How to clear Oxalis infestation

I have a patch that I want to plant as a natural meadow. But it is full of small green oxalis plants that seem to make hundreds of tiny bulbs or bulbets. It was covered for 6 months over last winter which cut down on the plants but they have come back with a vengeance. It has been hand-weeded several times but just can't get rid of the stuff underground. Is it going to be weed killer? Or I did wonder if takeing off the surface few inches of the soil and discarding it might be the answer.

Any fellow sufferers or solutions welcome.

Thanks Cate


  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    If possible you can do as I do and go over the plants with a Flame gun. This burns off the seed heads at this time of year, then as Verdun says,it is a question of spraying in Spring with a translocatable weedkiller. Long term job I am sorry to say.

  • daydaisydaydaisy Posts: 364

    I didn't have much success with the flame gun as weeds grew back quickly.image

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    There is a trick to using the Flame gun. You go back the following day and do it again. That seems to finish them off better than a single pass. I find it useful for killing the seeds, rather than the plants themselves. We have a lot of trouble with 'poppers' (cannot remember the proper name, but touch the plant and the seed pods explode). Using the flame gun rather than hand weeding does reduce the new infestations. It also is better in some ways than chemical control.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,359

    Sounds like hairy bittercress, Berghill.  They have a knack of hitting me in the eyes when I'm weeding!  Might try a flame gun for killing the seeds - any recommendations for make/type?

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    Hi Bob, yes that's the one.

    As far as I can see the one sold by Lidl every now and then is a good as any. I used to have one of those Paraffin ones, but it never worked properly for me so I swapped it for a gas powered one. I have a gas powered painf stripper which is just as effective, but you have to go down on your knees to use it.


  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    We use a roofing torch and gas cylinder. OH made a cart for me where he places the cylinder so that I can pull it through the garden and clear the paths and soil wherever I can without touching the other planting.

    I found that you need to be persistent with the perennial weeds and burn them away thoroughly and go back within one or two weeks. You may need to go back several times (especially with dandelions) but in the end you win and they loose, hah!! Do be careful with oily plants as they can kind of explode.....image


  • Glyphosate, and lots of it, regularly!

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    Weedkilller does not destroy the seeds though,

  • When the seeds germinate, and before they set their own seeds, more Glyphosate! When I say regularly I mean regularly, at least fortnightly if needs be, but it soon eradicates it. 

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    We find that in the days btween spraying and the plant dying it can and does go from bud to flower to seed.

  • Hi Berghill

    If you use a good quality Glyphosate based systemic weedkiller, a day or two after spraying, the foliage (and potential flowers) can be strimmed off and removed as the killer is already in the system and working its way around in the roots. I use one called Glyphos, mixed with a little washing up liquid to help it 'stick', spray on the Oxalis and within 5 days they're already wilting and dieing (during the summer months). I think Oxalis succumbs to it quicker than anything else I have to spray. It's just remembering to get rid of those pesky seeds hiding in the soil that makes it a nightmare to get rid of. 

    Hope this helps. image


  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,806

    Belt and braces, belt and braces.

    It is classed as one of the most perncious of weeds, all over the world now. It is one of the few which can and does survive the extreme heat of the professional composting regime. We have had seeds germinate in brand new non-peat compost and sadly in a peat based one too.

  • Thanks for all the advice. Looks like I'll have to re-start my wild flower meadow later than hoped. I agree with the composting comment - this was spread because my compost heap was on this patch & we have ornamental indoor oxalis & the debris had  been put into the compost bin. Hey ho ..

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