I have onion grass all over my front lawn. What can I do to get rid of it?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Patty: Wild onion (Allium canadense) is a bulbous perennial that can be quite a prolific spreader. These winter perennials emerge in the late fall and grow all throughout the colder months. They flower and set seed only to create more plants. Alliums also spread by producing underground bulblets. The only organic way to remove them from your lawn is to dig them out. Just hand pulling them will leave the bulbs in the soil, ready to sprout again. Digging may or may not be an option, depending on the space you are dealing with. Be certain not to compost these plants. The only other way to eradicate your lawn is to spot spray with any herbicide that is labeled for broadleaf weed control. Effective herbicides include 2,4-D and glyphosate. A liquid application will be a much more effective method than a granular one. Now is the best time of the year to take action. Ideally we want to kill them before they are able to flower and produce seed. It can take several years to have a lawn that is completely free of wild onions because the seed can live in the soil for this long before germinating. On the next rain-free day, mow your grass to scratch up the waxy foliage and then spot spray, soaking the leaves. Because of this waxy coating it can prevent the herbicide from being absorbed, so mowing helps to get beyond that wax layer. Be careful not to spray the surrounding grass or it will also be killed. If you want to be really careful, you can use a paintbrush to apply the herbicide. As with any chemical, always read the instructions and apply according to directions. Be prepared to make more than one application. This is not an easy weed to get rid of.