Successfully combat the sorrel in the garden

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The horny sorrel (Oxalis corniculata) is native to the Mediterranean region and is considered to be a neophyte or archeophyte in Central Europe, since it has been present in the wine-growing regions of Southern Germany for centuries and is considered naturalized. The horny sorrel is a typical example of plants that benefit from the creeping climate change. Due to its Mediterranean origin, it is well adapted to longer periods of drought and spreads to the north due to the increasingly dry and hot summer and mild winter. The plant withers in dryness and retreats into its fleshy taproot. As soon as the climate becomes moister again, it drives out again. The reddish brown overflowed leaves are an adaptation to strong sunlight.

For the distribution of his offspring, the horn-sorrel has also developed a sophisticated strategy: he hurls his mature seeds when popping the capsules sometimes several meters, which is why he also bears the German name Spring Clover. The seeds are also carried away by ants - they are keen on the fatty appendage, the so-called Elaiosom. In addition, the horny sorrel spreads in the vicinity of Wurzelausläufer. In the garden, the horny sorrel is often found in lawns and paving joints, but sometimes in the flower beds, as long as enough sunlight reaches the ground. It does not thrive in very shady locations.

Check pot bales on horny sorrel

In most cases, the horn-sorrel is introduced by newly purchased plants in the garden. Therefore, check the surface of each pot bale and pluck the horny sorrel together with its taproot before placing the new plant in the bed. To exclude that there are other seeds in the potting soil, it is best to completely remove the upper, slightly rooted soil layer and dispose of it in the household waste.

Remove horny sorrel from beds

Once the sorrel has settled in the garden, it is extremely tedious to fight it. Therefore, become active as soon as you discover the plant: as long as it has not flowered, it can not spread further, at least via seeds. Chop the plants in the bed with a sharp hoe aboveground or pluck them ideally with their roots out of the ground. The latter, however, is only possible on very light, humus rich soil - in loamy soil, the root is usually anchored so firmly that it breaks off at ground level.
When the sorrel forms individual closed surfaces, it is worth loosening the soil bit by bit with a small hand fork and then tearing out the plants with their roots. Once you have cleared the bed of the plant, you should immediately plant larger open areas with perennials or ground cover so that the soil soon disappears completely under the plant cover. In addition, you can cover the earth about five inches high with bark mulch to suppress the new budding.

Fight horn sorrel on paved surfaces

The heat- and drought-loving Hornsauerklee likes to settle in paving joints. Here he can of course fight in the traditional way with a good Fugenkratzer, but this is quite tedious. Faster is the flaming with a special device. Keep the gas flame on each plant for one or two seconds at a time - enough to destroy cell structures, even if the sorrel initially shows little signs of damage externally. He dies aboveground within the next few days. A root-deep fight is not possible by heat, therefore, you have to repeat the flaming several times a year.

Sour clover (Oxalis corniculata) in pavement joints

Horny sorrel (Oxalis corniculata) likes to settle in paving joints

Horn sorrel in the lawn

It is often recommended to simply lime the lawn when it is riddled with horny sorrel. However, this does not bring much, because the sorrel is by no means an acid indicator, although its name suggests. It also grows easily on calcareous soils. Nevertheless, it is above all to improve the growth conditions of turf grasses, if you want to fight the horny sorrel. So first measure the pH of the soil and sprinkle garden lime as needed. Then you should provide your lawn with good nutrients. If the green carpet is well in the juice about 14 days later, renew your lawn by mowing it deeply, scarifying it thoroughly and completely reseeding. Where the horny sorrel is particularly dense, you should shave off the entire turf flat after scarifying and apply a little new topsoil. What the horn-sorrel does not like are very moist soils. If necessary, water the newly sown lawn generously until the grasses form a closed scar again.

Combating with herbicides

Whether he wants to combat the horny sorrel in the garden with chemical herbicides, every hobby gardener has to decide for himself. Even if it concerns funds that are approved for the home garden, we advise against their use in principle. The situation is different with organic products based on acetic acid or pelargonic acid. However, they only spoil the above-ground part of the plant, so the taproot will re-emerge after a certain time. In addition, it should be noted that with herbicides in the bed only the unwanted plants - they do not distinguish between "friend and foe". For lawns, on the other hand, there is a chemical that eliminates dicotyledonous plants that are monocotyledonous, which includes all grasses, but has no effect. By the way: on pavement surfaces, any use of herbicides is strictly forbidden!

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