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Oxeye Daisies In The Landscape – How To Control Oxeye Daisy Plants

Oxeye Daisies In The Landscape – How To Control Oxeye Daisy Plants


By: Jackie Carroll

Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) is a pretty little perennial flower that might remind you of Shasta daisies, with a central yellow eye surrounded by 20 to 30 white petals. However, don’t let this similarity fool you. This plant can quickly invade areas of the landscape, making it necessary for some oxeye daisy control measures.

Oxeye Daisy Perennials

The plant spreads aggressively by producing seeds and underground through spreading rhizomes, eventually finding its way into unwanted areas such as crop fields, pastures, and lawns. The average plant produces 1,300 to 4,000 seeds annually and a particularly vigorous plant can produce as many as 26,000 seeds that germinate rapidly when they land on bare soil.

Historically, there have been several attempts to legislate control of oxeye daisies. The Scotts, who called them “gools,” made the unfortunate farmer whose wheat fields had the most oxeye daisies pay an extra tax. Even so, the weed spread throughout the European continent and eventually found its way to the U.S., probably in bags of forage grass and legume seeds.

It now grows in every state in the U.S. Several states have made it illegal to sell oxeye daisy seeds and plants, but both are available on the internet and are sometimes included in wildflower mixes.

How to Control Oxeye Daisy

An important part of oxeye daisy control is pulling up or cutting down the plant before it flowers and produces seeds. The plants have shallow root systems and are easy to pull. Mow lawns that are infested with oxeye daisy perennials regularly so they never have a chance to flower. Mowing causes the leaves to spread outward and flatten, so that if you later apply an herbicide, the leaves have a broader surface area over which to absorb the chemical.

It’s easiest to control oxeye daisies when you combine cutting and pulling the plants with the use of herbicides. Look for herbicides with 2,4-D as the active ingredient. The product you choose should be labeled for use against oxeye daisy and safe for lawns. Spray in spring after the seedlings emerge and again in summer when the plants bolt and begin to form flower buds.

Oxeye daisies are poor competitors against a healthy lawn and garden. They stand little chance to gain a foothold when you water and fertilize your lawn regularly and mow often.

Additionally, a densely planted, well-maintained, and properly mulched flower garden can help shade out oxeye daisy seedlings.

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The aster family contains hundreds of perennials for the garden, including a group with single-flowered, large-centered chrysanthemums called daisies. Some, such as the Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x "Superba"), are short-lived and easy to eradicate. Some, such as the oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), are so resilient that they are considered invasive weeds. Ridding your lawn or garden of either variety is made more difficult by the fact that daisies spread by underground roots and pop up a colony of new plants annually, even when the parent dies.

Mow daisies before blooms open to prevent pollination. Put a catcher on the mower to take the flowers off the ground.

Dig daisy rosettes out of gardens and lawns and pull as many thick roots, called stolons as you can find. Dig down 6- to 8-inches daisies have shallow roots. Contribute the pulled plants and roots to your green cart or local composting program.

Pull new plants as they rise from stolon segments left in the ground and compost the remains.

Apply targeted pre-emergent herbicides to daisies during late winter before new plants begin growth if cultural controls fail. Use broadleaf weedkillers containing bensulide, fenoxaprop, oryzalin, sethoxydim or metolachlor that are labeled for use on daisies. Pendimethalin herbicides may specifically target oxeye, Shasta and annual African (Osteospermum) daisies.

  • Dig wide holes around daisies. Although their roots are shallow, destruction of the crown spurs growth in surviving stolons. This habit makes oxeye daisies that have become established in lawns or wildflower patches difficult to eradicate.
  • When you use a post-emergent broad-leaf systemic herbicide on daisies, wait until the plant begins to wilt before removing it to ensure that the chemical has had time to circulate into the plant’s roots.
  • Deer enjoy daisies as salad greens. Do not plant valuable perennials near them if you live in areas where black-tail and mule deer graze.
  • Wear eye protection and protective clothing and follow herbicide label directions carefully. Buy herbicides locally herbicide regulations may change or vary by county or municipality.

