- Author: Marime Burton
I know it’s spring regardless of the weather. The oxalis (Oxalis stricta) also known as yellow wood sorrel, is trying to take over ... and doing an excellent job of it.
The pretty little yellow blossoms we called sour grass when I was growing up are not nearly as much fun to taste as they once were. They are decidedly less welcome now that I’m an adult trying to keep them from commandeering every available spot in my yard. They even come right up through the sand in the sandbox.
An herbaceous perennial, oxalis is found in fields, wooded areas and of course, our lawns and flower beds. The word “perennial” means it may go away for awhile when the weather’s really cold or really hot, but when conditions improve Oxalis is ready for duty. It can discourage the most fervent gardener.
Most of us spend at least some time pulling it out of the ground. It responds cheerfully by coming back better than ever. Digging it out is marginally more effective but the digging may need to go much deeper than we think to get every part of the plant. I tried sheet mulching a few years ago, which showed promise. Unfortunately, the area I covered was circular and I learned the hard way the importance overlapping the cover material. A circular design requires careful overlapping of layers to assure absolutely no light reaches the plants.
Oxalis has an uncanny ability to pop up a new plant just as you stop to admire an otherwise weed-free garden. Maybe it’s best to bow to the inevitable and cultivate an appreciation for that bright yellow presence with its shamrock leaves. After all, St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner!