We have onion weed all over our garden (Nothoscordum gracile). It has thin strappy leaves, and a small white bulb. The bulb grows new little bulbs which break off (particularly when you try to get it out) to form new weeds. It also has flowers and can spread by wind.
Most of what I've read is saying pretty much the same thing, you either have to carefully physically remove it, or spray with something like Roundup (glyphosate).
Removing from bed is okay, but tedious. As long as it is removed at a young enough age (i.e. very small bulb) and carefully you can get it out of the ground. As soon as it is old enough to start forming bulbs, it is a real pain, but you can get rid of it by taking it out carefully with the soil around it so that the new bulbs are removed too.
Spraying with Roundup has had mixed results. I would say that it appears to kill it after a second spray...still not too sure though. I've seen recommendations of dripping motor oil into the crown, but I haven't tried that.
It is frustrating, but manageable when growing in beds, but the problem that I have is that there are places in my grass where it is going. Spraying with Roundup is not really an option, and digging it out requires major damage to the grass. The main problem is that the weed grows up through the grass. I would guess the bulb is about 4 inches deep, and it is very difficult to actually get the bulb out (the stem breaks off very easily). If the bulb remains, it just grows back.
I put new grass in last year (there was nothing but weeds when we moved into this house), and I've been following the cheap and lazy lawn care principles since I found them. We're about to go into spring here (Southern hemisphere), and I'll be adding a layer of topsoil to supplement and smooth out the lawn.
I'm a bit wary of just leaving them to grow and hoping that it will sort it self out. I'm making sure that they stay trimmed to ensure they don't seed. At the moment it looks like my options are to leave it and hope for the best, or lift sods of grass and try to removed manually. Main problem is that there is no way of ensuring it is all out, and the tiny bulbs can easily be left in the ground.
I was wondering if any one had some suggestions? Maybe our soil needs some adjusting to help? Or must I just keep working on the cheap and lazy principles, and in a couple of years it will be better?
I don't think you can eat this stuff. It actually doesn't smell like onion at all. It grows relatively flat, and has a thin strap like stem (unlike a spring onion that grows more upright and has a thick onion smelling stem).
I think the particular weed I have is sometimes called False Onion Weed. There is another type I found on the net, Asphodelus fistulosus which I think smells a bit like onion when squashed.
There is no top to push over really. Won't the hay cause problems with the grass too?
I also have what appears to be green onions growing in/around my lawn. I think the prior owner must have been growing them for food usage. They are prolific and annoying!!!
They start off looking like softer, lighter grass... then within a week they are 20% taller than the turf/grass and they smell like sweet onions when you mow. The only solution has been to get down and dig up those bulbs. Even if you pull out the stalk from 4-6" deep, that bulb will grow another one in a week or so.
If you let them grow for 2-3 weeks, they will really look like green onions you buy at the market. I have not tried to cook w/ them. Good luck..
I'll see if I can grab a big one from the garden where you can see the small bulbs that it grows around the main bulb.
I've been wondering whether they possibly prefer an acid or alkaline soil, but I'm not too sure where I can find out about that. I could try experimenting with the ones in the open beds — it would just take a while.
The younger bulbs do not have any of the small "seed bulbs" growing on them, but once they get a little bigger, the small bulbs form. When you take them out of the ground you have to be careful to ensure that the whole bulb comes out without either breaking, or dropping of a gazillion little new bulbs.
The "seed bulbs" are the small brownish things you can see amongst the soil. Sometimes when the weed is younger they are still white like the bulb, and don't drop off as easily.
Do you have pics of this stuff growing in your yard?
For the garden, I would throw hay on top of it. This would smother the weeds and feed the plants. Just pick up a couple of bales of hay at farm supply store. This is also going to work long term at keeping them from coming back.
As for in the grass: is it just the look of it that bothers you? How does it feel under bare feet? I'm guessing that in the lawn, it isn't laying down.
The flowers look nice. Do they flower in your yard?
Do the one that have been mowed look like they like mowing?
I just mowed the lawn yesterday, so you can't really see it. I'll take a pic when it starts to grow again. It grows up above the lawn, and you don't feel it underfoot. The main thing I'm worried about is it getting out of control if it is just let to its own devices. It might even be that with a season of strong growth for the lawn, that it won't really come back next year.
It is a pretty flower, but it has to get quite big before it flowers. If I remember correctly they will start flowering late in spring (I'm in the southern hemisphere, so we're about to go into spring). I'm doing my best to make sure that they don't flower and spread further.
Mowing doesn't really seem to bother them at all, it just keeps on growing. The blades of the mower don't really seem to pick it up well and cut it, as it just gets pushed over.
