Coltsfoot Colony Eradication in Food Garden

(Question)

Clay,moist soil in full sun 12’x12′ area within community garden within a public park.Established x5years now solid colony of coltsfoot with deep rhizomes.Have inquired if Parks dept.could mechanically dig out for us-have not heard back .Tarping difficult due to vandals. Any suggestions appreciated.

(Answer)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a perennial weed native to Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia. It was introduced to Canada in the 1920’s. It can spread by seeds or rhizomes.

Ontario no longer allows chemicals so good old fashioned manual labor seems to be the method of choice.

Flowers show usually in April and you will cut them back before they turn seeds. This first approach reduces seed production and as a result, seed dispersal.

You will have more success to cut, again and again, any leaf that appears, which will have the effect of gradually exhausting the rhizome. Or cover the ground with a black tarp or an old carpet before leaving the leaves and leave this opaque cover in place for at least one year (two years may be necessary if the colts are well established). Both methods prevent the coltsfoot from making photosynthesis and then the rhizomes eventually run out and die.

Tillage operations are not recommended; it helps to spread the weed.

Good luck

https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/coltsfoot.htm