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Oxalis Nightmare in Backyard

18 years ago

I like efficiency and from what I've read so far it seems that pulling Oxalis is not efficient because it just grows back! A good portion of my backyard is covered in wood chips but the Oxalis still grew through it! My question is has anyone tried sheet mulching with Oxalis? Does it prevent Oxalis from growing back next year? Why is my backyard infested with Oxalis and both my neighbors backyards are unaffected? Are there any "safe" herbicides that can effectively get to the root and to the bulb? Help! Please! My back hurts from pulling these demon weeds.

Comments (23)

  • The_Dollmaker
    18 years ago

    It's a good chance your neighbors are poisoning if you have it and they don't. Not worth the cancer you might get! I have read that pulling releases tiny seeds that fly out in every direction and that's why it likes to be pulled. If you smother, you'll have to smother ALL of it, and that would probably work. I have declared a truce with mine because my yard is meadow-cottage anyway, and it is soft to walk on and pretty when in bloom... I just keep it pulled out of the flowerbeds, at least once a week and we all live happily together.

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    18 years ago

    If you aren't opposed to the occasional use of a chemical, tough weeds like oxalis can be eliminated by first pulling, then treating the regrowth immediately. Spray on a windless day, get down low (I know, there's your back again), and you will use little of the product....Roundup or Finale will do, but Weed Be Gone makes a product specifically for oxalis...

    Make sure to catch any newly germinating oxalis quickly, before it has a chance to set and disperse seed.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Weed Be Gone Chickweed, Clover, Oxalis

    Original Author
    18 years ago

    MorZ8, thanks for the MSDS link. It makes me feel slightly better about using chemicals. From your experience, is Weed Be Gone better for Oxalis Stricta than Roundup? I think its amazing how this weed shoots out so vigorously from between rocks, dense juniper and burrows through wood chips. When I pull up a rock, I see the oxalis sprouting from these beans. Do you know if Weed Be Gone can get to these beans before they germinate? Thanks.

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    18 years ago

    All of the products need to be sprayed on foliage, they won't effect anything that hasn't germinated. But they will kill your stubborn weeds if you are persistent and don't let any more go to seed. I haven't bought the product that is specifically for Oxalis; the only one I keep on hand for occasional use is Finale. It works not only on oxalis (which is native here, and there was a lot in the 75' long bed that separates my garden from my neighbors), but it truly kills horsetail and blackberry...same process, pull first then treat any young regrowth.

  • vetivert8
    18 years ago

    To everything there is a season - including pulling Oxalis.

    When it is in active growth it puts down a long stalk similar to the root on a Crocus. Late spring, before the dry sets in. If you dig it then you are more likely to have a lasting impact on the population. Any later, and it will be forming those wretched little bulbils which fall off so easily.

    Forget deep mulching. It will shove its way through six inches plus.

    The tool I find best is a two-tined hand fork as it causes least disturbance and I can track down for the bulb.

    If you avoid moving soil from an infested area to a clean one you'll be doing yourself a favour.

    Expect it to take about three years of persistent work whether weed killer or hand weeding to 'get on top of' the problem.

  • Vikk
    17 years ago

    I found a cluster of those "bulblits" all together under the soil, not growing. I'm actually trying to grow them. If anyone has advice?

  • johnpeter
    17 years ago

    "Oxalis X" is much more effective than 2,4 D or other broadleaf killers of this tough weed. Moisture from your tank sprayer tends to roll off the leaf, hampering eradication. Use some serious sticker...perhaps dish detergent. Interestingly, sudsy spray that emerges from my tank sprayer, just as the tank is running empty, works best to coat the foliage and kill the weed.
    Oxalis X shows results within hours, but works only on sunny days. Burns the plant. Seems to be some kind of superfertilizer effect? The oxalis will come back, though. All such groundcovers compete for sunlight, so hopefully you've got desirable groundcover there to choke out the light, once your oxalis is knocked down.
    Oxalis has a pod, about 1/4" long, that explodes upon mechanical agitation, just like wild peas. Don't let that happen. Remove pod-laden vegetation carefully. But I would leave leafy oxalis intact so it can absorb poison.
    I don't know if there's a MSDS for this product, but you can ask.

