- How To Control and Eliminate Wild Onions
- Key Takeaways
- Getting Rid Of Wild Onions
- Wild Chives Identification: Are Wild Chives Safe To Eat
- Are Those Wild Chives in My Yard?
- Wild Chive Identification
- Are Wild Chives Safe to Eat?
- Nutrition facts
- Health benefits
- Health risks
- Onion history
- Onion facts
- Is your lawn growing onions? How to get rid of pesky weeds
- Getting Rid of Onion Weed Problems
- Path 1 – Natural
- Path 2 – Herbicide
- How to get rid of onion weed
- Foraging for ramps, the wild onions of the woodlands
How To Control and Eliminate Wild Onions
Garlic and onion may make great additions in the kitchen if you’re cooking some Italian food, but on your lawn? Not so much. Wild Onion (and the very similar Wild Garlic) are two pesky weeds that are definitely a sight for sore eyes–and that’s without chopping and dicing them.
Wild onions (Allium canadense) are relatives to the varieties of garlic and onions we buy from the grocery store but with a glaring difference, these winter perennials creep up usually where they are not wanted flower beds or lawns.
Continue reading to learn more about Wild Onion and how you can remove it from you property using professional lawn care products and advice by Solutions Pest & Lawn lawn care experts.
Wild onion have white or faintly pink flowers that are star-shaped. They have long slender leaves that appear like thick grass blades and grow in tall clusters that can reach up to two feet long. Along with making your lawn look unsightly, Wild Onion comes with an equally off-putting smell.
Wild onions are invasive weeds that can reproduce themselves at an alarming rate. Wild Onion produces underground bulbs and also from seeds that are set from their blossoms which can potentially infest your lawn by popping up in more than one spot.
Use our description and image above to help you to identify Wild Onion on your lawn. If you are not totally sure and need assistance with identification, contact us and we will properly ID the plant for you as well as give you the best product recommendations to control your weed.
Where to Inspect
Wild Onions like to grow typically in flower beds or areas of the lawn that are hard to mow. As mentioned in the description, they like to grow in clumps. Look for it in backyards, roadsides, sidewalks, and similar areas.
What To Look For
Look for thick grass blades that are waxy to the touch and give off a strong onion smell.
When you have discovered where the Wild Onion is growing you may think to just pull them or mow them and the problem is solved, right? Wrong.
Unlike other weeds which can be simply controlled by chopping, pulling or spraying, Wild Onions aren’t willing to go away without some resistance. Mowing over the weed or pulling it from the garden will not affect the bulbs beneath the soil, and within just a few days the bulbs will simply bring forth new leaves.
Digging them out is a good option that is proven to work but could be a bit laborious, especially if you have a lot of them to deal with. The most effective way to eliminate them is via chemical control. Our top recommendation is 2,4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer.
Before handling or mixing any herbicide chemicals, please make sure you have the proper personal protective equipment on in the form of gloves, a safety mask and protective eyewear.
Step 1: Mix And Apply 2,4-D Amine
2,4-D is an effective selective weed killer labeled to treat Wild Onion. Selective means that it will only harm the target weed and not harm desired plants surrounding the weed.
Measure the square footage of the treatment area to determine how much 2,4-D you will need. 2,4-D Amine should be mixed with a gallon of water at the rate of 0.75 to 1 fl. oz. (1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons) per 1,000 square feet. Mixing 2 4-D with a surfactant like Alligare 90 (at a rate of 0.33 fl. oz.) will help the product to stick better to the weed and make the herbicide work more effectively.
For example, if you have a 2,000 sq. ft. area to treat, you will need to mix 1.5 to 2 fl. oz. in 2 gallons of water. Once you have made your measurements and calculated how much 2,4-D you need, mix the product and surfactant with the appropriate amount of water in a handheld or backpack sprayer. Shake the sprayer to ensure the solution is well-mixed and then you’re ready to spray.
When applying, change the nozzle set to a fan nozzle so it will spray a fine mist on the plant and get an even coating on the Wild Onion.
Wild Onion should ideally be treated during early fall to November and re-treated near the end of winter into early spring (February or early March) before these plants can produce the next generation of bulbs. However, be careful not to apply most weed killers onto centipedegrass or St. Augustinegrass during their spring green-up period. Inspect the lawn again in the spring and the next fall, and treat if necessary.
Once you have eliminated Wild Onion from your lawn, you will need to implement some preventative measures which ensure that this stinky weed doesn’t make a comeback.
Wild onions have thin leaves that can easily shed pre-emergent herbicides. They also have a waxy coating which helps prevent absorption of the herbicide. With that being said, spraying the plants once will not do the trick.
Treat the Wild Onion in November and reapply in March when Spring is in bloom. You also may need to repeat this process for the next couple of years since Wild Onion bulbs can stay dormant in the soil for up to 6 years.
- Wild Onion is a common weed that grows on lawns and flowerbeds and have distinctive onion smell.
- To treat growing Wild Onion, we recommend applying 2,4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer.
- Prevent Wild Onion by monitoring your lawn in the Fall and early Spring for a few years and reapply herbicides since the weed’s bulbs can stay dormant in the soil up to 6 years.
Getting Rid Of Wild Onions
Does anyone know how to get rid of wild onions in lawns without having to dig them up? That’s not practical. The space is about 3/4- 1 acre, riding lawnmower doesn’t kill them and garden poison doesn’t either. They are not fit to eat. They look like chives or bunching onions. Sure hope someone has an answer. Advertisement
Thanks. Great granny Vi
Getting Rid Of Wild Onions
Just curious. Are these wild onions what they consider to be wild leeks? If so, put up an ad because around here, people go wild for them. Excuse the pun, but I’m serious. They are incredible pickled and are a natural antibiotic. Once dug up, they won’t return.
By Donna Marie
Round-UP will kill anything! (03/12/2005)
Round-up will also kill off all the grass if this is a lawn they are growing in.
I was told to put a thin dusting of lawn lime to get rid of wild onions, I have not tried it yet.
Do your wild onions sprout a 4-5 leaf white flower? I have what looks to be the same thing in my yard and they are multiplying rapidly every year. If I dig up the whole plant it seems to work, otherwise if I pull off the tops they are like rabbits breeding. I can’t spray Round Up because they are in my flower beds also. (04/17/2005)
I have been told that the only way to stop wild onions is to dig them up. Round Up will not even stop them.
I contacted a local nursery that has been in business for over 2 decades, they recommended a product called Weed Out. The only problem is that Lowe’s and Home Depot do not sell it. The only place that we have found it at is Espisito’s, a 2 hour drive from our home. (03/09/2007)
My daughter just called me yesterday and asked how to get rid of wild onions. I told her Roundup, but to keep from killing things around, apply it using rubber gloves and a sponge. Rubbing vigorously will break the wax on the leaves and get better results. One lady mentioned her neighbors’ onions smelling loud. The only way they will smell that way is if they are crushed or mowed. Mowing makes them smell wonderful and I want to fry up a mess. (03/23/2007)
Weed-be-Gone will kill wild onions, but you have to spray in early spring when they are tender and growing rapidly. It works really well on young bunches. On mature bunches you may have to mow over them and spray in about 4 days when they have 4-6 inches of new growth. Wild onions do come back over time, from neighboring property, etc., but this works for about 2-3 years. (03/24/2007)
I put on a heavy rubber glove and with a sponge doused in no less than 50/50 water and Round-up, I start at the roots and sponge the round up on the onions. They die pretty quickly and it only took me 2 springs to kill the entire yard of onions. It was time consuming the first time, but going back and only picking on the ones that didn’t turn yellow was the way I got rid of them. That is now my system for undesirables. Spot kill. (03/27/2007)
By onion fields no more
I’ve gotten rid of them in two ways. Both work wonderfully. The second is a bit easier than the first.
The first time I got rid of them I dug them up. A whole yard full of them. 12″ down. A yard of 20 by 45. I had the dirt hauled away. Had new brought in from 40 miles away. Gorgeous plan & it worked.
The second time I got rid of a much smaller batch, though still quite large. I used a great chemical killer. It wiped them all out, and their future relatives, in 2 applications. Bravo for chemicals in this case.
Good luck folks.
By Chico Tim
I read that you can cut your lawn and a week later cut your grass again. I tried this and guess what, it really works. I cut my grass. In six days I cut my grass again. Five days later I cut my grass again. Now I don’t have wild onions and I have not cut my grass in a month. Please note that I did not use chemicals. (06/20/2007)
By E Holt
Dig them up. Wash them. Sauté them with wild morels. Eat them. (09/16/2007)
There is a product called “Image” manufactured by Amdro, that will do the trick. (09/17/2007)
We have dug them up several times and they still return. Thanks for the tips in these feedback. (03/07/2008)
Could you try boiling water or a steamer with a long extension cord? No chemicals and it might work. Heard it works for crabgrass and weeds coming through sidewalks. (03/07/2008)
By Vickie Kibellus
I hate these doggone things. They are completely taking over my yard. Ah! I did some research online and found a lawn, landscape, and gardening website at: www.stwebsite.com that has a link and an answer to my prayers. “Kill Wild Onions, Wild Garlic, and Wild Leeks”. I will give this a try. I have tried everything else. I might simply resort to eating them. Up to now that seems to be the only thing that they might be good for. LOL (03/09/2008)
By Steve Slater
I sprayed Round Up in the bottle all season one time and it did nothing but pucker the smooth leaves. We took the whole summer once and removed every plant, and I mean every one, but obviously there were bulbs left. We’ve learned to live with them. They appear in March and are gone by May. Our dense St. Augustine lawn hides them in summer. (03/22/2008)
Go to any farm store (like TSC if you have one in your town/city) or seed store and ask for 2,4-D. You can only buy it in 1 quart size which is more than anyone needs for their yard. Any size above that you need a special license. It will wipe out wild onions and most other unwanted weeds in your yard. It killed most of the onions in my yard with one spraying and after a second round they were all gone for the summer. Very few came back this spring and you can spot treat those. (04/06/2008)
A 2-4-D based weed control will get them eventually. It make need two applications two weeks apart. You should add a surfactant to the mix to help it stick to the onions better. You will get better control. 2-4-d is the common AI in many selective broad leaf weed controls. (10/05/2008)
The safest is to mow every 3 to 5 days, two or three times. This injures the plant enough to kill the deep bulbs/roots. No showing plant, no photosynthesis equals no plant.
