University of Maryland Extension

Wild garlic-Wild onions

(More Lawn Weeds)  (Lawn Control Options)  

Wild garlic
Allium vineale

wild garlic


Perennial from bulbs.

Growth habit

Grass-like, thin leaves. Wild garlic leaves are round and hollow, while those of wild onion are flat and solid.


Produces clusters of many underground bulbs when mowed.

Conditions that favor growth

Mowing the lawn too short, inadequate fertilization of lawn.


Cultural control in ornamental beds Dig up clumps including small, white bulbs when the soil is moist.


Cultural control: Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.
Mechanical control: Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.
General chemical control: (lawns) 
Spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients: 2, 4-DMCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba* or Triclopyr. For wild garlic/wild onion bruise the leaves by stepping on them to slightly crush them to allow better entry of the chemical into the plant. Multiple year treatments may be necessary due to the bulbous root system.

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Read the product label for precautions. 

Organic control

For a glossary of herbicide terms and additional information see: control options     




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