Wild Garlic Organic Weed Control

Wild garlic weed

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Wild garlic is a perennial plant that grows from bulbils. There are several species of wild garlic. Wild garlic is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental but can be hard to control as it spreads.

Botanical name: Allium ursinum (shown above, also called ramsons),  Allium vineale

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Wild garlic
Wild garlic

Wild garlic description and life cycle

  • Wild garlic grows to 3 feet tall.
  • The plant grows from a cluster of bulbs covered with papery sheaths.
  • Stems are stiff and erect; leaves grow from the lower half of stems.
  • Leaves of some species are hollow and round with a pointed tip; other species’ leaves are entire and elliptical.
  • Basal sheath encircles stems.
  • Umbel of 6 to 20 whitish-green flowers on some species; others produce aerial bulbils rather than flowers.
  • Form underground bulbs that overwinter.
  • Blooms late spring to early summer.
  • Reproduces from seeds, dropped aerial bulbils, and bulbs.
  • Tolerates almost any soil.

Wild garlic root system

Wild garlic grows from narrow underground bulbs. Bulbs store nutrients and can generate new plants even after several seasons underground.

Wild garlic organic control

  • Remove the plant including all underground bulbs.
  • Cover the area cleared of wild garlic with a thick mulch of black plastic or cardboard for a full growing season.

Wild garlic range

Eastern and central United States except for northern areas, and Pacific Northwest into northern California.

Four quick ways to control weeds

  1. Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
  2. Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
  3. Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
  4. Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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