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Oxalis WeedHow to Get Rid of Oxalis Weed 

We here at Solutions understand the plight of the lawn owner when it comes to weeds. Some weeds are manageable, but there are others that want to make you want to tear your hair out. One of those type of weeds is Oxalis, which has over 800 different species which go by various names like wood sorrel, false shamrocks and sourgrass. These things are found all over the place which means that they could be near you.

To get rid of oxalis (or any weed for that matter) you first need to know the background information on the weed and do a little bit of homework to see what conditions this type of weed likes, what it doesn’t like and then based on the information, approach with a control program. This is where we can best help.

Here at Solutions Pest and Lawn, we’re dedicated to serving you with not only supplying the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry, but also we want to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

Our motto is, “Ask us, then do it yourself”. Aside from our customer service line where you can talk live to an expert, you can also email us your specific questions and concerns at askapro@solutionsstores.com and we’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

View our selection of products we recommend for getting rid of oxalis and then scroll further to learn how to tackle oxalis in depth using our patented 4 step process.

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How To Get Rid of Oxalis: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification. Before moving forward with control and removal, it’s important to make sure that the weed you are encountering on your lawn is in fact oxalis and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Proper identification of the weed you wish to remove from your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and can also point you in the right direction of which products can best treat that particular weed.


This is important because some common lawn weeds have a high tolerance or resistance to certain weed killers. There are also herbicides out there that are specifically labeled for oxalis while others are not. If you mistakenly ID a weed on your property as oxalis when it is not, you may accidently purchase a herbicide not meant to tackle it and it will lead to ineffective results and will be a waste of money for you.


Oxalis, also known as wood sorrel, looks very similar to another weed called clover, with the signature three parted rounded leaves. The mounding plants grow 6 to 12 inches tall and sport attention-grabbing shamrock-shaped leaflets in various color combinations including ones with speckles. Oxalis leaves arise from a creeping rootstock and unlike clover, the plant bears flowers which vary in color from yellow to white or purple, depending on the species. At night the leaflets fold back and droop.

 

As always, if you are unsure whether or not the weed you are seeing is oxalis or something else, you can contact us at identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.

 

Step Two: Inspection. Once the plant has been properly Identified, you can then move to the inspection process. Oxalis thrives in light shade and moist poorly drained soil but can manifest itself in almost any type of soil. You will be able to easily notice oxalis on your property due to its shamrock like leaves and if its mature, it's bright flowers.

 

Oxalis grows low to the ground and even after handpulling and mechanical control methods, it can return from just a small left behind stem fragment, fragile breakable rhizomes or bulbils. It produces potent seed and also depends upon pieces of its parts being transported by animals or people to move and establish new areas. When the seed pod of oxalis matures, it can hold as much as 5,000 seeds, making it so it can spread like wildfire across your lawn and garden. It is often seen forming thick clusters of groundcover in open areas on lawns and flower beds.

 

Step Three: Control. There are a number of different herbicides you can use to control oxalis. What you choose largely depends on where oxalis happens to be growing. If oxalis is appearing on your lawn and you have a cool-season turfgrass (such as kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass or tall fescue) a herbicide containing Triclopyr would work best like Triclopyr 4 Brush Killer (Garlon 4)  it is best to use a quality herbicide in the late spring when the weeds are younger and smaller. Herbicides are less effective the older and more mature the weed gets.

 

On warm season grassesch as St. Augustine grass, Buffalo grass or Bermuda grass, use a post-emergent herbicide containing the active ingredient Fluroxypyr Herbicide. You could also use RoundUp Pro Weed Killer and spot treat oxalis. It may need to take multiple applications to get total control of this pesky weed, especially if you have a significant outbreak.

 

Step Four: Prevention. If you're able to successfully eliminate oxalis from your lawn, you need to be diligent in making sure the problem doesn't return. A pre-emergent may be a good preventative measure especiailly if the problem is an annual occurence. Oxalis thrives in open, fertile soil, which is why it can such a reoccuring problem where the soil is so favorable to growth. 


To prevent oxalis from popping up in lawns, make sure that you maintain thick, healthy turf. Fill up any bare spots in your lawn with sod or seed because that is where oxalis weeds will eventually spring up. Mulch garden beds with a two- to three-inch layer of organic mulch to prevent the weed from making a home amongst your perennials or vegetables. Without sunlight, the weed seeds cannot germinate.

