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Poison Hemlock help

 
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Hello! I moved the old garden bed left here by the last owners and thought I had an overgrowth of fernleaf dill. Someone pointed out that it's poison hemlock. It's in about a 1/4 of the yard, under the deck etc. What is the best way to get rid of this? There's too much to pull out. Also is the soil safe to use for new crops? I've read for people to not compost them and have read that composting is safe because the poison breaks down quickly etc. If there's a small piece hidden somewhere will it affect things I plant in the bed? I have young kiddos I've been keeping out of that area. Thanks!
 
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I've probably got 10 acres of hemlock, but I don't have cows, so it's not that bad of a problem.  You can mow it, or string-trim it down as soon as it shows up.   It might take a few times, a few weeks apart, to stop it, keep it from setting seed.

I compost it all the time, doesn't make any difference.  A field of it smells like popcorn on a hot day.  The birds are crazy about it, the little yellow ones cling to the stems and get seeds out of it.   I wouldn't worry about it.  

The only thing I do is pull it when it grows near the base of an orchard tree or perennial, because it's a real water hog/nutrition hog and will make the plant compete.  Otherwise I've never had any problem with it.
 
Lisa Long
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Thanks so much!
 
Cristo Balete
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You mention a fern-leaf description.  The only thing I do stop from growing is wild fennel, because it is a big food supply for hornets.  They fight with any bees that also try to use it, and I have had enough hornets up my pants and stinging me on the backside.  Wild fennel does have a fern-type growth and smells like licorice when cut, which hemlock does not.

I keep meaning to try to make pesto out of the wild fennel, mixing it with parsley or chard, but haven't done it yet.

Obviously, do not eat any part of hemlock.  
 
Cristo Balete
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If you have a pair of long-blade clippers, like 7" long, you can take down a stand of it pretty quickly, cut it at ground level.  It will probably come back next spring...seeds can be viable for years, but just stay on it like a weed.

It's important to tell kids that there are poisonous plants in the yard in general, and point out which ones they are.  Not everything that's green is edible.  Even rhubarb has poisonous leaves, but edible stems.  As a kid I used to try stuff, but I don't suppose I got too much drain bramage!

:-)
 
Lisa Long
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Thank you! I've definitely been keeping them away from that area but also showed them which one it was. They know not to put anything in their mouth as well. :)
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