Chemical is costlier and still safe. Speedzone mixed at 1 to 1.5 ounces to 1 gallon of water, sprayed at 7-14 day intervals 2 or 3 times. Let dry at least one hour before letting children or pets on lawn. Turf is safe when sprayed, not doused. (10/11/2008)
I have the same problem in my yard. I believe what I have though is wild garlic and not wild onion. However, as an internet buff and an anti-wild whatever they are, I found a site that seemed to help me: www.killwildonions.com. I love looking for something, and simply adding the “.com” at the end. Worked for me. Just thought I would add my 2 cents for what it is worth.
By Steve Slater
George Weigel Wild onions will never grow bulbs the size of store-bought ones. It’s not in their genes.
My yard has tons of wild onions. I quit counting at 107 clumps. I’m curious… could I plant these like an actual onion and get a larger bulb?
A: In good garden soil, wild onions might grow a little bigger than in the lawn, but you won’t get anything remotely close to the bulbs sold in stores or grown from onion sets or seeds. It’s not in their genes.
More than a few people subscribe to the wild-onion game plan of “if you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em.” Wild onions (Allium canadense) are edible, and many people pick them while backpacking or cook them in soups.
A few caveats, though. Be sure these really are wild onions (sometimes called “wild garlic.”) There are a few look-alike plants that are poisonous. Wild onions have a distinctive onion scent, so check for that before eating.
Also be sure the plants are cleaned and not subjected to any lawn herbicides if you’re gathering from the lawn. Some say the texture of wild onions is tougher and stringier than garden-grown cousins.
Finally, be aware that wild onions show up on lists of plants that are toxic to cattle. So don’t share your wild onions with the family cows.
Wild Chives Identification: Are Wild Chives Safe To Eat
We cultivate our chives in amongst our herb bed, but did you know that wild chives (Allium schoeneprasum) are one of the most common and easy to identify wild growing plants? What are wild chives and are wild chives edible? Read on to find out about wild chive identification and if wild chives are safe to eat.
Are Those Wild Chives in My Yard?
Wild chives are indeed so common you may have wondered “are those wild chives in my yard?” It is very likely the case. These perennial monocots reside in the onion genus and are the smallest species of onion. They are the only Allium species native to both the Old and New World and can be found throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
Chives have been cultivated in Europe since at least the 16th century, but wild chives have been used according to Egyptian and Mesopotamian records to 5,000 B.C. Native people used wild chives medicinally as well. Depending upon the culture, wild chives were used to stimulate the appetite or rid the system of worms, clear sinuses, as an antiseptic, or to treat a variety of maladies from insect
bites, hives, burns, sores, and even snakebite.
Wild chives contain sulfur compounds that ward off insect pests. They make a great companion plant in the garden, a natural pesticide if you would.
Wild Chive Identification
The wild chive is easy to identify if you’ve ever seen a domestic chive. They look like a clump of grass as they grow except that the leaf blades are not flat like grass but rather cylindrical and hollow.
Wild chives will be one of the first plants to appear in the spring and easily stand out amongst the dormant grass. Wild chives grow between 10-20 inches in height. The aroma is lightly oniony, and while there are other plants that look similar, the poisonous mountain death-camas, for example, they lack the distinctive aroma.
Wild chives can be found growing in USDA zones 4-8 among grasses and natural areas.
Are Wild Chives Safe to Eat?
While historically wild chives have been used medicinally, modern people use chives as a seasoning or on their own, sautéed as a vegetable. They impart a wonderful delicate onion flavor to soups and stew, and can even be pickled. The entire part of the plant can be eaten. Even the lilac flowers of wild chives are edible as well as beautiful when garnished atop a salad or soup.
As mentioned, other plants look similar to wild chives – wild onion and wild garlic to name two. What is the difference between wild onions, wild garlic and wild chives? Wild chives look similar to wild garlic in that they both have hollow leaves while wild onion foliage does not.
