Spanish bluebell infestation?

Q: I have a few clumps of Spanish bluebells infesting different parts of my yard and read that they are invasive and pretty hard to get rid of. Some people say to dig up the bulbs, but this is hard because there are numerous baby bulbs that get away. Other advice says to pull the leaves/flowers out to starve the bulb. Do you have any suggestions for how to get rid of these plants?

A: I, too, have a large patch of the bluebells.

One year I even bet my husband that his method of burning them would not be as effective as my method of frequently removing the tops with a hoe. It was a tie. Both methods took about the same amount of time, although I think I’m a little more thorough so my “plot” has a few less than his — after 3 years of work.

The research says that digging them out is the most effective method, as herbicides don’t kill them. The problem with this is, as you mentioned, the bulblets are small and the bulbs themselves can be very deep.

It’s true that if you cut the tops off every 1–2 weeks they will eventually starve, but you have to be very diligent and it’s hard to keep it up for a whole season. Since you have only a few clumps, I would still go with the digging method. I’m going to try that this year, using a screen to sift out the smaller bulbs.

Persistence is the key for whichever method you try. Thank you for recognizing a highly invasive plant and beginning the process of getting rid of it.

— Rhonda Frick-Wright, OSU Extension master gardener

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4 Responses to Spanish bluebell infestation?

  1. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Beautiful patch of Bluebells.

    Liked by 1 person

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