by Connie Oswald Stofko
We have talked about lesser celandine for several years, yet I see more and more of it in my neighborhood.
If you see this pretty little plant in your yard, get rid of it! And tell your neighbors to get rid of it, too.
If you don’t get rid of when you have just a few plants, it can take over your yard.
Plus, it can get into wild areas and create havoc there.
Lesser celandine can outcompete native plants, explained Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, garden writer and speaker. Lesser celandine is an invasive species that blooms before many native plants do, gets the sunlight first, gets the nutrients from the soil first and it flowers first. In addition, animals generally don’t eat it. With all those advantages, it can choke out the native plants that animals depend on.
How to get rid of lesser celandine
There are basically two ways to get rid of lesser celandine: dig it out or use herbacide. If you’re desperate, you might try solarization.
Dig it out
Digging out lesser celandine is difficult because it has tiny tubers. If you try to dig it up and miss a tuber or even break a tuber, the piece left in the ground can generate a new plant.
If you have just a few patches of lesser celandine, digging works well. It worked for me.
Unfortunately, the time to use herbicide has already passed this year. Herbicide needs to be applied before the lesser celandine starts to flower, said Andrea Locke, coordinator of WNY PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management).
If you would like to try using an herbicide, “The best plan would be to clearly mark the area now, while the lesser celandine is in full bloom, and plan to treat in early to mid-April next year,” Locke said.
Common active ingredients found in herbicides for lesser celandine are triclopyr, glyphosate and dicambia, she said. You can find these herbacides in garden centers and other stores.
Don’t be fooled if it seems like the lesser celandine has magically disappeared. The plants are spring ephemerals and will die back over the summer, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone. They will come back again next spring and there will be more of them.
To get rid of lesser celandine, you can also try a method called solarization, where you cover the area with black plastic and try to cook the roots. It may not work well, Harlos said, but you can try it if you have a large area and you’re desperate.
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