns

Wild onion and wild garlic emerging in the southern two-thirds of Indiana and these are difficult-to-control weeds. These weeds look very similar to the garden variety onion except the stems of the wild type are much thinner and do not grow as tall as the garden variety. The most effective method for controlling onion and garlic is to create a dense turf through proper fertilization and regular mowing, thereby making these weeds less noticeable and less problematic. Wild onion and garlic die back to underground bulbs during early summer, but bulbs will germinate during the fall and winter. Selective chemical control is difficult and normally ineffective, so co-existing with these plants is often the best choice. One method is to apply 2,4-D immediately after mowing so the herbicide can enter through the cut leaves. This will usually burn back the leaves but may not kill the underground bulb, thus multiple years of applications will be needed.

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