Will oxalis kill my existing plants?

Asked August 14, 2018, 2:28 AM EDT

Hi! I’ve got A LOT of oxalis (I think it’s also called creeping red sorrel) in my flower beds. I really love the look of it and the bees like it too. But, what started out as just a couple little spots has gotten huge over the summer. I’m worried I might be feeding a monster weed. My question is: if I let it be, would it take over my plants/flowers/trees/shrubs and kill them??

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Yes, you do have a lot of oxalis! It's Oxalis corniculata, the kind also called creeping red sorrel.

It appears you have a particularly prolific strain, or it may be that the patch has been present longer than you realize. Most gardeners do consider this oxalis a monster weed and try to limit it because it will fling its seeds 10 feet in all directions!

It's your choice whether to keep it or not. But by the looks of your images, it appears rampant enough that it may well snuff out seedlings and/or normally small-sized but mature plants. Trees an shrubs will survive the onslaught.

See ""Creeping Woodsorrel and Bermuda Buttercup" for management tips. If you choose to go to war with the oxalis, be persistent and you can win.