Chives are among the hardiest of plants. Though they are often used as an herbal flavouring in many foods, chives can also be a pest when they are found growing in lawns. Chives also have a tendency to occupy any available space in your garden if they are not potted. Chives belong to the same family as onions and garlic, and are vulnerable to the same countermeasures. Pulling the plants up by the bulb can be effective if you need to kill only a few chives, but for large-scale problems, herbicide is more effective.
Determine the extent of your chive infestation. If you need to kill only a few chives, then you probably will not need to use an herbicide. However, if the chives have spread over your lawn, it will be more effective to use an herbicide.
Remove the chive plants, including the bulbs, if you have only a few to kill. Often the bulb will be quite deep in the ground, so you will need to use a trowel to dig them out. Avoid simply tugging on the plant by the stem, because you will probably just pull off the stem and lose the location of the bulb.
Purchase an herbicide if removing the chives by hand proves to be impractical. If the chives have become widespread throughout your lawn or garden, look for a targeted herbicide designed to kill members of the onion and garlic (Allium) family. General purpose herbicides will kill other plants around the chives, including grass. However, several companies make weed-killing formulas designed to leave grass untouched while killing undesirable plants. Herbicides recommended by Clemson Cooperative Extension for control of plants in the Allium genus include imazaquin, metsulfuron (for use by landscaping professionals), and glyphosate. These are the active ingredients in a number of common herbicides
Apply the herbicide carefully to the chive plants. Even if you are using a targeted formula, do not apply it indiscriminately or too liberally, because herbicide runoff can have a detrimental effect on many plants in the vicinity of your property.
If you use a broad-spectrum herbicide to kill the chives, you will probably kill part of your lawn or garden in the vicinity of the chive plants. If so, wait at least two weeks (unless directed otherwise by the herbicide's instructions) to reseed those parts of your lawn. The herbicide will take at least this amount of time to dissipate.
Tips and warnings
- If you use a broad-spectrum herbicide to kill the chives, you will probably kill part of your lawn or garden in the vicinity of the chive plants. If so, wait at least two weeks (unless directed otherwise by the herbicide's instructions) to reseed those parts of your lawn. The herbicide will take at least this amount of time to dissipate.