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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

wild garlic 


*rsity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • College of Agriculture • Cooperative Extension Servic, 

CULAR 1109 


Figure 1 

• 1 A typical clump of wild garlic. (Photo 
courtesy of E. J. Peters, ARS, USDA.) ml The 
leaves of wild onion are flat and solid; those 
of wild garlic are round and hollow. (Photo 
courtesy of E. J. Peters, ARS, USDA.) *3 In 
addition to the central bulb or main stem (B), 
wild garlic produces hard-shell bulbs (A), 
soft-shell bulbs (C), and aerial bulblets (D). 
•4 Some hard-shell bulbs (left) remain dor- 
mant in the soil for 5 or 6 years. Most of the 
soft bulbs (right) grow within a year of two. 

Figure 2 

Figure 4 


• Plant wheat in garlic-free fields. 

• Plow and begin cultivation of row crops early to prevent 

formation of new aerial bulblets. 

• Obtain a vigorous stand of wheat with adequate seeding and 


• Use herbicides in the fall to control wild garlic in pastures 

and noncrop areas. 

• Apply herbicides to wheat in the spring. 

• Adjust the combine to remove as much wild garlic as possible. 

• Dry wheat and clean again. 

Figure 5 

• 5 Aerial bulblets of wild garlic are 
about the same size as wheat. They 
are the main reason for discounts. 

• 6 Wild garlic produces aerial bulb- 
lets in clusters. These mature at 
about the same time as wheat and 
are normally about the same height Figure 7 
as the wheat heads. A single cluster 

may have as many as 300 bulblets. 

Bulblets fall to the soil and produce new plants. They are the major means by which wild 
garlic spreads; therefore, their control is very important. Some "heads" produce flowers and 
seeds in addition to the aerial bulblets (left). *7 Wild garlic "heads" vary in size and shape. 
The "head" in the center is typical. The "head" on the left is double. The one on the right is 
smaller, but the individual bulblets are larger. 

Figure 8 

•8 Do not spray small grain before the 
plants have tillered (left); spray after the 
plants are well tillered and about 4 to 8 
inches high (center). Do not spray after 
small-grain stems are jointing or produc- 
ing nodes (right). 99 As small grain ap- 
proaches the boot stage, risk of injury 
from 2,4-D applications and subsequent 
loss in yield increase. 








2,4-D /<^>y 





Figure 9 

Don't panic. Don't get mad at your elevator operator. He will 
gladly buy your wheat, but he doesn't want your wild garlic. 
Neither do millers, nor foreign buyers. To avoid garlic discounts, 
sell clean wheat. 

The easiest way to produce a clean crop is to control wild garlic 
in the field. Cleaning garlic from wheat requires more time and 
effort, but can be profitable if garlic discounts are high. 

Controlling Wild Garlic 

To avoid a problem with wild garlic, try to plant wheat only on 
land that is relatively garlic-free. Where wild garlic is abundant, 
raising clean-tilled crops such as corn and soybeans for several 
years can reduce the wild garlic problem by preventing the forma- 
tion of new aerial bulblets. Plowing helps to control garlic; 
however, plowing in July and August, when wild garlic is 
dormant, does little good. Begin cultivation of row crops early. 

Obtaining a vigorous stand of wheat that is able to compete 
with wild garlic is important. You can encourage a vigorous stand 
with an adequate seeding rate and sufficient fertilizer. 

Research indicates that applications of 2,4-D can help control 
wild garlic in grass pastures (no legumes), fencerows, and other 
noncrop areas. Applications should be made in November, when 
most of the garlic plants have emerged. One to two quarts of 
2,4-D ester per acre (4 pounds acid equivalent per gallon) is 
suggested. Apply only in accordance with current label recom- 
mendations and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. 

In the spring, 2,4-D can be applied to wheat when the plants 
are 4 to 8 inches high, after they have tillered, and before they 
"joint" or form nodes on the stem. One to 1 V2 pints of 2,4-D ester 
per acre (4 pounds acid equivalent per gallon) can reduce the 
formation of aerial bulblets and distort the wild garlic plants so 
that many of the bulblets will be missed in combining, if the com- 
bine is adjusted high enough and the wheat is not lodged. 

Check current label directions for application rates and EPA 
registration. There is some risk of injury to wheat as the appli- 
cation rate increases. However, if 2,4-D is applied at approved 
rates at the proper time, the risk of injury is usually less than the 
risk from a severe wild garlic infestation. 

Banvel (dicamba) alone, or in combination with 2,4-D, is 
usually at least as effective as 2,4-D alone. Refer to current labels 
for rates, timing, and crops to which Banvel can be applied. 

Refer to herbicide labels for information on aerial application. 

Cleaning Wheat 

If you have wild garlic in wheat, check a sample yourself or 
take one to your elevator operator for an estimate of the number 
of wild garlic bulblets, before you begin to haul loads of wheat to 
the elevator. 

Discounts are based on the number of wild garlic bulblets in a 
1,000-gram sample (about 1 quart). If you are not willing to 
accept the discounts indicated, you can either use the wheat for 
feed or clean it. 

Research suggests that garlicky wheat can be used in feed in 
limited amounts for most kinds of livestock and poultry with little 
or no ill effect on the animal or animal products. 

Although some wild garlic bulblets are about the same size as 
wheat, many that are smaller or larger can be removed by clean- 
ing. Try to clean wheat before storing. There can be some advan- 
tage to on-farm storage since it permits more flexibility in 

The cleaning process begins with combining. Carefully adjust 
the combine to remove as many of the garlic bulblets as possible. 

Use a dryer or store wheat for 6 to 8 months to allow re- 
maining garlic bulblets to dry and shrink. Drying changes the 
size and density of the bublets so that more can be removed 
when the grain is cleaned a second time. 

A second cleaning can be done with a fanning mill or other 
suitable equipment. Use two screens — one larger and one 
smaller than the wheat. Apply enough air to blow out material 
lighter than the wheat. If cleaning equipment isn't available, 
consider running the wheat through the combine a second time, 
after the grain is dry. 

This circular was prepared by E. L. KNAKE, Professor of Weed Science, and 
M. D. McGLAMERY, Associate Professor of Weed Science. 

Urbana, Illinois February, 1975 

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, 
in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. JOHN B. CLAAR, Director, Co- 
operative Extension Service, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
The Illinois Cooperative Extension Service provides equal opportunities in programs 
and employment. 12M _ 275 _ 30443