March 26, 2016
These flowers are growing in my back yard. I didn't plant them. What are they and where did they come from? Are they harmful?
This member of the lily family is commonly called Star-of-Bethlehem, or Ornithogalum umbellatum. Depending on who is growing it, it can be classified as a wildflower or a weed. It is a spring ephemeral—here today and gone tomorrow. The flowers usually last for about two weeks. They are growing from a small bulb underground which can multiply and it also reseeds itself. A few plants one year can result in a lot more the next. I leave them alone as they aren’t around too long and add some extra color in the early spring/late winter garden. Folks who like a weed free lawn, don’t always share my opinion.
We purchased an older home in North Little Rock that has a beautiful St. Augustine
yard. It has increasingly become invaded by a clover-like weed. However, in the past
year, we have tried to find a lawn care company to take care of this grass, but after
several calls, we have received no takers. I don't mind performing the de-weeding
services myself but I don’t know what to use. Do
you have any suggestions?
As you are aware, St. Augustine is a lawn grass that is quite sensitive to chemicals.
There are several formulations of 2,4-D on the market that are labeled for use on
Southern grasses. There will usually be a lower rate of application for St. Augustine
grass. Remember, it is better to err on the side of too little versus too much. A
few sample brand names include: Martin’s DeWeed Lawn Weed Killer for Southern Grasses,
Trimec Southern, and Ortho Weed-B-Gon for Southern Lawns Formula II. It may take more
than one application to kill your weeds, but spray lightly. If you go to our extension
website, there is a lawn calendar for St. Augustine:
http://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-6119.pdf and here is the home weed control guide:
I sympathize with your reader who has a problem with Star of Bethlehem. How do I get rid of Oxalis? Is digging it up the only viable solution?
Like the Star of Bethlehem, Oxalis (wood sorrel) too has a small bulb or corm underground, which makes it difficult to kill. Pulling it or digging it up if you have a small amount works, but you can also spot spray with Round-up. Just like with Star of Bethlehem, one time sprays will not be effective, and even when you think you have pulled it all it bounces back up somewhere.
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