Sometimes wild onion is also called wild garlic, which is confusing to say the least. These are two distinct plants, however. Wild garlic (Allium vineale) and wild onion (Allium canadense) and are both perennials often thought of more as weeds.
That said, all three are members of the Allium family and will all have a distinct aroma. As such, when a plant looks like an onion and smells like an onion, you can eat it like an onion. The same goes with wild garlic, which is just a wild version of our domestic garlic – albeit with smaller cloves.
Turns out that onions are nothing to cry over — these flavorful bulbs are packed with nutrients.
“Onions are super-healthy,” said Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin. “They are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals.”
Phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, are naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that are able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. Flavonoids are responsible for pigments in many fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that they may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
A particularly valuable flavonoid in onions is quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant that may be linked to preventing cancer. “It also might have heart health benefits, though more studies need to be done,” said Angela Lemond, a Plano, Texas-based registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Quercetin has a host of other benefits, as well, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, reducing the symptoms of bladder infections, promoting prostate health and lowering blood pressure.
Other important phytochemicals in onions are disulfides, trisulfides, cepaene and vinyldithiins. They all are helpful in maintaining good health and have anticancer and antimicrobial properties, according to the National Onion Association.
Partly because of their use in cooking around the world, onions are among the most significant sources of antioxidants in the human diet, according to a 2002 report in the journal Phytotherapy Research. Their high levels of antioxidants give onions their distinctive sweetness and aroma.
“Foods that are high in antioxidants and amino acids allow your body to function optimally,” said Lemond. “Antioxidants help prevent damage, and cancer. Amino acids are the basic building block for protein, and protein is used in virtually every vital function in the body.”
Sulfides in onions contain necessary amino acids. “Sulfur is one of the most common minerals in our body that assists with protein synthesis and building of cell structures,” said Lemond.
“I like to recommend eating onions because they add flavor without salt and sugar,” Jarzabkowski said. Onions are low in calories (45 per serving), very low in sodium, and contain no fat or cholesterol. Furthermore, onions contain fiber and folic acid, a B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells.
Onions are healthy whether they’re raw or cooked, though raw onions have higher levels of organic sulfur compounds that provide many benefits, according to the BBC. A 2005 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that there is a high concentration of flavonoids in the outer layers of onion flesh, so you’ll want to be careful to remove as little of the edible part of the onion as possible when peeling it.
Here are the nutrition facts for onions, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act.
Serving size: 1 medium onion (5.3 oz / 148 g) Calories: 45 (Calories from Fat: 0)
Amount per serving (%DV*) *Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Total fat: 0g (0%)
Total Carbohydrate: 11g (4%) Dietary Fiber 3g (12%) Sugars 9g
Cholesterol: 0mg (0%) Sodium: 5mg (0%) Potassium: 190mg (5%) Protein: 1g
Vitamin A: (0%) Vitamin C: (20%) Calcium: (4%) Iron: (4%)
According to Jarzabkowski, onions encourage a healthy heart in many ways, including “lowering blood pressure and lowering heart attack risk.” A 2002 study in the journal Thrombosis Research suggested that sulfur acts as a natural blood thinner and prevents blood platelets from aggregating. When platelets cluster, the risk for heart attack or stroke increases. This research further supports a similar 1992 study in Thrombosis Research that focused on sulfurs in garlic. Furthermore, a 1987 animal study in the Journal of Hypertension demonstrated delayed or reduced onset of hypertension with sulfur intake. However, the authors said more research was needed to determine if this benefit might be found in humans.
Recently, health researchers have noticed a relationship between messaging molecules called oxylipins and high cholesterol management. A 2016 study in the journal Redox Biology found that consuming onions increases oxylipins that help regulate blood fat levels and levels of cholesterol.
The quercetin in onions may also help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. But since most of the studies in this regard have focused on animals, more research is needed to understand the effects in humans.
Onions’ sulfurs may be effective anti-inflammatory agents, according to a 1990 study in the journal International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology.
Quercetin has been found to relax the airway muscles and may provide relief of asthma symptoms, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Physiology.
“The polyphenols in onions act as antioxidants, protecting the body against free radicals,” said Anne Mauney, a dietitian based in Washington, D.C. Eliminating free radicals can help encourage a strong immune system. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the quercetin in onions also reduces allergic reactions by stopping your body from producing histamines, which are what make you sneeze, cry and itch if you’re having an allergic reaction.
A 2015 meta-analysis found that intake of allium vegetables, including onions, were associated with reduced gastric cancer risk. According to World’s Healthiest Foods from the George Mateljan Foundation, eating between one and seven servings of onions per week may help reduce the risk of colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancer. Eating several servings of onions a day may help decrease the risk of oral and esophageal cancer.
