It's Not Rhubarb: Tips For Spotting And Removing Burdock From Your Yard

Posted on: 22 August 2016


When it comes to managing weeds in your yard, one of the most important things to consider is your ability to recognize what is a weed and what isn't. For example, burdock is commonly mistaken for rhubarb, but it's an invasive nuisance that will suffocate the roots of your landscape. In addition, it releases thousands of seeds each season in small burrs. These burrs will stick to all kinds of things, including animal hair and clothing. If you have a plant that could be either rhubarb or burdock, it's important to know the difference. Here are some tips to help you both identify and address burdock on your property.

How Can You Tell If It Is Burdock?

Fully-grown burdock plants have heart-shaped leaves that can be as much as a foot or more wide. The plants grow very large, making them unattractive. In addition, the broad leaves block sunlight to other plants in your yard. You'll also know burdock by the pink and purple flowers that it produces.

How Do You Get Rid of Burdock?

To get rid of burdock, you need to be persistent. The large volume of seeds the plant releases can make it a challenge to combat. Start by removing as much of the plant as you can, then treat what's left with a chemical weed treatment.

The best place to start is often to mow the plant over. This cuts it down so that it's as low as possible, and it destroys any existing seed burrs. This will prevent more plants from sprouting. Once you've done this, it's time to dig up the roots. Use a hand trowel so you can be sure to reach the taproot, because it needs to be removed to prevent the burdock from coming back. If you aren't familiar with what the taproot is, it's the thick center root of the plant and it may stretch beyond the root ball.

When the entire root system is out of the ground, tie it in a yard waste bag to remove it from your property. Then, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the entire area where it was growing. This ensures that any potential residual roots left in the ground are unable to actually root and produce. Just be careful when you apply it because it will affect other seeds as well. Use a direct sprayer to keep the application concentrated.

If you're uncertain about the identification of the plant or you need more guidance to get rid of it, talk with a local weed control specialist, like one from Snyder's Weed Control. He or she can confirm the type of plant and help you remove it.