Paul, I hear your point. The weed is not hard underfoot. The leaves are a bit waxy though. It does, in my opinion, look pretty ugly in the lawn, although you don't really notice it when it is mowed. Problem with that is that it is difficult to mow (many passes with the reel mower to actually get it - it kinda pushes over in front of the mower).
The big thing I'm worried about is having this stuff slowly spread through the whole lawn. It is definitely classified as a weed, but it is not on the alien invader list, so I couldn't use that as an excuse either It is just generally considered a real pain, as it is difficult to get rid of. It is not indigenous (it is from North America, I'm in South Africa - my gran says it was originally brought in by florists).
Anyway, that is my story. I still want to get rid of it - its propagation method bothers me quite a bit...
I remember the movie "cool hand luke" - but all I can remember is an egg eating competition. But that is a whole other story.
Anyway, the onion weed is the stuff in the foreground with the slightly broader leaf and the brownish tips (due to the mowing). It doesn't look much different to the grass in that photo. The grass has a much narrower leaf and it is not so long. There is one in the background too popping out quite high above the grass. The orange in the far background are marigolds.
I'm gonna break this in two: 1) what I would do, and 2) my advice for you to do what you want to do.
1) I would leave it. It looks fine to me. In fact, I would plant a variety of other stuff in there too, yarrow, chamomile, crocuses, etc. All sorts of fun lawn growies. And then the onion weed doesn't look out of place and the lawn looks really diverse! Flowers and all sorts of plants that are soft underfoot, but have all sorts of interesting textures.
2) You want to have a monoculture. This runs against nature, but sometimes you can pull it off without chemicals. I used to do a lot of hiking in the wilderness and I would live off the land a little as I went. I did eat a few wild onions. I found them in swampy areas. I wonder if you could train your grass to send down deeper roots and then water less often. I would guess that the onion grass has shallow roots and will not care for this.
Maybe (1) is the way to go. I am gradually reducing my lawn area and planting indigenous plants (we have beautiful indigenous plants here in the Western Cape of SA - see PlantzAfrica, and Cape Flora. I'll think a bit about what my options are in that regard.
With regards to (2)...hmmm....this is THE problem with the onion weed. I've seen some of this stuff with roots 4 inches into the ground. The grass roots are getting deeper, and I keep encouraging them deeper. It is no problem in the summer (the onion weed seems to actively grow through the rainy winter).
At this point I'm just going to manage it (i.e. mow regularly, water deep and seldom) and see whether it gets better or worse, and continue to reduce the grass area and plant shrubs.
Hi Guys by the photo you do not have onion weed but a weed called nut grass which is also very hard to get rid of. The grass photos are harder to work out but may be a bulb or a weed . Google -onion weed and look for the Noxious weeds of Australia link-Google books for photos scientific name Asphodelus fistulosus L. Onion weed is Cyperus rotundus Good luck
I am wondering too, how did it go. Our community garden is full of this obnoxious weed (and no, you can't smother it with mulch unless it is plastic), and large plant bulb is very deep 4-12 inches and makes tons of tiny bulblets. People here dig it with lots of soil around in hopes to catch most of them, which is hard to do, because that hurts other plants as well. I found this idea on the net:
"It is the only weed that makes me discard a ball of my good soil, since removing all the bulblets sometimes seems hopeless. I suppose you could sieve the soil, but what a huge job." This is the only weed I do not like, and I welcome dandelions, chickweed, cleavers and many others. The only good thing is, that it goes dormant during summer. The worst is in the spring like now.
There are lots of popular names -nut grass, false garlic, false onion, etc. But it is Nothoscordum borbonicum. Some websites say we can eat bulb as a garlic for condiments, but I am not sure, if they mean this plant as wild onion and wild garlic do look somewhat similar, but they do not have flattened leaves.
When I move my garden, I am planning to take just cuttings and seeds as I am not risking to take any soil to my new one to introduce them there. It is on California's invasives list.
I found this post, which you might find useful:
http://aussieorganicgardening.com/2009/03/onion-weed/ And here is some information from the other website -sorry, can't remember from which:
"In a lawn, regular mowing will eventually deplete the bulb of the food it needs to survive. In a garden bed where mowing might not be appropriate, I have found a sharp Dutch hoe (also known as a scuffle hoe) to be effective in removing the tops below ground level. The lower you cut them, the more reserves they have to use to grow back and the quicker they die.
If there are too many plant roots to use the hoe, you can use a thin bladed knife or simply pinch the tops off by hand and check at least weekly for new growth.
If the situation allows, black plastic laid over the top will prevent the bulbs from being re-invigorated by sunlight. In my experience weed mat is not effective for this purpose, nor is any translucent plastic. "