An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.


Oxeye Daisy Control: Managing Oxeye Daisy Perennials - garden

Asteraceae or Sunflower Family
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum

IDENTIFICATION:
Growth Habit:
Perennial, erect up to 2 feet tall.
Leaves: 2-5 inches long, leaves reduce in size upward on the stem.
Stems: Glabrous to slightly pubescent.
Flowers: One per stem, 1-1/2 inches wide, white petals with yellow centers.
Roots: Shallow, branched rhizomes, and strong adventitious roots.
Seeds: Produces up to 26,000 seeds per plant, which are viable for up to 6 years.
Reproduction: Vegetatively along a rhizome and by seed.
Habitat: Found in meadows, roadsides, native grasslands, pastures, and waste places.

MANAGEMENT OPTIONS:
Handpulling:
Can be an effective method of control, especially on small infestations, if carried out persistently over the course of several years. Care should be taken to remove as much of the plant's root system as possible in order to minimize re-growth from missed root fragments.
Mowing: This is not an effective method of control, but can be utilized to reduce seed production. Mowing should be done just as the infestation begins to flower and should be repeated if the growing season is long enough to permit a second or third flowering.
Biological Control: N/A
Grazing: Under normal grazing conditions, oxeye daisy infestations will increase in density and size. Heavy, intense grazing will force livestock to feed on oxeye daisy and reduce seed production, but may also damage competitive, desirable species as well.
Herbicide: The following herbicides are labelled for control of oxeye daisy. Always consult product labels and read them carefully to ensure correct species/land management usage and chemical application.

Can be applied to waters edge
cannot be used in landscaped areas and current or future vegetable gardens,
mulch or manure from treated areas should not be applied to vegetable gardens or composted for vegetable gardens


Caring for Shasta Daisies

The main considerations for growing the Shasta daisy plant is to give it plenty of sunlight and to take care to divide to contain the plant. It naturalizes easily and can take over a garden if it is not maintained well.

How much sunlight do Shasta Daisies need?

The plant likes to grow in full sun. This makes it ideal for borders in the middle of lawns or containers that sit in the center of sunny garden beds.

Shasta daisy (and it’s more rampant growing cousin oxeye) can tolerate less sunny conditions but they won’t flower as well.

Soil Requirements for Shasta Daisy

This perennial likes a well draining, fertile soil, so preparing the soil before you plant is a must. A fertile soil contains major nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as smaller quantities of calcium, sulfur, iron, magnesium and other nutrients. Silty soil is considered the most nutrient rich. Some ways to increase the fertility of your soil are:

  • Adding manure. This adds nitrogen to the soil.
  • If you have room, start a compost pile and use the compost to enrich the soil. Adding humus to the planting holes will make sure that the plant will bloom well all summer long.
  • Mulch around the plants with leaves, bark, hay, wood chips or straw. These materials will help to retain moisture and will also cool the soil. They also break down over time and add more nutrients to the soil matter.
  • Grow cover crops in the winter months.

Many local Department of Agriculture departments will analyze your soil for free, or you can purchase a soil testing kit from your local garden center, or online.

Planting Shasta Daisies

Shasta daisies will grow easily from seeds. You can start seeds in peat pots indoors, or containers in a cold frame in autumn or early spring. If you sow seeds directly into the garden, you can expect blooms the next year after the plant has been growing for a year.

Garden centers sell containers of Shasta daisies each year. Plant these in the spring for summer blooms.

Space Shasta daisy plants 2-3 feet apart to allow for their spreading nature. Be sure to give the plant a hole twice the diameter of the container you purchased it it.

Dwarf varieties such as Shasta Daisy Lacrosse can be planted a bit closer. It is also a bit more cold hardy since it will also grow in zone 4.

