How to get rid of Star of Bethlehem????

lilcj823(z6 Ks)April 19, 2005

We moved into our house a year ago and this spring we have this Star of Bethlem all over our yard, what is the best way to get rid of this stuff, it is pretty but I read that it is poisinous! We have a one year old that loves to put everything in his mouth!!!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
katkerri(NC mountains)

Star of Bethlehem is poisonous???
I have been digging lots of them out of my yard,
potting them, and have them for sale
for a dollar a pot.
They didn't seem to mind the transplanting
at all and are blooming very cheerfully
in their pots.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lilcj823(z6 Ks)

From what I read on the internet, if consumed it can be, but a lot of people plant it, it has taken over my yard, way to much to dig up, I need to know what is the best thing to use to get rid of it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ornithogalum umbellatum toxicity

And from this site -

"Unfortunately, we do not have a good chemical control for Star-of-Bethlehem. A study out of North Carolina compared all common weed control materials. Trimec, a commonly recommended product, gave less that 15% control. The best products were Coolpower (31.3%) and Turflon Ester (23.8%). Coolpower is a commercial only product but Turflon Ester is available to both commercial and homeowner users."


    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
GaelicGardener(z6 RI)

I don't think it's poisonous because from what I've been reading a lot of people ate it, and still do in some parts of the world.
The website linked below says "The Star of Bethlehem is a bulbous plant nearly allied to the Onion and Garlic."

I too have these in my yard, but not many. I was just going to mow them down with my weed wacker, but my mom said she wants them for her yard. I tried to dig up one, but only got to the white part of the stem. How deep is the bulb usually?

They're cute, and I like that they close up until the sun hits them. But I didn't plant them, so therefore they are a weed!

Here is a link that might be useful: Star of Bethlehem

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is there any method of getting rid of this pest.It has crowded out most of my flower patch? Thank you

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
weezle1(z6 So IN)

They are quite deep now, several inches. Later in summer, August, they are only an inch or so down, so easier to dig up later. Go figure.....

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This blog was one of the first things I read at the beginning of the year before my quest to eradicate these weeds from my newly purchased foreclosure. Star of Bethlehem or truly SOBs were everywhere in my flowerbeds and they made up my lawn in the front yard. It has been a long journey and it is by no means over, but this is what I have learned so far.

Scotts website says to physically remove the bulbs. Virginia Tech found Quicksilver, a commercial formulation of carfentrazone at the rate of 4 fl. oz per acre killed 96% a month after one treatment. Purdue University found Paraquat provided control in the 90% range one month after treatment and 70 to 78% at the one year mark. 2,4D and Roundup had less than 29% control at 1 year. Remember to use dish soap or spreader sticker to improve results.

I personally tried original Roundup, Spectracide Weed Stop, and something industrial from a neighbor. I applied two applications of each product one week apart. Each product was tested with and without the addition of 2 tbs/gal disk soap in different areas of my yard. The Spectracide was the only one with visible results; the tips of the vegetation died. Over the long term the Roundup did slow the growth of the vegetation.

I tried sifting shovels of dirt through 1/4" hardware cloth. Only about half of the bulbs were filtered as the smaller ones easily fit through. Some of the larger bulbs that were mashed through the mesh still continued to grow. I then tried baking some of the sifted dirt in aluminum disposable turkey treys at 300F for 30 minutes. The dirt was about 4" deep. This baking did kill the bulbs.

I also tried covering flower beds in layered newspaper. The idea is to shade out the weed so it expends all of it's energy. I learned quickly that the thickness of the newspaper should be more than 1/8" thick. I'd say the more the better. And definitely add a couple inches of mulch on top to keep it hidden and from blowing away. My dogs walking on it caused it to rip and the edges near the sidewalk had a tendency to flip back exposing the SOBs.

The better way to go for shading out flower beds is carpet scraps. They let water through, don't need extra weight, don't tear or move, and keep the light out. Keep them down for two springs in a row then move them to the next spot. A neighbor and myself have had success with carpet squares.

The big test is the front yard. To shade it out I have covered the entire thing in 3mil black plastic, using stones to hold it in place. I put it down in early spring when the SOBs were 2 to 3" and when I pulled it back in April, they had become 8 to 12" yellow spaghetti. By our Cinco de Mayo party there was no vegetation under the plastic, just mounds of white bulbs and dirt. I intend to keep the yard covered until we seed grass in late summer to prevent other weeds from gaining a foothold. I've cut Xs in rows for planting tomatoes and other veggies in the mean time. I'm most interested in the shading out process and will post again in a year to let you know the long term effects.

I've read some areas that get consistently hotter temps can cover their yards in clear plastic to have an extreme greenhouse effect killing weeds in the top few inches of soil. It's too cold for that here, but take caution in tilling after treatment. Tilling in general should be avoided as it spreads the bulbs. Remember one bulb can have 7 bulblets every year!

Pulling these SOBs can seem impossible, but get the soil wet and use a weed fork to loosen all around the clump. Get deep like 6" or so and pry up from the bottom while gripping the vegetation with your other hand.

My final two thoughts are 1) Good Luck and 2) don't let these little weeds haunt you like they obviously have me.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 1:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hate these things. The smallest particle of bulb will go on to bloom the next spring, and it seems that the bulbs move deeper every year. I also sifted garden soil by the cubic yard, to no avail. Now I just try to keep them from blooming,tear off all leaves, and dig up the ones I can get at. They really are SOBs.
I can't believe that nurseries/on-line stores are still selling these things; it's like selling kudzu.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I fought this pest for years, only to see it keep spreading. I used just about every commercial weed killer out there, only to see them come back in a week or two.
If these plants aren't illegal,they should be. More on a happy note though is that I think I have found a way to eradicate them. I bought a propane weed burner and attached it to a tank mounted on a dolly and secured by a bunge cord. Each plant was wilted after a couple of seconds of heat. It's been 2 months and they haven't come back.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After years of fighting this obnoxious weed, I bought a propane weed burner. Just before they flowered, I burned them until they wilted. I had a few of them try to come back and those I burned a second time. So far, they haven't come back. If they reappear next year, I'll burn them again. I'll post the results next year in June.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
IanW Zone 5 Ont. Can.

Star of Bethlehem is a bulb and you must dig them out to rid yourself of this plant.....
Burning the leaves will only kill the top growth and they will be back next year......but burning the leaves each year will eventually starve the bulb and you will finally get rid of it...BUT, it will take a few seasons to do so......

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not sure which is more environmentally unsound, using a non renewable resource (propane) to burn a plant or spraying any of the mentioned plant poisons.
Most everyone that should know says to dig the bulbs since not even the glypohosates are all that effective at killing them.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 7:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm afraid that you've got to just dig the bulbs up. Whatever you do, don't let the flowers go to seed!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:29AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Weed Identification Kern River Valley, CA
Hoping some folks might be able (willing) to help me...
nexev - Zone 8b
Please help identify these vines
These are young examples of these vines that can grow...
Bleach & Poison Ivy
A few days ago I did a search of the Weeds Forum to...
Sticky Weed, Sticky Willy, Velcro Weed
I wanted to post about something that is taking my...
Bryan Scott
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™