 

Have Some Grassy Weeds You Want Gone? View Our Grassy Weed Control Section


Learn More About Oxalis

Oxalis, commonly known as wood sorrel, is hardly one of the ugliest of weeds. On the contrary, many species are favored perennials in garden beds with their delicate clover-like leaves and attractive blooms, yet one species of wood sorrel (oxalis pes-caprae) can be in certain circumstances one of the most annoying and difficult weeds to eradicate.


Oxalis is an annual or perennial plant with heart-shaped leaflets found 3 per leaf which look similar in appearance to clovers. Their flowers have five petals, which are usually fused at the base, and ten stamens. The leaves fold down at night, and open in the day to harvest sunlight.


The mature seed capsules open explosively when disturbed. The petal color varies from white to pink, red or yellow; The roots are often tuberous and succulent, and several species also reproduce vegetatively by production of bulbils, which detach to produce new plants.


Oxalis is a perpetual weedy groundcover, which spreads through interlocking rhizomes that are easy to separate. Each rhizome has the capacity to produce small bulbils. The seeds are prolific and are ejected when ready from little seed cases that look like similar to okra.


Anywhere the stem touches the ground the plant can root with the potential of creating a large number of plants.It also forms a fleshy taproot and an extensive branching root system. Managing Oxalis weeds can be a quite a heavy task due its tough root system and the different methods the plant has to reproduce itself and persist.

It is interesting to note that oxalis has for long been an edible plant eaten by us humans and has a wide variety of uses in cuisine and medicine across different cultures salads and recipes. It has a tart flavor when eaten.

Oxalis has two properties that make it particularly problematic. One is the vigorious network of bulbs that it develops, making it infeffecting to hand pull or mechanically remove. Secondly, while most perennials weeds are active during the summer, the primary growing season for oxalis is the winter.


Why is this a problem? It is often the case that perennial weeds need to be treated with a systemic herbicide in order to eradicate them. The most suitable systemic weed killers available to gardeners are those based on glyphosate such as RoundUp. The trouble is that RoundUp's systemic properties--that is the capcity to reach down to the plant's roots--are only effective during warm weather and when the weeds are actively growing. Considering that the plant is mainly active during the cooler months of the year makes it tough to use chemicals and timing them correctly to eliminate the plant.


Oxalis is not a disaster in all situations. If it grows in a small flower bed and weeding is a part of routine maintenance, it will not eliminate the weed but will keep it under reasonable control. As mentioned before, the plant is not unattractive. Heavy infestations in a lawn can be more disagreeable unless mowing is carried out very frequently such as every three days or so. If eradication is the goal than it is possible to apply a selective herbicide that poisons broadleaf plants like oxalis without damaging the rest of the lawn. The trouble is that weed killers in this category, such as 2-4D can evaporate easily and by so doing can seriously damage neighboring plants including those in adjoining properties. While their use may be reasonable safe where there are no plants in the vicinity, in the average garden they are liable to be very dangerous.

 

Without a doubt, oxalis comes into its own as a noxious weed in areas of the garden planted with low ground covers. If it is growing with the ground covers it is virtually impossible to get rid of without damaging the desired plants. It is vitally important to eliminate the oxalis prior to planting. Plant new seeds not in the spring but in the winter time when oxalis is growing, treat the oxalis and then plant.

 

For more information on controlling oxalis on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

 

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Oxalis Herbicide Treatment Options

To treat oxalis you need to be about as persistent as the weed itself when it comes both to caring for your lawn and maintaining it regularly and in the herbicide application. Oxalis thrives in dry, open areas but can also be emerge in moist, well-fed lawns. It will often invade lawns that are thin from insect, disease, or maintenance problems. Thus, maintaining a regular schedule of mowing, fertilizing, watering and limiting shade from sunlight can help your soil to be in tip-top shape and discourage oxalis and other weeds from setting up camp.

We recommend using a broadleaf weed killer to tackle oxalis. From our encounters and tests with oxalis, they are easily controlled with Triclopyr, 2 4-D Amine and a three way herbicide containing Dicamba. Take your pick of whatever herbicide you wish to choose but be sure to look to the instruction label for specific advice when it comes to application rates.

Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying

Tips and Recommendations

  • Before applying herbicide, make sure to mow your lawn first. This will cut down some of the grass that is in the way and also it will damage the oxalis and open them up a bit to soak in the herbicide treatment.

  • Use a hand-pump sprayer with a thin tip nozzle. Spraying a fine mist is best when applying herbicides to oxalis.

  • Oxalis flowers, seed pods, leaves and stems can be eaten so you can always eat your weed problem away. However, those with kidney stones or gout should avoid it, as oxalis contains oxalic acid.


Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials

Additional Resources

 

What is Oxalis and How Do I Control It? - Roundup

 

 

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