how do I kill polk salad in my yard?

brittsgramsNovember 1, 2008

It is everywhere and I do not want to eat it. It is such a nuisance. Seems very hardy and I put a weed killer on it but did nothing. Any help will be most appreciated!!

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I have a number of the plants each year, due to birds dropping the indigestible seed. If you can find them when they are young plants, they can be easily pulled up, but the native species, Phytolacca americana, is a perennial and can develop a very large, fleshy root, similar to a carrot or parsnip, only white in color. If your soil is loose, they can also be pulled up, but in hard packed soil, clay, for example, will require digging them up. You must get all of the root or they can reemerge.
Sorry, I haven't found another method to permanently remove them and as long as there are berry eating birds around, you can never be completely rid of them!
All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans, although many people do consume the tender leaves, when they first emerge in the spring. The leaves are repeatedly boiled during three water changes to remove the toxins and ingestion is limited to small quanities each time.
IMO, there are numerous green, leafy vegetables, that require less time to prepare and are just as tasty and probably more healthy than "poke salat". :Rb

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 6:53PM
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From the U of F ;

"Plants can produce anywhere from a few thousand seeds to over 48,000 seeds per plant. Seeds can remain viable in the soil for over 40 years."

This horrible plant is found at the edges of my pastures - usually individually . I dig them up and can find a tap root as big as a football sometimes !

Read the link below for methods of control and some interesting reading .

Here is a link that might be useful: Common Pokeweed

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 2:16PM
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I dig 'em up. Works better if you soak the area ahead of time, the root comes out easier that way.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 8:33PM
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Buy Round-up BRUSH killer concentrate. Buy a $1.00 sponge foam paint brush, about 1 inch wide. When the temperatures reach 80* and the poke sallet plants are actively growing, paint the leaves with the Round-up. This keeps the weed killer on just the plants and off your lawn. They key is to buy BRUSH killer and CONCENTRATE. It will kill the roots.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 10:25PM
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It is sad to hear of your battle against a perfectly beautiful native American plant that thrives North to South and westward beyond the Mississippi River. Not only is poke (_Phytolacca americana_) a thing of beauty--tropical-looking leaves, attractive flowers and fruit, gorgeous maroon stems, but also it feeds a host of wild birds--those birds, e.g., mockingbirds and catbirds, that do not visit birdfeeders. My advice to you is to respect and embrace this fine native plant rather than carrying out chemical warfare against it. There's a fine description of poke on Floridata. Google the phrase _poke floridata_ to learn more about this botanical gem.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:52AM
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The roots, berries, seeds, and mature stems and leaves of pokeweed are dangerously poisonous. Only the young shoots and developing leaves (before they take on their reddish hue) can be eaten, and only after boiling for 20-30 minutes in at least two changes of water. Be very careful not to get any of the root when picking the young shoots. Pokeweed should not be cultivated anywhere there is a chance that a person might try to eat the berries.

Pokeweed is an alternative host for several plant viruses that feeding insects can transmit to members of the Solanaceae, Liliaceae and Amaryllidaceae growing nearby.

Steve Christman 7/23/00; updated 7/7/03, 9/22/03

(excerpt) Click on the link to see full article.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:33AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I used to have a lot of it, but by diligently pulling it up when it's young (before it bore fruit/seeds) I believe I've eradicated it.

And I don't think round up works when it's cold. It has to be 60+ degrees.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 7:57AM
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I love this plant! It is absolutely beautiful! I always try to have at least one in the garden. Granted, you need to keep an eye on its reproductive behavior but the effort is worth it!

Now if I could only get control of the passion flower in my garden. check this link
An outstanding flower but man, what an agressive, strong weed!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:54PM
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plan9fromposhmadison(8A Madison Mississippi)

As a kid, I used to mash up Pokeberries and use them for dyeing wrapping paper. The color was beautiful, and the paper looked really, really, expensive.

Those chemicals that kill plants are not exactly vitamins. I become mildly ill every time my neighbor sprays herbicide on his property. He goes to the hospital. How difficult is it remove weeds and throw them on the compost, anyway?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I tried the brush killer from Round up and it worked like a champ. Spray it on, wait a week, dig up roots. Works well.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Why is it that you can't forgo the spraying and the waiting and just dig it up? That's what I do.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 12:57AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

If you have shovel allergies, try boiling water when you can on weeds. Free & not poisonous.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 12:56PM
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I am an organic gardener but have resorted to a foray into chemical applications for poison ivy wrapped around my peonies. The polk weed is a real problem for me too. I do not see it as beautiful when it blankets my yard edges and shows up everywhere! I have been digging it up but must say that it often snaps off at the root and regrows. I will keep at it but does anyone know if it will die even if the root remains if you keep breaking it off?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 2:12PM
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If they are allowed to grow to full size, the tap root will be huge. 3 or 4 inches diameter and 18 inches long. At that point, continuously breaking new growth probably won't affect it much.

Continually breaking new younger plants might kill the root eventually.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:53AM
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This probably isn't too helpful, but poke sallet's delicious.If you change the water 2-3 times when boiling, it tastes a lot like asparagus.But only pick the very young shoots.
We used to eat lots of it in the spring.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 2:31PM
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