How to Get Rid of Chives in a Garden

Updated February 21, 2017

Wild onions (Allium canadense) are the chives that sometimes appear in your garden bed and lawn in late winter to early spring. The cool-season perennials smell and taste like the chives you buy at the store and are edible if you don't spray them with herbicides. The plants release a pungent onion smell. If you prefer buying your chives at the market and enjoying a landscape that displays only the plants you choose to grow, take a few steps to eliminate chives from your garden.

Dig around the base of individual chive clumps with a shovel or trowel. Push the blade deep into the ground to reach under the root system. Pull the whole plant out, taking some of the surrounding topsoil with the chives. Refill the hole with weed-free soil from a reputable source.

Cut the garden chives back to the ground with scissors. Continue to snip the plant's tops as they regrow to weaken and keep them from making seeds.

Shield other garden plants against synthetic herbicides with cardboard panels. Spray the chives with a product containing the chemical imazaquin in mid to late fall. Reapply the herbicide according to the manufacturer's label in late winter. Formulas with a combination of 2,4-D, dicamba and mecoprop also kill chives, as do other chemicals. Read the label when selecting a product, and protect the plants you want to keep when applying it.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or trowel
  • Topsoil
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Synthetic herbicide, various options
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About the Author

Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.