Quercetin may be a powerful anti-cancer agent, according to Jarzabkowski. The University of Maryland Medical Center said that quercetin may especially inhibit cancer cells in “breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors.”
The National Onion Association discussed a recent study from the Netherlands that showed that people who ate onions absorbed twice as much quercetin as those who drank tea, and more than three times as much quercetin as those who ate apples, which are other high-quercetin sources. Red onions are especially high in quercetin, according to the association. Shallots and yellow onions are also good options. White onions contain the least amount of quercetin and other antioxidants.
Onions may help with some side effects from cancer treatments, as well. A 2016 study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies found that consuming fresh yellow onion helped lessen insulin resistance and hyperglycemia in breast cancer patients undergoing a form of chemotherapy known to cause insulin resistance.
The fiber in onions promotes good digestion and helps keep you regular. Additionally, onions contain a special type of soluble fiber called oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestines. One 2005 study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that oligofructose may help prevent and treat types of diarrhea. The phytochemicals in onions that scavenge free radicals may also reduce your risk of developing gastric ulcers, according to the National Onion Association.
Regulating blood sugar
The chromium in onions assists in regulating blood sugar. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar by triggering increased insulin production. One 2010 study in the journal Environmental Health Insights revealed that this might be especially helpful to people with people with diabetes. People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who ate red onions showed lower glucose levels for up to four hours.
A 2014 meta-analysis in the journal Nutrition found that patients with Type 2 diabetes saw more normalized liver enzymes and lower glycemic levels when consuming sliced onions.
Bone density in older women
A 2009 study in the journal Menopause found that daily consumption of onions improves bone density in women who are going through or have finished menopause. Women who ate onions frequently had a 20 percent lower risk of hip fracture than those who never ate onions.
While not especially serious, eating onions can cause problems for some people. The carbohydrates in onions may cause gas and bloating, according to National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Onions, especially if consumed raw, can worsen heartburn in people who suffer from chronic heartburn or gastric reflux disease, according to one 1990 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Eating a large amount of green onions or rapidly increasing your consumption of green onions may interfere with blood thinning drugs, according to the University of Georgia. Green onions contain a high amount of vitamin K, which can decrease blood thinner functioning.
It is also possible to have a food intolerance or an allergy to onions, but cases are rare, according to an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. People with onion allergies may experience red, itchy eyes and rashes if an onion comes into contact with the skin. People with an intolerance to onions may experience nausea, vomiting and other gastric discomfort.
Lastly, Jarzabkowski encouraged people to make sure their onions are fresh. “Onions keep for a long time,” she said, “but they still spoil.” Onions spoil much faster if they are chopped or sliced. If you cut up your onions for later use, be sure to refrigerate them in a closed container. A 2015 study found that unrefrigerated yellow onions showed potential growth of E.coli and salmonella, though refrigerated ones did not.
According to the National Onion Association:
Onions probably originated in central Asia, in modern-day Iran and Pakistan. Prehistoric people probably ate wild onions long before farming was invented. Onions may have been among the earliest cultivated crops.
Onions also grew in Chinese gardens as early as 5,000 years ago, and they are referred to in the oldest Vedic writings from India. As early as the sixth century B.C., a medical treatise, the Charaka Sanhita, celebrates the onion as medicine, a diuretic, good for digestion, the heart, the eyes and the joints.
A Sumerian text dated to about 2500 B.C. tells of someone plowing over the governor’s onion patch.
In Egypt, onions were planted as far back as 3500 B.C. They were considered to be objects of worship, and symbolized eternity because of the circle-within-a-circle structure. Paintings of onions appear on the inner walls of pyramids and other tombs.
Onions were buried with mummies. Some Egyptologists theorize that onions may have been used because it was believed that their strong scent and/or magical powers would prompt the dead to breathe again.
Onions are mentioned in the Bible. In Numbers 11:5, the children of Israel lament the meager desert diet enforced by the Exodus: “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.”
The Greeks used onions to fortify athletes for the Olympic games. Before competition, athletes would consume pounds of onions, drink onion juice and rub onions on their bodies.
The Romans ate onions regularly. Pedanius Dioscorides, a Roman physician of Greek origin in first century A.D., noted several medicinal uses of onions.
Pliny the Elder catalogued Roman beliefs that onions could cure poor vision, induce sleep, and heal mouth sores, dog bites, toothaches, dysentery and lumbago. Pliny wrote of Pompeii’s onions and cabbages, and excavators of the doomed city found gardens where, just as Pliny had said, onions had grown. The bulbs had left behind cavities in the ground.
By the Middle Ages, the three main vegetables of European cuisine were beans, cabbage and onions. Onions were prescribed to alleviate headaches, snakebites and hair loss. They were also used as rent payments and wedding gifts.
