Wild Onion Removal From Lawn - An Ongoing Process


We had the 'front half' of our backyard sodded when we built our house, but left the back half of the backyard completely native.  All the weeds and grass and what have you growing back there.  The bulk of my focus out back has been on the landscaping and mostly left the lawn/turf on autopilot.  I had our Automower running back there, so it kept the lawn pretty low and I don't think I really noticed the HUGE amounts of Wild Onions that were growing in the grass.   If you read my post from a few days ago, you'll know that I recently put down a pre-emergent grassy weed and crabgrass preventer.  That product does NOTHING for Wild Onions. 

Well...I suppose that I should start at the beginning of this year.  As our grass was coming back and starting to green-up, I noticed some pockets of dark green, spikey grass.  Or so I thought.  As I went outside, I started to realize that this wasn't grass.  But something else.   I didn't actually really know what this stuff was, but a quick search around the Web turned up the fact that these clumps that you see above are Wild Onion.  (Or...sometimes Wild Garlic!)

I found this Gardening Know How post that told me that this wasn't something that I was going to get done through treatments, but rather with removal.  From the post:
Killing wild onions starts with removing as much of the clump of wild onions as possible. Do not try to pull the clump of wild onions out of the ground. The small bulblets are designed to pull away from the mother plant when pulled, which leaves extra bulbs in the ground that will rapidly regrow. Instead, dig the clump out of the ground with a spade or a trowel. Throw the entire clump away. Do not try to shake excess dirt off back into the hole and do not compost. If you do, this will only respread the wild onion bulblets back into your garden.
And that's what I've started to do:  bust out the spade and start popping these clumps out.  Now our backyard looks terrible with holes EVERYWHERE.

But, I didn't stop there.  I found this other post that talks about how Wild Onions thrive in acidic soils and that by adding lime (pelletized), I can raise the pH of the soil and make it not such an onion-friendly place.  From Freeplants:
Both wild onions and wild garlic prefer to grow in acidic soils that are low in organic matter. Appl(y)ing lime and compost to the soil will increase the organic matter and change the pH to levels that are inhospitable to wild alliums.
Off I went to Home Depot to pick up a few bags of pelletized lime.  The application rate is something like 40 to 50 lbs per 1000 square feet, so it takes A LOT of this stuff to cover the yard.

Having not knowing how well this will work, I decided to buy just a couple of bags to start and focus on the areas where the Wild Onions are most prevalent.

Here (below) is a photo of some of the turned over soil that was invaded with Wild Onions.  You can see the green shoots near the bottom and the bulbs at the and of them near the middle.  If you look at the top of the photo, you'll see the tinies bulbs that are covered in roots.  *THESE* are the enemy.  They break apart and are engineered to exist.


I'm going to try to stay on top of the onion this Spring and then I'm hoping that come next Spring, I'll be in a better spot with these and having stayed on top of them will have even less in the yard next year.  A couple of seasons later, I hope I'll have removed them at a far less significant clip.

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