How To Effectively Get Rid Of Pokeweed

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Pokeweed, at first glance, looks lovely. It has large smooth leaves and berries that range from green to purple. It also has stems that are red or purple. Sadly, it’s also very toxic and very invasive.

If you have pokeweed in your yard, you’ll want to eradicate it as quickly and efficiently as possible. These tips will help you to effectively get rid of pokeweed.

To begin, you need to know that birds love the berries and will carry them all over your yard. So you’re going to have to get rid of the berries as soon as you see them come on the plant.


Just one plant can produce over 50,000 seeds and a seed can live for over 40 years. To make matters worse, the berries look delicious and a curious child may ingest them unknowingly. For this reason, you want to keep them out of your yard.

Start by digging up any new shoots. You’ll have to do this by hand. It’s kind of like pulling carrots, you’ll have a thick taproot with a smaller root attached. You may have to water for a few hours prior to doing this so that the soil will be moist enough to allow you to pull them up.

How To Kill Pokeweed

Larger plants may require that you use a shovel and dig around the root loosening it enough to pull the entire root with the plant. Don’t leave any of the roots or you’ll wind up with a new plant (or more).

Once pulled, place your pokeweed on cement or a tarp and let the sun dry them out completely. Avoid throwing still fresh pokeweed into your compost or you’ll have pokeweed growing there. You can throw the dried pokeweed into your compost if desired.

Check your yard frequently for pokeweed. If you’ve had it previously, you need to watch out for it sneaking back in. As soon as you see any pokeweed, pull it out. Get rid of it.

For persistent plants, you may have to resort to an herbicide. One that works well is glyphosate herbicide. Keep in mind that you don’t want to put this on anything else, just the pokeweed.

what is pokeweed

Pokeweed will keep coming back, as long as there is even a shred of the root left so make sure that you get all of the roots when you’re removing pokeweed from your property.

Once established, you may find that you have to repeat this process a few times per year until you’ve completely eradicated them. It will take due diligence and commitment to keep them out of your yard if they’ve ever been established there, especially if you have birds helping to spread the seeds.

Each time you remove pokeweed from your yard, you’re gaining ground. The next time there should be less, it may take a few years to completely eradicate pokeweed from your yard.

You’ll have to closely monitor areas where you have had pokeweed previously. If you see young plants, pull them out immediately.

Pokeweed is very invasive and can quickly take over. although the plant is non-toxic to birds, it’s very toxic to humans. Every part of the plant is toxic to humans.

More than one person has died from eating pokeweed berries or other parts of the plant so don’t take any chances. Teach children to never eat any berries unless you’ve pre-approved them in the yard. Tell them that if they’re unsure, don’t eat them. Just because the birds eat the berries, doesn’t make them safe.

Since pokeweed is a perennial plant, it will return year after year. All it needs is one tiny root to get going. You’ll have to keep it in check and remove it as it begins to grow in the spring. Never allow it to become overgrown or take over.

Everything You Need to Know About How to Get Rid of Pokeweed

If you must use an herbicide on it such as glyphosate herbicide you’ll want to read the directions carefully and make sure that you follow them to the letter. Keep children and pets away from glyphosate herbicide and remember that it can poison them.

Never use glyphosate herbicide where children or pets may later play. If you can avoid using an herbicide, it is always safer.

While hand pulling takes time and patience, it really is the best and easiest method to rid your yard of pokeweed. You may have to repeat the process a few times each year for a few years, but in time, you’ll win the battle over pokeweed and enjoy a weed-free yard.

If you’ve never seen pokeweed before it is commonly found in the Southeastern United States and in the Pacific Northwest. Be sure that you’re familiar with poisonous plants of these regions so that you can ensure that your yard is safe for children and pets.

Jonathan E. Bass

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. I am currently a gardener. I have a small garden behind my house. I love it.

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