by Connie Oswald Stofko
Don’t wait until you see the pretty yellow flowers. Look for lesser celandine and get rid of it now.
If you want to use an herbicide, you must do it now before the plant flowers.
Why you should get rid of lesser celandine
If you’re not careful, lesser celandine can spread until you have no grass or other plants in your lawn.
Even worse, it can spread into wild areas and wreak 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 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.
Getting rid of lesser celandine
You can dig up lesser celandine. I was pretty successful in digging it out of my neighbor’s hellstrip last year. (The hellstrip is the strip between the sidewalk and the street.) There were several large patches, and this year I see only one small patch.
The trick is to get all of the tubers. The tubers are tiny, and if you miss one tuber, the plant can come back. See more details here.
Make sure you get at those small patches before they spread, and check for the plant each year to make sure it doesn’t make a comeback.
You can use an herbicide, but it must be applied now, in early to mid-April, said Andrea Locke, coordinator of WNY PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management). If you wait until you notice the flowers, it’s too late.
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.
Follow the directions carefully when using any herbicide.
If you can eliminate the plant by digging it up instead of using herbicide, that’s great! But don’t ignore lesser celandine.
Birds can spread the seeds into natural spaces, where they can crowd out native plants, Harlos said.
You could also try solarization if you have a large area and you are desperate, but that technique might not work well. See more here.