by Ashley Averitt, Justin Hickman, and Kyle Grider
Star-of-Bethlehem belongs to the Lily family (Liliaceae), which is closely related to wild garlic and wild onion. It has origins as a cool season perennial ornamental plant, but it has grown into an aggravating weed in home lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields. This plant spreads by seeds and underground bulbs. It emerges in the winter to early spring and flowers as temperatures increase, but once summer arrives the plant will enter dormancy. This plant may be poisonous to grazing animals because it contains high levels of cardiac glycosides, especially in the bulbs.
Often confused with wild onion and wild garlic, Star-of-Bethlehem can be distinguished by darker green leaves, a pale green to white mid-rid, and is covered with a waxy coating. When Star-of-Bethlehem is crushed or mowed it does not produce a strong odor. Leaves are narrow and linear and will blossom a white, six petal flower with distinct green stripe underneath the petals in the spring. Star-of-Bethlehem mainly produces from bulbs and rarely from seeds. The bulb of Star-of-Bethlehem is noticeably larger than that of wild onion and wild garlic.
How to control Star-of-Bethlehem?
- Mowing: prevents flowering and seed production. Come winter, be sure to raise the height at least 2 inches.
- Hand picking, constantly, but make sure you pull out the entire bulb and bulblets.
The following postemergence herbicides are available:
Dismiss and products containing Sulfentrazone have been shown to act more rapidly than other products.
- Dismiss (active ingredient (a.i.)sulfentrazone)
Rate/acre = 8-12 oz/A
- Q-4 (sulfentrazone + quinclorac + 2,4-D + dicamba)
Rate/acre = 7-8 pints/A
- RoundUp Pro (glyphosate) + Mowing (in dormant turf)
- QuickSilver (a.i., carfentrazone)
Rate/acre = 2.1 oz/A
- Surge (a.i.’s, sulfentrazone + 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba)
Rate/acre = 3 to 4 pints/A
Non Residential Turf:
- Buctril (bromoxoynil)
Rate/acre = 1-2 pints/A (2EC) or 0.5-1.0 pint/A (4EC)