The Pilgrims brought onions with them on the Mayflower. However, they found that Native Americans were already using wild onions in a variety of ways: eating them raw or cooked, as a seasoning or as a vegetable. Onions were also used in syrups, as poultices, as an ingredient in dyes, and even as toys.
Slicing onions makes you cry because when you cut into it, the onion produces a sulfur-based gas. The gas reacts with the water in your eyes and forms sulfuric acid. To rid your eyes of this fiery irritant, your tear ducts work overtime. For no more (or fewer) tears, try moving your face farther away from the onion so the gas disperses before reaching your eyes.
Another suggestion for reducing tears is to first chill the onions for 30 minutes. Then, cut off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact.
Bulb onions are yellow, red or white. In the United States, yellow onions make up about 87 percent of the commercial onion crop; red onions are 8 percent; white onions, 5 percent.
Onions range in size from less than 1 inch to more than 4.5 inches in diameter. The most common sizes sold in U.S. markets are 2 to 3.75 inches.
Scallions, or green onions, are actually immature yellow, red or white onions, harvested before the bulb begins to form. “Spring onions” and “salad onions” are other aliases for immature onions.
A scallion is not a shallot. This misnomer probably occurs because “échalion” is another name for the shallot, derived from the French échalote. Shallots have a distinctive taste, but the flavor is closer to that of mature onions than to that of scallions.
The largest onion ever grown weighed 10 lbs. 14 ounces (about 5 kilograms), according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
U.S. farmers plant about 125,000 acres of onions each year and produce about 6.2 billion pounds a year. The top onion-producing areas are Washington, Idaho, eastern Oregon and California.
The leading onion production countries are China, India, United States, Turkey and Pakistan.
The average American eats 20 lbs. (9 kg) of onions per year.
To avoid “onion breath,” eat a sprig of parsley, or rinse your mouth with equal parts lemon juice and water, or chew a citrus peel.
- Why Does Slicing Onions Make Me Cry?
- 7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction
- What Are Flavanoids?
Originally published on Live Science.
Is your lawn growing onions? How to get rid of pesky weeds
Meet Mike in Maryland
Mike will appear at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at the Calvert County Home Show at the Fairgrounds in Prince Frederick. Find more details here.
Is onion grass a sign of alkalinity?
Mark in Fauquier County writes: “I have a large lawn that grows an abundance of onions. The lawn covers about an acre and a half so it’s not feasible to try and manually pull all the onions out. Research I’ve done says the presence of onions indicates the soil is too alkaline and I should add lime to the lawn. Do you agree?”
No, Mark, you or your source got it backward. Lime is used on acidic soil to increase alkalinity, not lower it.
But you can add lime — or preferably wood ash — to your lawn if a soil test reveals that the pH is lower than 6.5. Excessive rain can make soil more acidic in our region, and grass will always grow best in soil that’s just slightly acidic to neutral (a pH of 6.5 to 7). Adjusting an off pH will lead to healthier turf that’s better equipped to resist the invasion of weeds like onion grass.
Onion grass directions: Water, pull, repeat
Mark in Fauquier County feels that his acre and a half lawn is too big to try and manually pull out all of his onion grass. That’s probably true — but how much do you use or see the outskirts of this lawn? Removing the clumps nearest your home would probably supply you with the emotional turf relief you seek.
Now, onion grass is a tough weed once it gets established. Herbicides have little effect on it because the above ground growth that gets hit with any spray is tall and skinny, while most of the plant’s energy is underground, stored in and protected by a big onion bulb.
The plants grow new bulbs adjacent to the existing ones every year, resulting in large clumps that are easy to spot and pull in the Spring. Just soak the clump heavily with water, pull slowly at the base and all the bulbs in the clump should pop right out. If the roots don’t come out, you didn’t soak the area well enough and/or placed your hands too high.
Once a clump is removed, it will not grow back.
Again, start by clearing the areas near your home that are the most visible and heavily used. If you have to go searching for a weed, it’s not a real problem.
Better than Green Lantern’s power ring!
A very effective “secret weapon” will make the work of eradicating onion grass go faster.
“The Water Powered Weeder” from Lee Valley Tools is a long spikelike device you attach to your garden hose that allows you to deliver a super-concentrated burst of water to the root zone of offending plants with the pull of a trigger while you remain standing. It’s a comfortable 43 inches long when fully assembled.
Sometimes the laserlike blast of water loosens the roots enough for you to pull the plants out easily; and sometimes it pops them right out of the ground for you!
Note: The Water Weeder was originally designed with dandelions in mind and is just as effective at assisting with their removal.
Speaking of dandelions ….
In his original email, Mark in Fauquier County recounted that he also has lot of dandelions.
Well, those pretty yellow flowers are a sure sign of compacted soil. Assuming that Mark has a cool-season lawn (composed of bluegrass, rye, and/or fescue), he should plan to have his turf core-aerated this coming fall.
