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How to Remove Star of Bethlehem from your garden and turf

Star of Bethlehem

Sometimes weeds aren’t an ugly sight. This is especially the case with the beautiful white six-petaled flower, the Star of Bethlehem. But a weed doesn’t necessarily have to be ugly to be unwanted on your lawn. The Star of Bethlehem is a very invasive weed and when you are a homeowner that wants a nice green uniform lawn, these invaders can stick out like a sore thumb.

Even worse is that the Star of Bethlehem plant is a hard to control weed when going through the traditional non chemical methods of management like mowing and hand pulling. We here at Solutions Pest and Lawn know the best methods and products to get rid of this troublesome plant. After reading our control approach and implementing it, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that the Star of Bethlehem is not a problem in your yard any longer.

Successful weed control starts with some education. Star of bethlehem is a tricky weed to remove if you go into addressing it without proper working knowledge of what conditions this type of weed likes, what it doesn’t like and then based on the information, approach with an effective control strategy. 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 how, 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 star of bethlehem and then scroll further to learn how to tackle star of bethlehem in depth using our solutions 4 step process.

How To Get Rid of Star Of Bethlehem: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step 1 - Identification: Before proceeding with chemical and manual control methods its best to make sure you properly identify the problem weed as the Star of Bethlehem. There are a number of different herbicides which we carry and not all of them can control the Star of Bethlehem. if you misidentify the weed as Star of Bethlehem when in actuality it's a different weed and then purchase an herbicide, it may be ineffective against Star of Bethlehem because the product may not be able to control Star of Bethlehem plants. For instance, Star of Bethlehemplants can be confused with St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass.

Star of Bethlehem is most often confused with wild onion or wild garlic since it similarly develops from bulbs. The main distinguishing difference with Star of Bethlehem is that it doesn't have the same garlicky oniony odor of those weeds. Star of Bethlehem leaves are shiny, dark green, and have a unique white midrib.  Leaves vary between 4 to 12 inches long, 2 to 6 mm wide, and are hollow in cross section. The other easily identifiable trait of Star of Bethlehem is it's flower which is made up of 6 white petals that collectively resemble a star, hence their name.  Flowers occur at the ends of leafless flowering stems (scapes).

If you have trouble identifying the weed yourself, you can always take a picture of it and shoot it over to us at identification@solutionsstores.com. We will have one of our lawn care experts promptly respond to you with the proper ID of the weed and the best recommended herbicide products which can tackle the weed.


Step 2 - Inspection:  Star of Bethlehem grows in clumps and clusters on lawns and landscapes and prefers areas where there full sun to light shade, moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile loam. Growth occurs during the spring; and by mid summer the foliage begins to wither away. Some of the areas where this plant is most common are in cemetery prairies, grassy meadows, sunny or semi-shaded banks of streams and drainage ditches, and miscellaneous waste areas. This species is usually found in sites that have not been maintained well have have degraded , although it can invade high quality natural habitats and outcompete native species of plants that bloom during the spring.

Once you have determined how big of a problem you have with the Star of Bethlehem, you can then move on to control.


Step 3 - Control: To eliminate this weed, you will need to equip yourself with high quality herbicides. When it comes to post emergent herbicides, we have found the 2-4 D Amine formulations work best when the wild garlic is actively growing as well as products containing Metsulfuron like MSM Turf Herbicide (Manor). No matter what you choose we suggest mowing before applying the chemical as it is known to improve uptake.  Make sure you use the proper equipment, such as a poly handpump sprayer, and protective safety gear (gloves, protecting glasses, long sleeve clothing) before applying herbicides to the weed. Alternatively you can use Revolver or Blindside for post-emergent control.


Step 4 - Prevention: After the Star Of Bethlehem has been successfully eliminated from your turf, you will have to make sure the conditions do not allow for doveweed to return. The best way to do this is by keeping your turf healthy, well-maintained and nutrient-rich. Mowing infrequently, allowing more shade and not over-watering can help. Conducting good cultural practices to your lawn will promote a thick lush lawn which will outcompete Star of Bethlehem and make it difficult for Star of Bethlehem to return, grow and establish new seeds.

