The Q&A Archives: Controlling Invasive Yarrow

Question: How do you get rid of the perrenial, Yarrow? It came mixed with wild flower seeds and now has spread everywhere. We feed birds and do not like to use pesticides.

Answer: If it's the ornamental sort with colored flowers, I'll bet some of your neighbors would be willing to transfer the plants to their gardens! Yarrow is an opportunist, and prefers to grow on recently disturbed soil and/or low-fertility soil, where it has little competition. In garden beds, mulch over the rosettes first thing in spring, and the shade will do them in. If it has invaded your lawn, mow the grass high (2 to 2-1/2") to shade it out. If it's thriving there, and your grass is not, you probably need to feed your lawn. Have the soil tested to find out what's lacking and begin a fertilizer program (we can help with that, too, once you've had the soil tested). For a soil test, use a home version like Burpee's (pg 100) or call your agricultural extension office (ph# 612/669-4471) for help. On the bright side, the flowers attract beneficial wasps that parasitize garden pests, so leave a few plants for them!

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