What is Oxalis and How Do I Control It?

Also known as wood sorrel, oxalis grows throughout the year in mild climates.

Also known as wood sorrel, oxalis grows throughout the year in mild climates. Unfortunately, it's incredibly prolific, spreading via both its stem and its seeds. To keep oxalis from running rampant in your lawn, you need to take quick action.

What Is Oxalis?

Oxalis is a common weed. There are actually over 800 different species of oxalis, but the ones most commonly found in lawns are yellow wood sorrel and creeping wood sorrel. You might easily mistake oxalis for clover, so look carefully for what sets it apart: 3 heart-shaped leaflets and small, 5-petaled, yellow flowers. While it prefers dry, open areas, this persistent weed will also do just fine in moist, nutrient-rich soils, and will grow in both sun and shade. No matter where you find it, you'll want to kill oxalis as soon as you see it – wait too long and the weed will produce seed capsules that explode when touched.

How to Control Oxalis in 3 Simple Steps

1. Forget Hand-Pulling

Getting down on your hands and knees for some good old-fashioned yanking is NOT the way to control oxalis. This weed has a seriously tough root system, with roots that branch out and grow deep. If you accidentally leave even a sliver of a root behind when hand-pulling, oxalis will simply grow right back.


2. Grab the Roundup® For Lawns

For a surefire way to control oxalis, use Roundup® for Lawns, which is specially formulated to kill listed weeds without hurting your lawn when used as directed. But don't be dismayed if a few new plants pop up and you have to spray more than once -- it's not unusual to need repeat applications to control this tenacious weed, especially if you've got a lot of it to start with.


3. Prevent It

It's also possible to prevent oxalis from showing up in the first place by maintaining a lush, thick lawn. Lawns that are thin, weak, and deprived of nutrients are especially vulnerable to being bullied by weeds like oxalis. To help prevent oxalis from getting a foothold, feed your lawn regularly (4 times per year), and mow at a height that's right for your grass type.