Pulling little plugs out of the soil to reduce the overall underground density can do wonders for the health of a lawn, but it must be done at the correct time of year: In the fall for cool-season lawns, spring for warm-season lawns of Bermuda or zoysia.
Relieving soil compaction allows the roots of your grass to grow deeper and stronger and naturally crowd out weeds.
Note: The soil should be bone dry for this procedure and then watered well afterward. Do not attempt to aerate a wet lawn.
Cut sharp, look sharp
The long-term answer to lawn weeds does not lie in herbicides or even in really cool gadgets like the Water Weeder, but with proper lawn care.
The photo Mark sent of his lawn actually looked pretty good, but it’s clear that the grass is being cut too short, and that’s an invitation for weeds to move in.
Get a new blade for your mower or get the old blade sharpened and raise the cutting height so that the grass is three inches high after cutting. And always return your clippings to the turf; they’re 10 percent Nitrogen — the perfect lawn food.
If you cut it at the right height with a sharp blade and don’t steal its food, your lawn will grow the kind of deep, strong roots that crowd out weeds naturally.
Note: In the photo the lawn looked good except for the tire tracks visible at the upper left. You should never drive on your lawn and never never never drive on it when the soil is wet — you can cause permanent damage.
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Getting Rid of Onion Weed Problems
Onion weeds are the bane of most gardeners and lawns. They are very tough to get rid of. They often grow in soils that have low pH levels which means the soil has a higher acidity. The reason they are so hard to get rid of lies in the weeds bulbs. If you attempt to remove the weed by digging it up and shaking off the excess dirt, you have just shaken the numerous bulbletts attached to the larger bulbs at the root of the weed and you have just multiplied your weed problem instead of eradicating it. So what choices do you have?
“Onion Weed” image courtesy of Pod Gardening https://www.podgardening.co.nz/onion-weed.html
You have two paths of decisions if you want to remove the weed. First path is natural and second path is herbicide.
Path 1 – Natural
If you want to use a more natural effect to get rid of the onion weed, there are several options available.
- Remove the source of food – Cover the effected area of onion weed with a few layers of thick black plastic to cut off the weeds ability to photosynthesize and generate food. This will take months and can leave the soil undernourished and will require special attention to regain minerals and trace elements as well as balancing the pH level of the soil.
- Steam – using steam as an application repeated many times over time will eventually kill the weed
- Boiling water – similar to steam the boiling water will scorn the leaf and render it unable to get food
- Dig out weed and clump of soil and remove the whole section of weed and soil in one go. Do not shake or place in your compost as this will only make the weed increase.
- Increase alkalinity of soil Click here to find out more
By using a combination of natural remedies that target preventing food source you are more likely to speed up the time in takes to remove the onion weed.
“Onion Weed Bulblets” image courtesy of Jamie’s Blogspot Garden Amateur https://gardenamateur.blogspot.com.au/2008/10/understanding-onion-weed.html
The flip side of onion weed on the positive side, is that onion weed is fully edible according to Easy Edible Gardening in New Zealand https://www.podgardening.co.nz/onion-weed.html. So if you keep cutting the plants with scissors, you can always place the flower and leaves in a salad and the bulbs can be pickled apparently. Who would have thought of onion weeds in the salad or pickling?
Path 2 – Herbicide
If you want to use a herbicide like roundup, the waxy broad leaf of the onion weed can make it hard to penetrate the plant, and you want to make sure you only dowse the weed and nothing else; otherwise you will kill other plants. Firstly, it would be recommended to cut the onion weed leaf and use a little paint brush to apply the herbicide directly to the cut onion weed leaf. This will maximize the penetration of the herbicide into the onion weed but it still requires multiple re-applications to finally get rid of the onion weed.
This article is brought to you by “Razorback Mowers” to help you get the best looking lawn.
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How to get rid of onion weed
There is nothing worse for the keen gardener than an attack of noxious, onion weed, otherwise known as Allium triquetrum, Asphodelus fistulosus and Nothoscordum inodorum. It is a perennial species of weed that can take over both your lawns and flower or veggie beds and gardens. As more and more gardeners become conscious of organic and non-toxic ways to eradicate weeds, we’ve found a simple and spray-free solution.
What is it?
First things first, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Onion weed is a relatively fast-growing perennial meaning it stores its nutrients within its bulbs to continuously generate growth. This can cause issues for the keen gardener when it comes to removing the weed from garden beds as yanking it out will cause the primary “parent” plant to release tiny little “baby” bulbs at its roots which will then mature leading to a multiplied problem
How do you get rid of it?
There are a couple of different ways to rid the weed from your garden.
For your lawn, keep your grass growing vigorously and keep it in top condition. Healthy grass will out grow and “cut off” onion weed so if you’re seeing it growing through your turf, it’s time to invest some time and TLC.