    National Chelating Corp.
    221 W. Meats Ave.
    Orange, CA 92865

  • californian
    14 years ago

    Here is an article on Oxalis Pes-Caprae, aka Bermuda Buttercup, aka Soursob, aka sour grass. The researchers gathered a 5 gallon bucket full of bulblets from one aquare meter of Oxalis infested soil, and it took them three hours of labor to do it. They say to get rid of it completely you have to dig up all the soil and sieve it to remove all the bulbs and bulblets. It also spread by seed which will explode out of pods if you touch them when ripe. I have gotten rid of it in small areas by just pulling it up. I think the flowers actually look pretty and it could pass for a ground cover if it was a little shorter.

  • jntex
    14 years ago

    I do not know if what I am doing is working, but I am digging it out of the ground a little at a time every day. My Oxalis has a central wine colored "carrot" type root beneath the surface, sometimes a couple of inches deep. If you can find that, it is the motherlode. Leaves on tendrils grow out on the surface for many inches and these all have spider roots. You have to dig under the whole area, then separate the grass from the Oxalis you are removing. Then push your grass back down. Certainly you need to get the "carrot" if you can, but if you only remove several inches of the tendrils, I believe you did help some. Keep your pulled weeds in a box to throw away in a bag. Hopefully never to see the light of day again! Removing just the leaves, is of course, worthless. I have only seen a few of the seeds which seem to work like "stickers" which can attach to objects or animals and spread the plague. I have also used "Weed Be Gone" which is expensive and, as far as I can tell, has little or no effect on the "carrot" root which is the plant's genesis. If you just want the leaves and some of the tendrils to die, it works fine. VERY short term and no solution. Good luck. Advice to the unwary, NEVER let Oxalis get a hold. It's an incredible amount of work to eradicate. It will literally take over your yard.

  • jfindles_gmail_com
    12 years ago

    Have just tried something new - 500 ml white vinegar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon detergent. Mix in larger container. Baking soda and vinegar react slightly.
    Works quickly. Kills plant but you need to spray new plants as they appear.

  • Kimmsr
    12 years ago

    Anytime you mix an Alkaline (high pH) substance with and Acid (low pH) substance you can have a violent reaction and mixing Baking Soda (Alkaline) with Vinegar (Acid) can do that. Use due care when following the above advice.

  • eloiseduff_earthlink_net
    11 years ago

    The vinegar, soda and detergent mixture certainly works initially. Within a couple of hours all leaves have shrivelled. Now to see if repeated applications keep it down or ever kill the bulb. Has anyone used this directly under roses? Would it affect the rose bush if some of the spray got on the trunk of the bush?

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    11 years ago

    Vikk, give it the impression you don't want it there... Insult it...

  • gkolizeras_comcast_net
    11 years ago

    get chickens... yup! they love oxalis... witnessed it in a friend's yard... they had wiped out her oxalis and was reaching through her neighbor's fence to get oxalis from the other yard

  • ahthomas01_yahoo_com
    11 years ago


    Oxalis can be a pain to deal with , but it is one of many "weeds" that are edible and nutrient-rich. Many wild plants are good for us ; most contain more vitamins and minerals than the common greens we grow in our garden.

    Stinging nettles; Sorrel - tangy and lemony; purslane-has one of the highest levelrs of omega-3 fatty acids in the plant kingdom are all considered weeds.

    Give them a try. Happy gardening and weeding.

  • Kimmsr
    11 years ago

    The Oxalis most of us have is probably Yellow Wood Sorrel a very proflific seeder and a wild flower greatly desired by many benficial insects as an alternate food source. Since I see many plants growing near the bird feeders the seeds produced may also be a good food source for birds.
    These fairly shallow rooted plants are easily yanked out of the soil, and die off relatively quickly if the stem is cut and the plant is deprived of the leaves needed to manufacture the nutrients the plant needs to grow.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    11 years ago

    I don't remember making that comment in April so after interrogating family members, I got a confession. The name has been withheld to protect the guilty party.

    Aaaaanyway, I used to have a live & let live attitude toward yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta) when I lived in OH. They were very easy to pull there on the first try. The exploding seed pods are really cool to play with, too, and it's not an unattractive plant. But since moving to AL, I've developed a "kill it immediately" policy. Something about the soil here (probably all of the sand) makes these much harder to pull here. They usually break instead of come out by the roots. Still not that troubling, but any plant that I would never cultivate and I have to pull more than once when I don't want it makes my weed list.

