Our last post talked about the clover-like Black Medic weed and how to take care of it. This time, we’d like to talk about another clover-like weed that may be giving you more headaches than good luck. Yellow Woodsorrel!
Yellow Woodsorrel (also known as pickle plant, sour grass, or lemon clover) is an opportunistic weed that starts showing up after spring problems like insects or herbicides that remove other weeds leave openings in the grass. It will branch and creep over the ground, making it hard for anything else to grow there. It’s very hard to contain Yellow Woodsorrel because not only can it sprout roots at any place a lead node touches the ground but it also disperses seeds from its cylindrical pods by violently shooting them up to several feet away. So, even if you enjoy it carpeting certain areas, it’s probably going to end up in areas you don’t want it—like flowerpots, garden beds, or the middle of your lawn.
Identifying Yellow Wood Sorrel
How can you tell if your weed is Yellow Woodsorrel? Yellow Woodsorrel looks like a clover, with heart-shaped leaves that fold up during the night. The flowers are small and buttery yellow with five petals and the leaves grow in clusters.
Luckily, like with most weeds, there are easy ways to help reduce this pest. Yellow Woodsorrel does not enjoy shade, so keep that grass high and full and it will have a much harder time taking root. Mulch can also help with this. In addition, Yellow Woodsorrel likes well-drained or dry soil, so keeping your lawn fertilized and well-watered helps. Generally, it prefers alkaline soil (pH values above 7), so testing the pH of your soil might be a good idea. There’s also always the option of hand weeding, though be sure to be as thorough as you can and watch out for seed pods—just touching them can cause them to erupt and make your problem a whole lot worse.
Benefits of Yellow Woodsorrel
If removing it is proving too problematic, there are many people who enjoy Yellow Woodsorrel and even choose to grow it. It’s not only edible but also medicinal. It can be eaten in salads, brewed into lemonade-like teas, munched as a sour snack while in the yard, or used as a seasoning. Yellow Woodsorrel is used as a diuretic, coolant, astringent, and stomach soother. It’s high in Vitamin C, though eat it in moderation because it is also high in oxalic acid, which can be toxic (especially to people with kidney problems).
Yellow Woodsorrel is particularly resistant to herbicides, so use caution when administering it or consider finding an alternative. Organic sprays that will kill it are Horticultural Vinegar and Natria’s Grass and Weed Killer but you might even find you prefer it around instead of fighting it!
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