Being a proud garden owner, you must be familiar with the struggles of keeping weeds out of it. Weeds provide even more reasons to maintain your garden on a more frequent basis. Among these weeds is the most poisonous herbaceous plant in the world known as the Pokeweed. With kids, the need to keep your garden clear of the pokeweed is more crucial. That brings us back to the main question – how to get rid of pokeweed.

Continue reading to learn more about pokeweed, the harm they can bring, and the ways to steer clear of them.

What is Pokeweed?

Native to America, pokeweed is an herbaceous plant. It comprises roots, leaves, and berries, all with medicinal properties. Pokeweed is a cure for joint and muscle pain, as well as throat, nose, and skin infections.

It also has various uses in food; mostly it appears in red food coloring products and as a color agent in wines. Furthermore, the pokeweed berry finds its use in the production of dye and ink.

Although pokeweed has many benefits, it does not have the backing of science. Moreover, the plant requires extra care as it is poisonous. Therefore, it is better to keep your garden clear of these herbaceous plants.

How to Identify Pokeweed?

Before we tell you how to get rid of pokeweed, first you need to identify its appearance. The herbaceous plant is up to 8′ tall, and it expands through branches regularly. Pokeweed is instantly recognizable by its purplish-red to light green hue stems that are round, smooth, and hairless in appearance.

The more reddish color the plant has, the more mature it is. Its leaves are broadly ovate, with clearly visible veins and delicate margins, with a size up to 10″ long and 4″ wide. The leaves take a bright green or yellowish shade. The stem also consists of many cylindrical inflorescences, each consisting of flowering stalks on short pedicels. The pedicels change color depending on the development stage of the flower or fruit.

Why is the Pokeweed Harmful to your Garden?

This poisonous plant can be harmful if touched. With children, you need to take extra care. However, they also tend to be very damaging to your garden. The pokeweed in your garden will likely compete for nutrition with your plants. Most plants need essential nutrients that pokeweed suck for themselves and leave your crops deprived of them.

When pokeweed appears in your garden, it means it now has occupied the space for your crops. It is a worrying factor for plants needing more space to grow fully. If your garden has crops that yield fruits or vegetables, the presence of pokeweed can cause difficulty in harvesting them.

Moreover, having pokeweed near your houseplants can cover and deprive them of the essential dose of sunlight every day. They also act as a haven for pests and insects that feed on your plants. For all these reasons, it’s vital to get rid of pokeweed.

What do You need to Remove Pokeweed?

If you’ve spotted pokeweed in your garden, the next step is to remove them immediately. The equipment you need to make the removal successful includes:

1-) Garden Hoe
2-) Spade
3-) Shovel
4-) Bow Rake
5-) Rototiller

8 Best Ways to Remove Pokeweed

We know you are here to find out how to get rid of pokeweed. Let’s look at 8 methods to remove pokeweed in detail.

1-) Removing Pokeweed Manually

The first way in our how to get rid of pokeweed guide is the removal of pokeweed manually. However, grabbing the plant and pulling it up by the base will not be too efficient. You got to dig the soil around the pokeweed deep enough to reach the tip of its root and pull it off from there.

Here’s where spade would come in handy. Spot the pokeweeds in your garden first and then start digging around each of them in a circle. Reach at least 12 inches in depth before attempting to pull the plant off.

2-) Steering Clear of New Shoots

Steering Clear of New Shoots

Often you’ll come across new pokeweed shoots and, when you do, you need to strike immediately. You can try this method using your bare hands. Grab the plant firmly by the new shoot’s base and pull it up.

It would work well for light soil. Harder soil makes it difficult for the root to come out when pulled. If a taproot with a thin root appears from the soil, it means you’ve pulled the new shoot correctly.

3-) Making More Use of your Tools

As said before, removing pokeweed manually only works when the soil is light. But in most cases, the soil would be hard, such as clay soil that compacts easily. In that instance, how to get rid of pokeweed? Well, it would include an extra step. You’ll need to loosen the soil and use your tools to do it faster.

Use your spade or shovel to dig around the plants. Once you’ve dug deep enough, use your spade to wriggle the plant free from the roots of other crops around. When done, continue digging around the pokeweed until you reach the end of its root. Pull off the pokeweed from the tip of its root to make sure it does not grow back again.

4-) Making Use of the Rototiller

Making Use of the Rototiller

Once you’ve removed the pokeweed from the soil, the work does not stop there. In your pursuit to know how to get rid of pokeweed, there is another step. First, use your rototiller to loosen the soil. When pulling out the pokeweed, it’s possible that you did not dig to the root’s tip and left some pieces still in the soil.

Use your rototiller to stir the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches. Then utilize your rake to prod the soil and find any leftover root pieces. Remove these pieces (if found), as they can help the pokeweed to grow again if left in the soil.

5-) Leaving Pokeweed to the Sun

Leaving Pokeweed to the Sun - get rid of pokeweed

A rookie mistake when considering how to get rid of pokeweed is to leave the pokeweed lying around in your garden after removing them. Throwing them casually into a corner can increase their chances of regrowth.

Therefore, you must place the removed pokeweed away from the soil, preferably on a table or workbench. We recommend leaving the pokeweed in an area with direct sunlight, which can completely kill the pokeweed off. Once they’re dry and dead, the next step in knowing how to get rid of pokeweed is to throw them in your compost bin.

6-) Maintaining Your Garden

Maintaining Your Garden - get rid of pokeweed

Another effective tip about how to get rid of pokeweed is to maintain your garden. Like any other thing, your garden needs frequent attention to remain clean and grow healthily. Pokeweed can survive in harsh conditions. Even if you pull off the ones you see, there is a chance they might reappear after some week. Pay your garden frequent visits and check between plants to see if new pokeweed shoots have appeared.

7-) Using Distilled Vinegar

You can use distilled vinegar to get rid of pokeweed plants. Distilled vinegar is not only famous for killing pokeweed but is also a bane for other types of weed. You need the correct combination of water and distilled vinegar to make this work. Half water and half distilled vinegar would do the trick. You must spray the solution daily on the plant to get rid of pokeweed. Distilled vinegar is efficient against pokeweed because the natural acid instantly strikes at its roots and kills them.

😎 Using Glyphosate

Glyphosate is an effective substance you can apply to get rid of pokeweed plants. Using it is relatively simpler and it is the best controller you can get for pokeweed.

The most successful way is to use your spade or shovel to dig around the pokeweed plants and reach the roots. Then spray a plentiful amount of Glyphosate on the roots to kill the pokeweed. This method can be tedious, as it requires digging up the soil. However, if you like leaving troublesome plants to chemical solutions, this one will suit you best.

Does your Work End here?

Even though you are desperate about getting rid of pokeweed and try every step mentioned above, there’s still more to it. Your garden needs frequent checking back and maintenance to make sure it steers clear of any unwanted plants. We recommend checking on your plants once every two weeks. The reason for this is to ensure your crops have enough room to grow and are not suffering from any competition from the weeds.

Final Words

Pokeweed is a dangerous plant to have in your garden. It is unsafe for human beings as well as deprives your crops of essentials like nutrients and sunlight. Use any method we have discussed above to get rid of pokeweed.

Read More: Banana Peppers – When to Pick Them and How To Pick Them


Hello! I’m Jeff, a passionate gardener with an insatiable curiosity for the world of plants and flowers. Gardening is not just a hobby for me; it’s a lifelong love affair.

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