Oxalis Nightmare in Backyard

TILAPIAJanuary 23, 2005

I like efficiency and from what I've read so far it seems that pulling Oxalis is not efficient because it just grows back! A good portion of my backyard is covered in wood chips but the Oxalis still grew through it! My question is has anyone tried sheet mulching with Oxalis? Does it prevent Oxalis from growing back next year? Why is my backyard infested with Oxalis and both my neighbors backyards are unaffected? Are there any "safe" herbicides that can effectively get to the root and to the bulb? Help! Please! My back hurts from pulling these demon weeds.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's a good chance your neighbors are poisoning if you have it and they don't. Not worth the cancer you might get! I have read that pulling releases tiny seeds that fly out in every direction and that's why it likes to be pulled. If you smother, you'll have to smother ALL of it, and that would probably work. I have declared a truce with mine because my yard is meadow-cottage anyway, and it is soft to walk on and pretty when in bloom... I just keep it pulled out of the flowerbeds, at least once a week and we all live happily together.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 9:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

If you aren't opposed to the occasional use of a chemical, tough weeds like oxalis can be eliminated by first pulling, then treating the regrowth immediately. Spray on a windless day, get down low (I know, there's your back again), and you will use little of the product....Roundup or Finale will do, but Weed Be Gone makes a product specifically for oxalis...

Make sure to catch any newly germinating oxalis quickly, before it has a chance to set and disperse seed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weed Be Gone Chickweed, Clover, Oxalis

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MorZ8, thanks for the MSDS link. It makes me feel slightly better about using chemicals. From your experience, is Weed Be Gone better for Oxalis Stricta than Roundup? I think its amazing how this weed shoots out so vigorously from between rocks, dense juniper and burrows through wood chips. When I pull up a rock, I see the oxalis sprouting from these beans. Do you know if Weed Be Gone can get to these beans before they germinate? Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 9:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

All of the products need to be sprayed on foliage, they won't effect anything that hasn't germinated. But they will kill your stubborn weeds if you are persistent and don't let any more go to seed. I haven't bought the product that is specifically for Oxalis; the only one I keep on hand for occasional use is Finale. It works not only on oxalis (which is native here, and there was a lot in the 75' long bed that separates my garden from my neighbors), but it truly kills horsetail and blackberry...same process, pull first then treat any young regrowth.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 9:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

To everything there is a season - including pulling Oxalis.

When it is in active growth it puts down a long stalk similar to the root on a Crocus. Late spring, before the dry sets in. If you dig it then you are more likely to have a lasting impact on the population. Any later, and it will be forming those wretched little bulbils which fall off so easily.

Forget deep mulching. It will shove its way through six inches plus.

The tool I find best is a two-tined hand fork as it causes least disturbance and I can track down for the bulb.

If you avoid moving soil from an infested area to a clean one you'll be doing yourself a favour.

Expect it to take about three years of persistent work whether weed killer or hand weeding to 'get on top of' the problem.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 8:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Vikk(8b sunset 10)

I found a cluster of those "bulblits" all together under the soil, not growing. I'm actually trying to grow them. If anyone has advice?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
johnpeter(10b LongBeachCA)

"Oxalis X" is much more effective than 2,4 D or other broadleaf killers of this tough weed. Moisture from your tank sprayer tends to roll off the leaf, hampering eradication. Use some serious sticker...perhaps dish detergent. Interestingly, sudsy spray that emerges from my tank sprayer, just as the tank is running empty, works best to coat the foliage and kill the weed.
Oxalis X shows results within hours, but works only on sunny days. Burns the plant. Seems to be some kind of superfertilizer effect? The oxalis will come back, though. All such groundcovers compete for sunlight, so hopefully you've got desirable groundcover there to choke out the light, once your oxalis is knocked down.
Oxalis has a pod, about 1/4" long, that explodes upon mechanical agitation, just like wild peas. Don't let that happen. Remove pod-laden vegetation carefully. But I would leave leafy oxalis intact so it can absorb poison.
I don't know if there's a MSDS for this product, but you can ask.

