Wild garlic

Allium vineale 3/4 by snappybex

Another weed that we have in North America that came from Europe did not seem to come here because early settlers brought it as food, but rather because the ships they came in brought soil as ballast and this weed stowed away in the soil. This is wild or field garlic, a cool season perennial that prefers drier areas. It grows in small grass-like clumps from late fall through early spring and is a nuisance in lawns, pastures and gardens. Wild garlic has an oniony smell. It can reproduce by seed, aerial bulblets, and underground bulbs. Wild garlic does not have a spreading root system and thus does not spread rapidly throughout fields. Dig up a clump of wild garlic foliage and you will find an assortment of bulbs and shallow roots.

Kill wild garlic plants throughout fall, winter and early spring before plants can generate the next generation of bulbs in March. Because TheGardenLady prefers to get rid of weeds without chemicals whenever possible, the suggestion is to dig out the clump of garlic. BUT be sure to get rid of all the bulbs in the clump. Persistent management by digging clumps for at least 3 or 4 years (maybe as many as 6 years) is necessary to obtain complete control of wild garlic.

TheGardenLady has used the leaves of this wild or field garlic as chives. (see here) But be forewarned, if you are not sure of the wild plant, do not eat it. There are poisonous wild plants that can look like wild garlic.

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