2 questions (sorrell & milky weeds)

weeddummie(ACT Aust)September 4, 2005

I just discovered I have sheep sorrell (Rumex acetosella) on my garden bed.

My mulch is thinning out, and before I work on topping it up, I'd like to know how to remove this completely. I have already pulled out the largest sorrell plant, and pulled out most of the seedlings that have clumped in various places as deep as I could. Is it feasible to diligently wait for any new rhizomes/seeds and pull them out constantly until I hope to get all of it?

Another questions is...is most plants with milky insides likely to be weed? It's a silly question I suppose...but I've gone through several weeds that have white liquid in their stalk/leaves, and was wondering what it does?

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I don't have the same species of Rumex as you do, but if your adult weeds have a deep tap root like the ones in my garden, simple pulling probably won't suffice, (unless you continue to pull as soon as you see any green; the roots will eventually be depleted of nutrients). A better strategy might be to pull initially and then hit the new growth with Round-up before it can contribute to additional root storage.

The milky substance in plants is often toxic or irritating to some degree, e.g. Euphorbias, Asclepias and various plants in the family Apocynaceae. Some insects are immune to this "latex" and can actually attain some of the toxic properties to protect themselves against predators. Be sure to wash your hands if you get any of this material on yourself and be careful not to touch your eyes, mouth, etc.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 9:49PM
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Sheep Sorrel is one of the ingredients of "Essiac Tea" which is used to fight cancer among those who follow Indian Medicine.

You may have a market for it.

Google essiac tea or go to healthfreedom.info and read about essiac tea.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 6:28PM
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botanybob(Northern Idaho)

Rumex acetosella is not tap-rooted but rhizomatous. I find it pulls fairly easily in loose soil, but you need to do more than pull the tops. Loosening the soil with a weeding tool will help you remove a lot of the roots.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 1:08AM
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Sheep Sorrel spreads through very long root systems with new plants growing every couple of inches and part of the root grows deeply into the soil. Once established in the garden it is difficult to eradicate even with plant poisons. I have, very carefully, pulled out root systems 12 feet long with many branches and had to dig down 3 feet sometimes to get as much of the "tap" root as possible. Diligence is the only cure for Sheep Sorrel, unless you like the peppery taste of this plant. It does make a good addition to a salad although you might not want to add a lot.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 7:45AM
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Lettuce also has milky sap and sends up a tall shoot with small flowers. You could be seeing mature lettuce plants

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:00PM
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If i was to send you a tube and postage you think I could have some of the Sheep Sorrel.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 3:33AM
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Sheep sorrel usually indicates 'sour' or acid soil. Sometimes just putting down lime will get rid of it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 6:31PM
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