Jerusalem artichoke herbs: How to control Jerusalem artichokes

The Jerusalem artichoke looks a lot like a sunflower, but unlike the well-known summer-flowering annual, the Jerusalem artichoke is an aggressive grass that creates big problems along roads and in pastures, fields and home gardens. The Jerusalem artichoke is particularly invasive on the west and east coasts of the United States.

Is the Jerusalem artichoke invading?

Although the Jerusalem artichoke’s sturdy underground tubers are edible and highly nutritious, they make the plant extremely difficult to control. Each plant produces 75 to 200 tubers in a single growing season, and each tuber is capable of sending up to six sprouts. It is easy to understand how Jerusalem artichoke weeds create big headaches.

How to control Jerusalem artichokes

The Jerusalem artichoke develops new shoots only on tubers formed the previous year. It may seem logical that Jerusalem artichokes are easy to control by simply digging out the tubers, but unfortunately, things are not so simple because locating all the tubers, which grow on long runners, is almost impossible.

A more effective way to control Jerusalem artichoke weeds is to pull out young plants as soon as they emerge in the spring, preferably when they are 4 to 8 cm (10 to 20 cm) tall. If you have a large patch of Jerusalem artichokes or if the plants are growing in your lawn, you can cut them down.

Both methods work because new tubers cannot grow without the sprouts on the soil. However, total control of Jerusalem artichokes requires that you be super vigilant and remove every germ.

Jerusalem artichoke control in the garden

If you intend to grow a small plot of Jerusalem artichokes to harvest the tubers, the best way to manage the plant is to cut the flowers off the plants before they go to seed. The flowers are attractive and fit well into the bouquets, so there is no need to waste them.

When harvesting tubers in the fall, be sure to dig up as many tubers as possible to control growth.

Management of Jerusalem artichoke plants with herbicides

Herbicides should always be the last resort. However, if you have tried everything or if the plot is too large to handle by hand, spray the plants with an external spectrum product. The herbicide should be applied to undisturbed plants in the fall.

Use the product only in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep herbicides out of the reach of children and pets.

Note : Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as biological approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

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