    In trade, here in AL, there is a pink-flowering one (Oxalis debilis) that has very attractive, large shamrock leaves with cute pink flowers. It's good for erosion control and commonly used for borders here. A few houses down the yard is full of Glechoma and pink oxalis and when both are blooming, it looks like a fairy tale yard. Stunning!

  • jimmyelou
    10 years ago

    My neighbor has a whole purple yard,how can I keep it from spreading to mine

  • cebury
    10 years ago

    You should create a new post, rather than reviving an old one. But the quick answer is: it will be a constant battle for years to come if the neighbor doesn't eradicate it. You should put down PRE-EMERGENT each year before weeds start their growth. You MUST identify exactly the type of weed as many people confuse the various types of oxalis, clover, spurge, ...

    I am in CA, so we have good knowledgebase for our state: Creeping Woodsorrel & Buttercup Oxalis Down near the bottom are the various brand names to treat it, it's either of those variants.

  • sgraff
    9 years ago

    I just used Weed Beater Ultra by Bonide-kills broadleaf weeds but not grass. It worked wonderfully well. Oxalis was about to choke out my lawn. Last year I spent much time pulling it out. This year it was more vigorous than ever. It covers 10,000 sq. ft. and cost about $22.00.

    It does not harm most grasses. All of the oxalis in my lawn is gone. It is amazing.

    This post was edited by sgraff on Wed, Jun 19, 13 at 12:01

  • William Larkin
    2 years ago

    Black plastic sheeting worked temporily but I'm seeing some come-back.. Roudup top-kills it but wouln' get the bulbs...I'm thinking of building a bonfire on the site but those bulbs might actually LIKE it!

  • HU-927106362
    last year

    I live in Center Hill, Florida, and, Yes! Have Oxalis in the yard on the North side of the house. i thought I had it all dug up in January 2020....then, January 2021, it came back with a vengence covering a 40 ft x 12 ft area....took me awhile to dig it up...took 4 weeks, working 5 - 7 hours every other day....then, have the ones missed coming up....will not replug the area with grass until I no longer see new growth.....It is a MUST to dig deeply, so that the seed is removed with the stalk and leaves....I have seen the miniture "white carrot" root system, as well, with all the group of seeds at the top of the carrot....Weed be Gone or Round-Up won't touch it..just kills the grass....

    This year I dug it up a shovel full at a time and graded every shovel full...put in 5 gallon bucket and would pour that into garbage...have new plants coming up in front flower bed and found few in the Floratam St Augistine grass....spread to neighbors yard about 12 inches and I went and dug it up...2 weeks later see new growth there...will go dig up again....BEWARE! If you don't get that seed at the bottom it comes back...that stem attached to the seed is, fluff the soil around it after digging it up...get that seed! But, WEAR A MASK! Because I was on my hands and knees grading the clumps, the Oxalis leaves contain needle sharp crystals that can be inhaled into your throat and mouth....causing severe throat and mouth irritation...I know, because I have had it for over 3 weeks now and two trips to emergency room & doctors look at me like I'm crazy...leaves have needle sharp crystals that can be inhaled.....I checked all info I cound find on the internet for symptoms of oxalic exposure....Called Poison Control...they couldn't help knowledge what-so-ever!!!! My primary care doctor told me to give it I was crazy? I am older than dirt.....72 years old.....still digging in the dirt....but, I don't want ths poisonous weed in my yard.....found this site today....anrcatalog ucanr edu....poisonous plants ...ANRCATALOG.EDU

    Also, for calcium oxalate crystals...It showed Vitamin B-6 reduces oxalate in urine....have a high fluid intake to dilute it...use alkalizing agents like citrate inhibits formation of calcium oxalic fish oil....Mayo Clinic is in Jacksonville, Fl., and I don't have a driver to take me there...and doctors in Central Florida think I'm crazy.......So, don't take chances, this weed can effect your kidneys from what I have read.....and not one doctor did a blood test or urine test to get any results on me....and this oxalis can be, use caution....Had a CT scan of my throat last week......waiting on the results to see if any damage has been done.....Be Safe......Your Friend Against Oalis.....Terri in Center Hill, Florida...04/24/2021 ...Good Luck!