Need help getting rid of wood sorrel weeds?
Do you have wood sorrel weeds or another shamrock looking Oxalis in your garden?
Before you decide your wood sorrel weeds need to go, identify which shamrock you have. That’s because besides the bemoaned wood sorrel weed, there are other desirable Oxalis you may want to keep or add to your garden.
Wood shamrocks you might want to keep:
- Redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana), which carpets the forest floor beneath Pacific redwoods, is one of them.
- And, silver shamrock (Oxalis adenophylla) hails from outside North America but performs beautifully, even in full sun, in many US and other temperate locales.
- But, it’s the nasty, creeping Wood Sorrel (Oxalis corniculata) that you may be desperate to remove.
So, why is this one a wood sorrel weed?
Creeping wood sorrel, a non-native plant in the Pacific Northwest. But, it is fairly common in PacNW gardens. And, it can also be problematic in several ways.
For instance, this wood sorrel weed can host diseases like mildew. Then it might spread through your garden. Plus, it can bring along some food crop diseases.
Plus, its complex roots can drain soil of nutrients and moisture rapidly. Also, this plant will grow in dense compacted soils. However, it has a strong affinity for loose, sandy soil. That’s because it’s easy to push its traveling stems and roots through these big particles. Furthermore, it grows well in sun & shade, wet or dry. So, it kind of grows anywhere.
Knowing how it grows will help you eradicate it.
This problematic shamrock mostly disappears from view during winter. But, it isn’t dead. Underground, its roots continue to grow strong. Not only do the roots travel along the surface of the soil, but wood sorrel weed roots also spread deeper. Plus, wood sorrel weed throws down tough filigrees of nutrient and water-sapping tap roots that can be tough to dig out. And even worse, this “travel and grow” behavior happens all year long.
Piling on, by late Spring, the plants further self-propagate by putting on a display of little yellow flowers from which spitting seed pods form. And, these disperse more wood sorrel weed progeny.
Step-by-step wood sorrel weed removal guidelines:
First: Don’t let it bloom. If this plant blooms, the seeds will spread everywhere fast, resulting in more baby plants everywhere.
Second: When you pull it, be sure to get the entire root. That means both the tap root and any roots growing laterally. If you leave any behind, the plant will just regrow. And, use the right tools. If you want to learn more about our favorite garden weeding tools, check out our Academy now for help on these and other gardening lessons.
Third: Don’t till an area where this weed has grown. Tilling will simply stir up any residual seeds into the light where they can germinate. And, if you break up any remaining roots, spreading them as you till, your Oxalis weed crop will happily take off again, growing from those chopped up bits you just created.
Finally, few notes to help get rid of unwanted oxalis.
If this little nasty plant makes an appearance in your garden, it may take several seasons to eradicate it. And, because it exists through most of North America, it may reappear in the next plant you bring home from a garden sale. So, always check new plant purchases to be sure it isn’t growing in a nursery pot.