Wild carrot in lawn

(Question)

Please advise–what is my best strategy for removing wild carrot from my lawn? The plants are small year one specimens, never flowered. Also– I live in a location with semi-naturalized areas adjacent, hence lots of rabbits. Will they have any effect– positive or negative– on eradicating this weed? Thanks in advance!

(Answer)

The wild carrot, Daucus carota (also called Queen Anne’s Lace), is a tough beast and even if you only leave a piece of its root in the ground, a new plant will spring up.

Your best bet would be to follow the plant’s life cycle — it’s a biennial: the first year it germinates from seed and develops basal leaves and its tap root. During the second year, it sends up a flower stalk, produces blooms, sets seed, … then dies. Hand-pulling the young plants up by their roots is a good start — best to do this when the soil is moist. The taproots will not yet be deep and tough, and you stand a good chance of getting the whole thing.

If some get away from you and bloom the following year (usually from June to September), pull the plants as early as you can, before the blooms go to seed. Don’t just fling them on the ground (as some seeds could germinate), put them in your bin for the City to compost. This is slow work, and will take a few seasons. You might also want to enlist any neighbours who are harbouring wild carrots to follow suit. Rabbits (and cows) have been known to eat wild carrots, but it’s not among their favourite plants…so don’t rely on the neighbourhood bunnies to do your work for you! More likely, they’ll leap through your yard distributing seeds (which cling to their fur) as they go.

The wild carrot is one of 23 noxious weeds listed in the general regulation to Ontario’s Weed Control Act. You’ll find a good overview of the plant at OMAFRA’s Noxious Weeds Profile – Wild Carrot.