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


Learn More About Star Of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) is a perennial invasive weed that is Native to Europe and is now a common invader in the United States. It is easily identified by it’s distinguishing white, star-shaped petals that bloom in late spring.  A member of the lily family, when observing the plant closely, one may notice that the flowers have a similar, vaguely trumpet shape as do other flowers within the family, with six petals surrounding a round, slightly protruding center. However all parts of the plant are toxic and hence they should be removed immediately from lawns once they have emerged. It’s pleasant appearance and flowers makes some lawn owners not regard the Star of Bethlehem as a weed at all. The way the Star of Bethlehem spreads is through underground bulbs which can each easily produce seven new bulbs annually so of course very quickly your lawn can be overrun with these plants if nothing is done to control them.

Small clumps of leaves appear mid-spring, and continue to elongate into late spring when flowers are produced. The blooming period lasts about 2 weeks, with flowers opening late on sunny mornings and closing by sunset. Flowering is followed by seed set, and subsequently, stems and leaves die back to the bulb by mid-summer.

There are people who don't regard Star of Bethlehem as a weed at all and welcome it's beautiful white flowers in their landscape. However, if you're trying to keep a green uniform lawn, no matter how pretty it may be, it's an eyesore where it has established and can very quickly become a problem.

Aside from being a frustrating aethetic problem on lawns, it can be a threat in other ways too. This plant is a potential threat to native vegetation. It can form dense stands along the edges of rivers and streams, traveling rapidly downstream to new locations. Since it is still being used in horticulture, it will likely continue to spread beyond its current range. Star-of-Bethlehem is poisonous to livestock when it grows on pastures, as well as to children who frolic around the plant and are curious enough to taste it.

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

Star Of Bethlehem Control Options

Recommended Pre-emergent and Post-emergent Herbicides: 2 4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer, RoundUp Pro Weed Killer, Parazone 3SL Herbicide, SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide


As with any invasive weed, the best time to apply herbicides to control Star of Bethlehem is to attack them when the plant is fairly young and tender. All of our recommended products above have had success controlling the plant, with the best control coming from Parazone containing the chemical paraquat. Sequential applications may be necessary for complete control. Mowing should be delayed following application to give the herbicide time to work. Check the area daily for any new growth and remove any new Star of Bethlehem found as soon as possible.

If the Star of Bethlehem happens to resist the recommended selective herbicides on your lawn, your best best is using RoundUp or Glyphosate, which is a non-selective weed killer. Glyphosate is certain to eliminate Star of Bethlehem and get to the bulbs beneath the soil which is the main culprit to eradicate, but will also kill any plants the quack grass is growing near.

Whether you go selective or non-selective with your herbicide, you will need to commit to conducting follow-up applications. Wait one week and treat the area again. While this may seem a like a lot of in order to control Star of Bethlehem, this is the only way to ensure that you have eliminated this stubborn weed.

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

Star of Bethlehem Control Tips and Recommendations


  • Mix your selected herbicide with a surfactant so that your application can stick to the Star Of Bethlehem weed and not bounce off. Another good idea is to utilize a Spray Pattern indicator to mark areas of your lawn that you have already treated with herbicide to avoid over spraying.


  • Please follow instructions on the label when handling herbicides. Weed killers vary when it comes to application rates.

  • Herbicides chemicals that are handled by lawn owners should always be applied with the proper protection. Protect your eyes, skin, mouth and nose by wearing safety equipment and long sleeved clothes and closed shoes..

  • Want a more comprehensive how-to guide? Browse our knowledge base and check out our helpful How-To Videos to get more thorough step-by-step guidance in applying the herbicides we carry.

To get more information on controlling Star of Bethlehem and other troublesome weeds in your yard as well as receive free help over the phone, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.


Additional Resources On Star Of Bethlehem

Star-of-Bethlehem - osu.edu


Weed of the Month: Star-of-Bethlehem – The Horse


Spring Beauty and Star-of-Bethlehem - Purdue Turf

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