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How to Destroy Wild Onion Plants

By Megan Shoop

Wild onions, also called field garlic, have long, green stems that grow high above regular lawn grass. The bulbs are tiny and white, separating and producing new bulbs at a very swift rate. It is this divisive reproduction that makes wild onions so difficult to get rid of in gardens and lawns.

Herbicides are only minimally effective on wild onions and do not discriminate, killing grass and good plants along with the onions. You can hand pull them, but this is only effective if there are a few. There is one sure way to get rid of wild onion for good, but it requires good timing and the right tools.

Mark off the area where the onions grow with garden stakes to prevent missing any patches. Drive the stakes into the ground at the outskirts of large patches, or on the edges of an area where several large patches grow.

Push the tiller blades as far into the ground as they will go at the edge of your marked area. Turn the tiller on and push it forward slowly, making sure to hit and chew up every wild onion patch in the area. Till until the soil is fine and loose.

Go over the areas once more with the tiller to thoroughly destroy all wild onion stalks. Check the areas carefully for any patches you may have missed. Run the tiller through the patches you’ve already done, then once again over areas that were missed.


Things You Will Need

  • Motorized tiller
  • Garden stakes


  • Wait until late in the growing season to remove the onions. From October to December, wild onions are semi-dormant, developing the nutrients to divide into new bulbs. They will not divide into new bulbs until spring, making fall the best time to get rid of the parent plants.