Be sure to check out my list of other cold hardy perennial plants here.

Flowering Season of Shasta Daisies

The plant flowers in summer and blooms until early fall. The flowers have showy heads with a large center yellow area. Depending on the variety, there is quite a bit of variation in the petals.

Shasta daisies have an upright habit with stiff stems and flowers that sit above the foliage. Shorter dwarf varieties are better in the front of a garden beds but the taller plants will form big clumps that add a backdrop to other perennials.

The blooms are great for cutting to bring indoors.

The petals of shasta daisy flowers are nyctinastic – They open up and close at night.

The taller varieties may need protection from strong winds, and some also require forms of support to hold the flower stems so that they don’t flop over.

How often should I water a Shasta Daisy?

This perennial is quite drought friendly. It definitely does not like soggy soil or wet feet and will easily rot if you over water it. The plant can actually tolerate limited periods of drought.

If your summer rainfall is less than 1 inch a week, it’s a good idea to give the plant an extra drink.

How cold hardy is Shasta Daisy?

This pretty plant with its perky blooms is a hardy perennial that will come back even after freezing winters in cold hardiness zones 5-8. Even though the plant is a perennial, it is quite short lived. Many only last just a few year.

To offset the short life span, plant new plants each year. This yearly planting will ensure that the plant will continue to naturalize and grace your garden setting.

Deadheading Shasta Daisies

Caring for Shasta Daisies means that you must put deadheading on your list of summer chores. Deadheading is the process of removing the blooms that have finished flowering.

To do this task, just cut the flower stem off at the base of the plant. New flower stems will soon emerge.

Taking care to deadhead means that you may get two or three rounds of flowers a season, so it is well worth the effort.

If you deadhead the plant it will encourage heavier blooms and a larger amount of them, so your plant will give you a better show of flowers.

Cut flowers last a long time indoors, and will also encourage additional blooming on the plants in the ground.

For plants that don’t need deadheading, be sure to check out this article.

Pruning Shasta Daisies Plant

The plant is relatively easy to prune. It has no real winter interest and most of the time the plant turns mushy during the winter, so pruning is a good idea to tidy up the garden area.

After the first frost that kills perennial foliage, cut the stems of the plant back to about an inch above the soil line. If you live in a warm hardiness zone, the plant may stay evergreen all year long.


Gerbera daisies grow best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 through 11 (although, they will need winter protection in Zone 8 where most gardeners grow them as annuals or potted plants). The flowers prefer a cooler winter temperature of about 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and full, bright sun. Do not overwater this plant during the winter, as overwintered plants grow dormant and need only a light watering once a month during this phase.

The amount of fertilizer your Gerbera needs depends on the quality of your soil. To keep it blooming all summer, a monthly feeding with a water-soluble, chemical fertilizer or adding an organic compost around the roots is advised.


Daisy, oxeye (Leucanthimum vulgare)

Rate 1 to 1.75 oz ae/a (4 to 7 fl oz/a)

Time Apply preemergence in winter to early spring, or in spring to actively growing plants before the bud stage of growth.

Caution Do not let spray drift onto desirable vegetation. Many forbs (desirable broadleaf plants) can be seriously injured or killed. Do not exceed 7 fl oz/a Milestone per year.

Site of action Group 4: synthetic auxin

aminocyclopyrachlor + chlorsulfuron (Perspective)

Time Apply in spring from rosette to flowering stage of growth.

Remarks Adjuvants can be used these include methylated seed oils 0.5 to 1% v/v, nonionic surfactants at 0.25 to 1% v/v, and crop oil concentrates at 1%v/v.

Caution Do not apply to the root zone of desirable trees and shrubs. May injure or kill some grass species.

Site of action (aminocyclopyrachlor) Group 4 synthetic auxin (chlorsulfuron) Group 2: acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor

Chemical family (aminocyclopyrachlor) pyridine (chlorsulfuron) sulfonylurea

aminopyralid + metsulfuron (Opensight)

Time Apply in spring from rosette to flowering stage of growth.