Eradicating onion weed from your garden bed is a slightly more involved process. You need to prevent the bulbs from storing food while also stopping them multiplying. In unused garden beds, the best method is cutting off the foliage at ground level using a lawn mower or tools to slash away the leaves then covering the area with dark coloured plastic for a few months. This will prevent sunlight and moisture getting to the plant without which it will eventually die off.
In a used garden bed, you’ll need to cut the foliage back as above then mulch your beds with a really decent layer (five to seven centimetres) of mulch to prevent sunlight and water form getting to the plant. You may have to repeat the above a couple of times to fully eradicate the growth.
How can you prevent it?
Onion weed is usually a sign that soil is undernourished and in need of a good compost. Adding organic matter (like manure) to your beds and keeping an eye on soil pH is the best way to prevent the weed growing in the first place.
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Foraging for ramps, the wild onions of the woodlands
Ramps are a safe first project for new foragers. The distinctive garlicky, peppery aroma of ramps — also called wild onions — tells you immediately that you picked the right plant. These are a versatile vegetable, easily used in any recipe that calls for chives or green onions.
“Ramps are one of the first plants of spring and they make anything they touch special, even if it’s just a handful of chopped ramps on scrambled eggs,” says professional forager Kathy Yerich.
She provides gathered foods for the seasonal menus at local restaurants and is co-author, with Teresa Marrone, of “Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest: A Simple Field Guide.” She and her husband, Fred Yerich, served as my foraging guides last year, showing me how to identify and safely harvest ramps.
The operative expression here is “safely for the ramps.” It is easy to overharvest the slow-growing plant, and in some places, including the Canadian province of Quebec, all harvesting is prohibited. Minnesotans have different restrictions (no harvesting on public lands and only with permission of owner on private land). If foragers continue to be careful in how they harvest ramps, the wild onions will thrive.
The Yeriches take me to a deciduous woodland. Ramps grow in shade and moist soil, though not standing water. Their leaves resemble those of lily of the valley, and they often grow intermingled with trout lilies. A careful look at the leaves will distinguish the ramps from the trout lilies. Ramps are a solid green while trout lilies are mottled, like the fish for which they are named. The definitive test is the smell: Crush a leaf. If it smells like garlic, you have a ramp.
Fred Yerich finds an area dense in ramps. He uses a spading fork and digs down, lifting up the corner of a clump. Kathy Yerich pulls, wiggles and coaxes a few ramps loose from the group, then Fred tamps the clump back into the ground.
The Yeriches are on family land, and they are the only ones to harvest ramps here. Still, they take only a few ramps each time and continue moving to new spots so as not to stress the plants, an approach they recommend for anyone harvesting from land that is used in common.
North Carolina State University researchers have developed guidelines for sustainable harvesting of ramps, given that in Appalachia, these are big business. The researchers advise to take no more than 10 percent of the plants found in a clump.
Marrone, local author of many field guides, points out that if one person takes 10 percent, then the next forager takes 10 percent and so on, the clump is soon below the critical mass that ramps need to seed and reproduce.
“The leaves are tasty and taking a couple of leaves from the plant keeps the bulb intact and able to continue growing,” Marrone says.
While ramps are most commonly used whole, there are plenty of ways a cook can use the leaves alone. “The green part is just so good,” says Heather Jansz, who cooks under the name the Curry Diva.
“You can combine chopped ramp leaves and roasted garlic in cornbread or in a muffin mix, knead in a handful of diced leaves in any flatbread recipe, top off any savory squash, put them with boiled or mashed potatoes, or sprinkle sandwiches or salads with sautéed or fresh ramps, and anything with eggs,” Jansz says.
Her favorite way of preparing ramps is to simply fry them in good quality butter or ghee until they are crisp, then put them in a sealed container and refrigerate. She then uses the supply for the next several days on whatever food needs a little extra “oomph.”
When it comes to cooking ramps, whether whole or only the leaves, Jansz says to stick to the basics:
“Keep it simple and enjoy the flavor.”
Makes variable amount.
Note: This recipe is a way to use ramp leaves and any less attractive whole ramps that the cook has. From Carstens Smith.
• Sea salt
• Pink peppercorns
Heat oven to 250 degrees.
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. (The dried ramps tend to stick to the surface on which they’re baked.)
Take a handful of washed ramps and ramp leaves. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Spread the ramps and leaves on the baking sheet so they are flat and not touching each other.
Bake until the thickest ramp on the baking sheet is completely dehydrated, about an hour. Remove from the oven and cool.
Put the dried ramps in a blender or food processor. Pulse until they are ground into a powder.
Grind sea salt and mix into the ramp powder in a 50/50 mixture.
Grind 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns for every ½ cup of ramp/salt mixture and add to the mixture. Store in a covered container in a cool, dry place.
Carstens Smith is a Minneapolis freelance writer.