American pokeweed, or Phytolacca americana, is a strong shrub that doesn’t have woody parts. It grows all over California. Pokeweed is a plant that used to only grow in the eastern United States, from Maine to Wisconsin and south to Texas, Mexico, and Florida. It is now found all over North America. Pokeweed grows in the Central Valley of California, along the coast from Mendocino to San Diego, and mostly below 4,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada. Pokeweed can be found in riparian areas, oak forests, forest edges, fence rows, forest openings, pastures, disturbed areas, vineyards, orchards, cultivated fields, parks, and ornamental landscapes, as well as under power lines.
The plant has many different names, including poke salad, poke sallet, pokeberry, inkberry, American nightshade, American spinach, scoke, and pigeonberry. In the past, pokeweed was used as food, medicine, a herb, a dye for clothes, a writing ink, a wine colourant, and much more. Even though you can eat the whole plant, it is very dangerous and should be handled with the utmost care. Young pokeweed leaves and stems can only be eaten after being blanched multiple times. If pokeweed is not properly prepared, it can cause a number of illnesses and, in rare cases, even death.
Pokeweed can be gotten rid of in 7 natural ways.
1. Pulling out pokeweed by hand
Yes, it seems easy, but there is one catch: the soil where the pokeweed is growing must be light. If the roots are not broken up, this first natural method will just make more pokeweed grow back. But it isn’t enough to just pull from the top. It needs to be supported from the bottom up, like a carrot.
2. Digging Larger Pokeweeds
With this choice, you will have to dig deep until you reach the taproot. This means you’ll need to dig a 12-inch-wide circle around the plant. This will have to be done with a spade, and it will take a long time. You could also use a rototiller to break up the dirt and make it easier to dig.
3. Sun The Pokeweeds
So you’ve found all of them, but you’ve just been turning them over on the side. Pokeweed can grow in different places, and you want to get rid of it for good. To do this, pull them out of the ground (using tarps, bags, etc.) and put them in the sun to dry out and die. Make sure they’re dry before you put them in a container, burn them, or bury them in the compost.
4. Constant Pokeweed Removal
As was already said, pokeweed can grow even in the worst conditions. Because of this, it is important to keep an eye on its growth. As soon as you see them again, take them off. Checking in every two weeks is a good idea.
5. Turning over the dirt after pulling out
As soon as you can pull the pokeweed out by the root, you should rake the area where it used to grow to break up the soil. Even though this step is optional, it has been shown to be an effective way to stop pokeweed from spreading, especially if you then water the soil with a mixture of herbicides.
6. Use Glyphosate.
Glyphosate has been shown to be the best way to kill pokeweed so far. It’s a very simple thing to do. You only need to spray or apply a lot directly to the pokeweed’s roots, so you’ll still have to dig around the plant. It will take some time to do this, but only to dig, so you can start whenever you want.
7. Distilled Vinegar
A tried-and-true way to kill weeds is to pour distilled vinegar on them. This works not only for pokeweed but also for other weeds. The natural acid in distilled vinegar will quickly burn the roots of pokeweed. A 50/50 mix of water and distilled vinegar can be used to kill pokeweed. It should be enough to spray the solution on the pokeweed every day.
How to Get Rid of Pokeweed in the Long Run
The best way to keep pokeweed out of your garden or yard after you’ve gotten rid of it is to keep an eye out for it. Keep an eye on the area where you took out a pokeweed plant for up to two years to see if any seeds or taproots are still there. The seeds in the berries can be spread by birds and other animals, so keep an eye on your garden and yard to find a new plant as soon as possible. Put on gloves and pull out a young pokeweed plant by the root, or use one of the other natural or chemical ways to kill it.
It’s easier to get rid of pokeweed when it’s young, so don’t be afraid to pull up or kill new plants as soon as you see them.
What to do if you’ve come into contact with pokeweed
If you’ve touched pokeweed directly, wash the affected area well with soap and water. Many people get an itchy, weeping rash after being around pokeweed. If you have ever gotten a rash from poison oak or poison ivy, you will know what a pokeweed rash looks like.
If the rash isn’t too bad, you can use calamine lotion to treat it at home and stop yourself from scratching. You can also use 1% hydrocortisone cream if the rash is small and there are no other symptoms.
When you eat pokeberry, you might get diarrhoea, headaches, stomach pain, throw up, or have seizures. Call 1-800-222-1222 or 911 to get instructions from Poison Control. Also, keep a piece of the plant in a plastic bag in case you need to go to the doctor or the emergency room.
To sum up, getting rid of pokeweed for good is good for you, even if it takes some time and work. Putting safety first is the best thing you can do for yourself and your dogs. You can do these natural things on your own, so put them on your list of things to do in your garden. They would, however, need special resources, so it’s better to let them come in handy since the pokeweed will come back if you don’t get rid of it at the root.
Questions and Answers Regarding Pokeweed Removal
Can You Light Up Weed?
To get rid of a plant that has been pulled up, wait until it is completely dry and then burn it. However, burning is a harmful method of disposal. Poisons will be released if you burn any part of the pokeweed that is still fresh, which will make you sick.
Once you’ve pulled it out of the ground, let it dry completely in the sun before putting it in a rubbish bag to avoid any problems.
If I touch pokeweed, what will happen?
Pokeweed has poisonous sap and chemicals that can cause rashes, and some of these toxins can get into the bloodstream. So, always wear gloves when you work with pokeweed.
Can you die from pokéweed?
The poison in pokeweed is strong enough to make most people sick or give them a severe, itchy rash, but it rarely kills.
On the other hand, children and pets are at a much higher risk, especially of kidney damage that can be serious or even fatal. Any yard should get rid of pokeweed plants, but if you have small children or pets, it’s especially important. It just isn’t worth it.
Is it Bad to Touch Pokeweed?
We’ve already talked about what Pokeweed is and how deadly its leaves, stems, roots, and berries can be. Even a light touch can irritate your skin, cause you to stop breathing, and make you sick. Don’t touch the plant, especially if there are a lot of it.
Pokeberry: Can You Eat It?
Native American people ate the cooked root. People in many places in Asia add berries to wine and vinegar to make them look different. The people who lived in South America used to put berries in their pies. But if you don’t do enough to prepare or have different levels of body sensitivity, you could get poisoned and die in a few minutes. Don’t endanger your health.
Will Vinegar Kill Pokeweed?
Pokeweed’s roots get burned by vinegar because vinegar is an acid that comes from nature. Distilled vinegar can help if the root still isn’t strong enough. A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water should be used to spray each pokeweed. But this method is not effective as a weed killer and may not work on old, strong roots.
Can Pokeweed be killed by Roundup?
Yes, without a doubt. Roundup kills all plants that grow from the ground. This also means that you need to be very careful. If other plants are close to the common pokeweed, Roundup will kill them too. I don’t recommend using Roundup in your garden because it could hurt other plants, but you can spray it on pokeweed if it’s growing too close to flowers or crops.
Is there any use for pokeweed?
Since ancient times, pokeweed has been used as medicine by Native Americans and as food by people all over the Western Hemisphere. Anxiety, epilepsy, and diseases of the nervous system were all talked about. I can tell you whether it helped or not. Scientists are still looking into what pokeweed can do. They think that the proteins in it could help treat some types of cancer.