Remarks Adjuvants can be used these include methylated seed oils 0.5 to 1% v/v, nonionic surfactants at 0.25 to 1% v/v, and crop oil concentrates at 1%v/v.

Caution May injure or kill some grass species.

Site of action (aminopyralid) Group 4 synthetic auxin (metsulfuron) Group 2: acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor

Chemical family (aminopyralid) Pyrimidine carboxylic acid (metsulfuron) Sulfonylurea

chlorsulfuron (Telar and others)

Rate 0.75 to 0.195 oz ai/a (1 to 2.6 oz/a).

Time Apply in autumn to new rosettes, or to rosettes in spring before bolting.

Remarks Add 0.25% by volume of nonionic surfactant to spray mixture.

Caution Avoid drift to sensitive crops.

Site of action Group 2: acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor

Chemical family Sulfonylurea

Rate 4 to 8 oz ae/a (0.67 to 1.33 pints/a).

Time Apply in spring from rosette to bud stage of growth.

Caution Do not contaminate water. Potatoes, beans, and many other crops are very sensitive to clopyralid. Do not use in diversified cropping areas.

Site of action Group 4 synthetic auxin

clopyralid + 2,4-D amine (Curtail)

Time Apply in spring from rosette to bud stage of growth.

Remarks Consult label for specific site registrations.

Caution Product injures or kills sensitive broadleaf forages. Do not contaminate water.

Site of action (both) Group 4: synthetic auxin

Chemical family (clopyralid) pyridine (2,4-D) phenoxy acetic acid

dicamba (Banvel and others)

Rate 0.5 to 1 lb ae/a (1 to 2 pints/a)

Time Apply in spring when plants are actively growing.

Caution Avoid drift to sensitive crops.

Site of action Group 4: synthetic auxin

Chemical family Benzoic acid

Time Apply in spring from rosette to bud stage of growth.

Remarks Adequate foliar coverage of oxeye daisy is necessary. Add nonionic surfactant if not included in the formulation.

Caution Glyphosate is nonselective and injures or kills other vegetation in the treated area.

Site of action Group 9: inhibits EPSP synthase

Chemical family None generally accepted

Rate 0.5 to 0.75 lb ae/a (2 to 3 pints/a)

Time Apply preemergence or postemergence to actively growing oxeye daisy.

Remarks Add 0.25% by volume of nonionic surfactant, or 1 to 2 pints/a methylated seed soil or crop oil concentrate to spray mixture.

Caution Imazapyr is nonselective spray will injure or kill vegetation contacted.

Site of action Group 2: acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor

Chemical family Imidazolinone

metsulfuron (Escort and others)

Rate 0.3 to 0.6 oz ai/a (0.5 to 1 oz/a)

Time Apply in spring to actively growing plants, or to new rosettes in the fall.

Remarks Add 0.25% by volume of nonionic surfactant to spray mixture. Application sites differ between products consult labels.

Caution Avoid contacting sensitive crops. Apply only to pasture, rangeland, and non-crop sites.

Site of action Group 2: acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor

Chemical family Sulfonylurea

Time Apply in spring to actively growing plants, or to new rosettes in the fall.

Caution Most formulations are restricted-use herbicides . See label for grazing restrictions. Do not contaminate water. Potatoes, beans, and many other crops are very sensitive to picloram. Do not use in diversified cropping areas. At rates above 0.5 lb ae/a (1 quart/a), apply only as spot treatment not to exceed 25% of a landowner's acreage in a given watershed in a single season.


Pin The Yarrow is an easy-to-care-for flower that sprouts tight packs of tiny flowers that have a sweet aroma.

  • Well-drained soil
  • Thrive in hot and dry conditions
  • Perennial flower

We hope you’ve enjoyed our post about types of daisies. If you want more details on growing & care, check out our other post about daisies.


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