American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) on May 15, 2019
Submitter has sample EDRR Status: Local expert notified
Description of specimen
Two strong plants/weeds coming up next to my poppies. Big leaves, strong thick main stems.
American pokeweed is an herbaceous perennial plant—above-ground stems die back completely each year but below-ground roots remain and can be very large, allowing plants to persist for years. Therefore, the entire root must be killed or removed, although getting every root fragment every year is nearly impossible. Expect full eradication to take 3-5 years. Also, be aware that pokeweed can make you sick if ingested, with roots most likely to be fatal.
--Small infestations (few plants): If possible, dig entire root and throw in garbage, not compost.
--Medium to large infestations (many plants): Dig roots, if possible. If not, apply herbicide in spring to early summer shortly after plants appear above ground. Carefully check label recommendations for safe and legally allowable volumes of herbicide you can apply.
--In late summer and fall, plants will have purple to black fleshy fruits containing seeds. Herbicide application can be quite effective in late summer and early fall.
--In all cases, cut fruit-bearing stems and dispose of in the garbage, not compost. This prevents the berries from making new plants.
NOTE: Remember where the plant is! When it reappears in the spring, you can start working on it while the soil is still wet.