Rhubarb plants are well-known for their distinct, broad leaves and the reddish-green color of the plant's stalks. The stalks of the plant are often used in fruit dishes, but the leaves and roots have a high concentration of oxalic acid, making them toxic. If you've got an unwanted rhubarb plant in your yard, it's important to understand that it's a hardy, fast-spreading plant that can take over areas in your yard before you know it. Here are some tips to help you get rid of it and keep it from coming back, though you may find it easier to call a professional lawn care service to help you.

Digging it Up

It is possible to remove a rhubarb plant by digging it up out of the ground, but the process must be done precisely, or you're going to have new plants appearing later. The goal is to ensure that you eliminate the entire root system. If you leave even a single root crown in the soil, you're going to end up with more rhubarb later. Since older plants can have a root spread that's a few feet in diameter, make sure you're working outward from the base of the plant until you reach the end of the roots. Then, pull the whole thing out of the ground and dispose of it in a thick trash bag.

Drowning the Roots

Rhubarb is a hardy plant that can tolerate many changing conditions. This makes it difficult to kill without pesticides. Luckily, over-watering can help you eliminate a plant that's become problematic. Saturate the plant heavily with water, and do this repeatedly over a few weeks. Gradually, the roots will drown and cause crown rot, which will kill the whole plant. Then, you can dig it up and dispose of it.

Lowering the pH

Rhubarb grows best in soil with a bit of acidity in it. It can still grow in somewhat alkaline soil, though it's not an ideal environment. In fact, if you treat the soil to significantly reduce the pH level, you can kill the rhubarb plant.

  • Using Sulfur – apply sulfur to the soil to quickly lower the pH. You'll want to have the soil tested first, though, as you need to know what the current pH is to determine how much sulfur the soil needs. Each brand of sulfur powder must be mixed differently, so follow the instructions closely to ensure that it is properly integrated into the soil.
  • Spreading Pine Mulch – mulch from pine needles that's been mixed with composted manure is another great way to lower the pH. Spread the mixture around the base of the plant so that it forms a circle that spreads a few feet out in diameter. This ensures that the pH change affects the whole root system. Then, work the soil to get as much of the mixture as possible into the soil around the roots.

If these tips don't help, work with a professional lawn care service to eliminate it using more extensive measures. Companies like Heath Services LLC may be able to help.

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