Wild Onions Are Out of Control


Wild Onions!

Wild Onions are like a new idea for a story – they’re green, but they pop up when you don’t need them and, like they detract from your lawn, they can pull your focus on projects you should be working on.

It’s not growing season, but the wild onions don’t care.

Generally I’m happy with our lawn. My husband and I are not garden people, and we don’t spend a lot of time working in the yard. We pay a landscaping service to cut our grass, trim the bushes, and usually lay mulch every other year. That’s the extent of our lawn time. Our flowers consist of some tiger lilies that come up each spring and early summer, and a rose bush. Other than the grass-cutting and bush trimming, we like to think the lawn runs itself.

The wild onions do not cooperate with this plan.

We’ve kept most of the broad-leaf weeds away using pre-emergent sprays each spring. The onions do not care about a pre-emergent spray. They emerge when they want and do whatever the hell they want.

Here we are in late January, and our lawn is nice and brown, which is to be expected because the grass is dormant right now. It’s also a nice, uniform height, because we cut it last in November, and nothing has grown since then. Except the onions. The onions don’t believe in a growing season. For them, every season is growing season.

Frustrated that our brown lawn is smattered with the darn onions in January, when all the other yards around us are a nice brown with no onions, last year I decided to do something about it. I went to our local home improvement store and asked them what I could use against the onions. The guy looked at me like I was crazy. “It’s not time for that. You can’t use a pre-emergent spray right now. Everything is dormant.” Sigh. Everything except the onions.

Today when I did a search for eliminating wild onions, I found this site at Clemson (where I work), which apparently means that my onions are in fact, wild garlic.

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/weeds/hgic2311.html  So reading all of this technical information about my fabulous wild onions/garlic, I learn this:  “Preemergence herbicides do not control wild onion or wild garlic [told you so] and they have to be treated with a postemergent herbicide.”

The first statement under the heading CONTROL is to pull them or dig them out with a thin trowel. But that’s gardening work!  Next option…

“Treat wild garlic and wild onion in November and again in late winter or early spring before these plants can produce the next generation of bulbs in March. However, be careful not to apply most weed killers onto centipede grass or St. Augustine grass during their spring green up period. Inspect the lawn again in the spring and the next fall, and treat if necessary. “

I knew I should be doing something now! Despite what the man at the home improvement store told me. The article lists effective weed killers: “Examples of these products are Bayer Advanced Southern Weed Killer for Lawns, Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns – for Southern Lawns, Lilly Miller Lawn Weed Killer, Southern Ag Lawn Weed Killer with Trimec®, and Ferti-lome Weed-Out Lawn Weed Killer. These products can be used safely on most turfgrasses, but reduced rates are recommended when applying to St. Augustine grass or centipede grass. Apply during November, very early spring, and again the next November for best control.” So I guess I’ll wander out and try to find one of these sprays. It’s either that or open a side business as a wild garlic farmer. Now that I’m thinking about it, that might be the best option.

Or perhaps there’s a different message here, one about creativity. Often we go about our daily life, with our agenda (our lawn plan), and we have expectations of what we will accomplish (nice lawn with minimal work). Work, preparing meals (usually me), reviewing the kids’ homework (hopefully performed by my husband), laundry, hopefully squeeze some editing in on Under His Protection … but then that wild onion pops up, that story idea that is so beautiful and green. Never mind that it doesn’t fit my lawn plan. Never mind that it’s a teaser, not developed, and won’t sustain a whole arc. It’s adorable! It’s so much more interesting than the novel I’m editing. IT’S GREEN!!!!

Respect the onion. Jot down a few words to preserve the new story idea (the onions), but try to stay focused on what you need to do with your current work in progress (the lawn). Otherwise, the people driving by your yard won’t see the nicely maintained dormant grass waiting for spring. All they will see is the blasted onions.