Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wild Garlic War

(Allium vineale)

The Wild Garlic War has gone on for years. Every spring I prowl the garden like a maniacal secret agent. With my weeder in hand, I’m ready to pounce on any wild garlic covertly hidden in the lilac roots or brazenly positioned in the middle of the lawn.

Wild garlic is a clever, sneaky and sinister plant. In the plot to procreate, it produces bulblets attached to the main bulb. These tiny bulblets (near the tip of the weeder in photo - click to enlarge) slide off when you pull the plant. They stay in the soil. Each one will grow another plant. Getting the entire plant is a thrill better than … well never mind.

Wild garlic will also flower and produce seeds. I am proud to say I have never let one flower in my garden.

Spring, when the soil is soft, is the only time it’s possible to pull them out. Once the ground gets a little dry and hard the stubborn bulbs will hold tight to the soil. Often the main plant will break off at soil level.

I can’t say I’m winning the war. But, I have managed to keep the population under control.

So, I’m off again today to stalk the evil plant. I wonder if I need a disguise?

(Information on wild garlic and other weeds in Penn State's College of Agriculture Publication, "Weed Management in Turf Grass.")



Susan said...

I did the same thing today, but had to stop after they irritated my eyes so much that tears were streaming down my face.

I can't think of any way to stop this except for protective goggles. My neighbors must have thought I was crazy with all the crying, I can't imagine what they would think of me weeding with goggles.

Marie said...


Oh, no. I have never had this awful weed irritate my eyes.

Maybe you can use the goggles as your disguise?

Kathy said...

I love that feeling of getting the entire bulb out of the earth! So satisfying... yes, it is.

Marie said...


Only a gardener would appreciate our comments about pulling weeds. LOL