National Chelating Corp.
221 W. Meats Ave.
Orange, CA 92865

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 11:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a chronic oxalis problem, and have been trying to locate Oxalis X.
Where can I purchase it in the Southern Ca. area?
Is it safe for use in turf?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 6:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is an article on Oxalis Pes-Caprae, aka Bermuda Buttercup, aka Soursob, aka sour grass. The researchers gathered a 5 gallon bucket full of bulblets from one aquare meter of Oxalis infested soil, and it took them three hours of labor to do it. They say to get rid of it completely you have to dig up all the soil and sieve it to remove all the bulbs and bulblets. It also spread by seed which will explode out of pods if you touch them when ripe. I have gotten rid of it in small areas by just pulling it up. I think the flowers actually look pretty and it could pass for a ground cover if it was a little shorter.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do not know if what I am doing is working, but I am digging it out of the ground a little at a time every day. My Oxalis has a central wine colored "carrot" type root beneath the surface, sometimes a couple of inches deep. If you can find that, it is the motherlode. Leaves on tendrils grow out on the surface for many inches and these all have spider roots. You have to dig under the whole area, then separate the grass from the Oxalis you are removing. Then push your grass back down. Certainly you need to get the "carrot" if you can, but if you only remove several inches of the tendrils, I believe you did help some. Keep your pulled weeds in a box to throw away in a bag. Hopefully never to see the light of day again! Removing just the leaves, is of course, worthless. I have only seen a few of the seeds which seem to work like "stickers" which can attach to objects or animals and spread the plague. I have also used "Weed Be Gone" which is expensive and, as far as I can tell, has little or no effect on the "carrot" root which is the plant's genesis. If you just want the leaves and some of the tendrils to die, it works fine. VERY short term and no solution. Good luck. Advice to the unwary, NEVER let Oxalis get a hold. It's an incredible amount of work to eradicate. It will literally take over your yard.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have just tried something new - 500 ml white vinegar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon detergent. Mix in larger container. Baking soda and vinegar react slightly.
Works quickly. Kills plant but you need to spray new plants as they appear.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anytime you mix an Alkaline (high pH) substance with and Acid (low pH) substance you can have a violent reaction and mixing Baking Soda (Alkaline) with Vinegar (Acid) can do that. Use due care when following the above advice.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 7:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The vinegar, soda and detergent mixture certainly works initially. Within a couple of hours all leaves have shrivelled. Now to see if repeated applications keep it down or ever kill the bulb. Has anyone used this directly under roses? Would it affect the rose bush if some of the spray got on the trunk of the bush?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Vikk, give it the impression you don't want it there... Insult it...

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

get chickens... yup! they love oxalis... witnessed it in a friend's yard... they had wiped out her oxalis and was reaching through her neighbor's fence to get oxalis from the other yard

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 11:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Oxalis can be a pain to deal with , but it is one of many "weeds" that are edible and nutrient-rich. Many wild plants are good for us ; most contain more vitamins and minerals than the common greens we grow in our garden.

Stinging nettles; Sorrel - tangy and lemony; purslane-has one of the highest levelrs of omega-3 fatty acids in the plant kingdom are all considered weeds.

Give them a try. Happy gardening and weeding.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Oxalis most of us have is probably Yellow Wood Sorrel a very proflific seeder and a wild flower greatly desired by many benficial insects as an alternate food source. Since I see many plants growing near the bird feeders the seeds produced may also be a good food source for birds.
These fairly shallow rooted plants are easily yanked out of the soil, and die off relatively quickly if the stem is cut and the plant is deprived of the leaves needed to manufacture the nutrients the plant needs to grow.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 7:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I don't remember making that comment in April so after interrogating family members, I got a confession. The name has been withheld to protect the guilty party.

Aaaaanyway, I used to have a live & let live attitude toward yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta) when I lived in OH. They were very easy to pull there on the first try. The exploding seed pods are really cool to play with, too, and it's not an unattractive plant. But since moving to AL, I've developed a "kill it immediately" policy. Something about the soil here (probably all of the sand) makes these much harder to pull here. They usually break instead of come out by the roots. Still not that troubling, but any plant that I would never cultivate and I have to pull more than once when I don't want it makes my weed list.

In trade, here in AL, there is a pink-flowering one (Oxalis debilis) that has very attractive, large shamrock leaves with cute pink flowers. It's good for erosion control and commonly used for borders here. A few houses down the yard is full of Glechoma and pink oxalis and when both are blooming, it looks like a fairy tale yard. Stunning!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My neighbor has a whole purple yard,how can I keep it from spreading to mine

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 9:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You should create a new post, rather than reviving an old one. But the quick answer is: it will be a constant battle for years to come if the neighbor doesn't eradicate it. You should put down PRE-EMERGENT each year before weeds start their growth. You MUST identify exactly the type of weed as many people confuse the various types of oxalis, clover, spurge, ... et.al.

I am in CA, so we have good knowledgebase for our state: Creeping Woodsorrel & Buttercup Oxalis Down near the bottom are the various brand names to treat it, it's either of those variants.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sgraff(9b CA)

I just used Weed Beater Ultra by Bonide-kills broadleaf weeds but not grass. It worked wonderfully well. Oxalis was about to choke out my lawn. Last year I spent much time pulling it out. This year it was more vigorous than ever. It covers 10,000 sq. ft. and cost about $22.00.

It does not harm most grasses. All of the oxalis in my lawn is gone. It is amazing.

This post was edited by sgraff on Wed, Jun 19, 13 at 12:01

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:54AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Black Medic (Medicago lupulina)
Black medic was growing rampant in my garden. I used...
I have these growing in an area where we put out wildflower...
Weed Identification (Florida)
Good afternoon, I have a problem with a weed (type...
Prevent new plants from growing
My garden contains roses, shrubs, gazanias, ornamental...
Idea for homemade herbicide: think it'll work?
So I have been brewing kombucha at home. A bunch of...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™