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March 26, 2016 


These flowers are growing in my back yard. I didn't plant them. What are they and where did they come from? Are they harmful?


Picture of star of bethlehem 


 This member of the lily family is commonly called Star-of-Bethlehem, or Ornithogalum umbellatum. Depending on who is growing it, it can be classified as a wildflower or a weed.  It is a spring ephemeral—here today and gone tomorrow. The flowers usually last for about two weeks.  They are growing from a small bulb underground which can multiply and it also reseeds itself.  A few plants one year can result in a lot more the next. I leave them alone as they aren’t around too long and add some extra color in the early spring/late winter garden.  Folks who like a weed free lawn, don’t always share my opinion.


February 2012

QuestionWe purchased an older home in North Little Rock that has a beautiful St. Augustine yard. It has increasingly become invaded by a clover-like weed. However, in the past year, we have tried to find a lawn care company to take care of this grass, but after several calls, we have received no takers. I don't mind performing the de-weeding services myself but I don’t know what to use. Do
you have any suggestions?

 AnswerAs you are aware, St. Augustine is a lawn grass that is quite sensitive to chemicals. There are several formulations of 2,4-D on the market that are labeled for use on Southern grasses. There will usually be a lower rate of application for St. Augustine grass. Remember, it is better to err on the side of too little versus too much. A few sample brand names include: Martin’s DeWeed Lawn Weed Killer for Southern Grasses, Trimec Southern, and Ortho Weed-B-Gon for Southern Lawns Formula II. It may take more than one application to kill your weeds, but spray lightly. If you go to our extension website, there is a lawn calendar for St. Augustine: and here is the home weed control guide:

May 2010

QuestionI sympathize with your reader who has a problem with Star of Bethlehem. How do I get rid of Oxalis? Is digging it up the only viable solution?

 AnswerLike the Star of Bethlehem, Oxalis (wood sorrel) too has a small bulb or corm underground, which makes it difficult to kill. Pulling it or digging it up if you have a small amount works, but you can also spot spray with Round-up. Just like with Star of Bethlehem, one time sprays will not be effective, and even when you think you have pulled it all it bounces back up somewhere.

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