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Don't Let Burdock Dock In Your Yard: Tips For Eliminating This Invasive Plant

Burdock, though commonly confused with rhubarb, is an invasive plant that can take over your yard, suffocate your landscape and release thousands of seeds every year. The seeds are contained in small burrs that can stick to clothing and animal hair, irritating skin. It grows best in areas that are nitrogen-rich and moist. If you suspect that you have burdock in your yard, it's important to confirm its presence first, then be aggressive about eliminating it. Here are some tips for identification and elimination of burdock in your yard.

Identifying Burdock

At full maturity, the burdock plant has tell-tale leaves that can reach over a foot in width. The heart shape of the leaves is distinctive, and its size makes it a bit of an eye-sore, especially since it kills nearby plants and other growth by blocking sunlight beyond the leaves. You can also watch for the clusters of burrs and blooms of pink and purple flowers as indicators that the plant you're looking at is burdock.

Eliminating Burdock

Since burdock can produce so many seeds a year, getting rid of it requires a persistent approach throughout the entire season. You'll need a combination of both chemical treatments and mechanical removal. The chemical treatments will kill the root system, which can be extensive. The mechanical elimination will prevent the plant from spreading any more seeds.

Protecting Your Skin  

Before you take any steps to eliminate the burdock from your property, you should invest in a pair of garden work gloves to protect your hands. The plant can stain your hands, leaving them deep green in color. And, the leaves are considered toxic due to the risk of diuretic effects from consumption and contact.

Mow the Plant Down

Use your lawn mower to cut the burdock plant down to the lowest possible setting. This will destroy any seed burrs and damage the center stalk, which is where the seed production occurs.

Eliminate the Taproot

Use a hand trowel to dig up the plant, making sure that you dig up the taproot, which is the thick center root of the plant. Remove every bit of the taproot to keep the burdock from growing back.

Treat the Soil to Kill Residual Roots

Once you've dug up as much of the plant as you can get to, you'll need to treat the soil in the area with a pre-emergent herbicide. This will prevent any remaining root system from taking hold and reproducing. Make sure that you use a spot-application method, though, so that you don't kill any other plants in the area. Use a small applicator or hand-held sprayer to soak just that immediate area.

Although burdock is a hardy plant that will thrive in a variety of environments, with the right treatment, you can eliminate this invasive pest from your yard. Follow the tips presented here and shop for weed control supplies to get rid of that bothersome burdock plant before it takes over your entire property.