What are Wild Lettuce Weeds?
Wild lettuce weeds (also known as prickly lettuce) are plants with edible leaves and stems that resemble those of a dandelion or other common garden plant. They grow in grassy areas such as parks, sidewalks, driveways, and even your front porch. These plants have been used medicinally for centuries. However, they are now becoming increasingly popular because of their attractive appearance and ease of growing.
The most commonly grown varieties include:
Lactuca virosa – the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
– the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Daucus carota – the common milkweed (Asclepias curvicauda)
These plants produce seeds that germinate when disturbed. When these seeds mature, they release toxic chemicals called mycotoxins.
These toxins cause symptoms similar to those caused by poison ivy. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and weakness. If left untreated, symptoms may progress to severe illness including seizures and coma.
How do I Get Rid of Wild Lettuce Weeds?
There are several methods for controlling wild lettuce weeds. Some methods involve using pesticides; others require mechanical removal of the plants.
Mechanical removal of wild lettuce is one sure-fire way to make sure that you out-compete wild lettuce plants for sunlight and nutrients.
As with other weeds, hand-pulling is an effective way of removing the weeds from the soil. When hand weeding, take care not to break the wild lettuce’s root system.
This can allow the plant to regrow from its broken roots.
Another effective (but more time-consuming) way of removing wild lettuce weeds from your lawn is to rake them out. Using a standard metal garden rake, gather the leaves and stems that grow from the top of the soil.
When you’ve gathered enough material, place it in a large garbage bag and dispose of it in an outdoor dumpster. This method can be quite annoying, as the process of gathering all of the plants takes time.
Manually removing the plant from your lawn is an ongoing battle, as the wild lettuce will continue to grow back in your absence. To automate the process, you can use pre-emergent herbicide.
This substance can be bought at most home improvement stores in the spring time. To apply it, simply spray or paint the solution onto the soil where you don’t want the wild lettuce to grow.
Alternatively, you can also use a post-emergent herbicide. This substance is sprayed on the plants themselves.
You can also use a combination of these two techniques, using a pre-emergent herbicide and then spraying post-emergent herbicide on the surviving weeds.
You can also use organic controls to manage wild lettuce. The aforementioned hand-weeding is a good start, especially when used in combination with saturated salt solutions (the kind used to de-ice sidewalks in winter).
The salt will cause the plants’ cells to break down and dehydrate, killing them.
Other organic methods include using a stiff brush to uproot the plants, or even using your lawnmower to cut off the plants’ air supply by repeatedly mowing over the weeds (be careful not to damage your lawnmower).
Another organic method uses biological controls to manage the wild lettuce. Predator insects, such as the peacock flower bug, will feed on wild lettuce plants.
By introducing these insects into your garden, you can effectively control wild lettuce.
Using any of these methods in combination will give you a great chance at beating back the tide of wild lettuce in your garden.
Is it Possible to Get rid of Wild Lettuce for Good?
Getting rid of wild lettuce for good is highly unlikely. Wild lettuce is very resilient, and can survive in most environments where it can get a hold. If you are really serious about getting rid of wild lettuce from your yard permanently, you can try some extreme measures.
One such measure involves removing all topsoil from your yard and replacing it with fresh topsoil. This will effectively kill all wild lettuce plants as they rely on the nutrients within the soil to survive.
A similar method would be to remove all the soil from your yard and replace it with fresh topsoil mixed with substances that will destroy the wild lettuce. One such substance is glyphosate, more commonly known as Round-Up weedkiller.
This is a very effective method, but will kill any plants in the area where it is applied, so apply it only to areas of your garden where you don’t care about killing plants.
A final method is the hardest to achieve, but will guarantee wild lettuce eradication. This method involves draining all water resources from the wild lettuce.
This involves digging out as much soil as possible, down to the original bedrock layer below. Then, replace the soil you dug out with paving stones or some other impermeable substance. Since wild lettuce needs water in order to survive, preventing it from having access to it will kill the wild lettuce. This method is very expensive, but will definitely kill all wild lettuce plants in your yard.
Getting rid of wild lettuce in your garden isn’t too difficult. The key is persistence and vigilance.
Do not let it gain a hold in the first place, and keep on top of any new plants as soon as they appear. You can use the methods above or any combination of them to ensure success. Good luck!
Kill Prickly Lettuce in Lawn
What is Prickly Lettuce?
Prickly Lettuce, also known as “Sawtooth Lettuce”, is a plant that can grow in the form of a small bush. It is related to the common garden lettuce, but looks very different. Instead of growing upright with round leaves, prickly lettuce grows low to the ground with sawtooth-like spiked leaves.
Prickly lettuce grows in a wide variety of conditions, including full sun to partial shade. It prefers wetter soil, but can grow in just about any soil type.
While it is a herbaceous perennial plant that dies back in the winter and resprouts in the spring, it does not spread aggressively.
Prickly lettuce leaves can be eaten cooked or raw. They have a pungent flavor and are high in vitamins A and C.
The roots of the plant can also be eaten, but should be cooked first.
How to Get Rid of Prickly Lettuce
Getting rid of prickly lettuce plants can be a challenge. The best way to kill prickly lettuce is to pull the entire plant out of the ground.
You may have to do some digging in order to get all of the roots, as they can grow very deep.
Once you’ve removed the plant from the ground, you can prevent it from growing back by treating the soil with a herbicide. If growing in a container or other defined area, you can also completely remove the soil and treat it with herbicide.
This is best done with a sprayer, as pouring it on the ground can run off and contaminate the area surrounding the prickly lettuce.
Sources & references used in this article:
Seed biology of sulfonylurea-resistant and-susceptible biotypes of prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) by M Alcocer-Ruthling, DC Thill, B Shafii – Weed Technology, 1992 – JSTOR
The biology of Canadian weeds. 122. Lactuca serriola L. by SE Weaver, MP Downs – Canadian journal of plant science, 2003 – NRC Research Press
Altered acetolactate synthase activity in ALS-inhibitor resistant prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) by CV Eberlein, MJ Guttieri, CA Mallory-Smith, DC Thill… – Weed Science, 1997 – JSTOR
DNA sequence variation in Domain A of the acetolactate synthase genes of herbicide-resistant and-susceptible weed biotypes by MJ Guttieri, CV Eberlein, CA Mallory-Smith, DC Thill… – Weed Science, 1992 – JSTOR
Willow-leaved lettuce (Lactuca saligna) has developed resistance to glyphosate in Western Australia by A Hashem, M Amjad, C Borger – grdc.com.au
Pests of composite crops: Lettuce by JC Arthur – 1894 – Purdue University Agricultural …
Grain legume herbicide research in the USA after Roundup-Ready soybean–prickly lettuce and mayweed chamomile by B Emmett – Vegetable Crop Pests, 1992 – Springer
Early spring weeds of no-till crop production (2000) by JP Yenish, RR Rood, J Nelson – … 2006: Managing weeds …, 2006 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org