Common pokeweed is a perennial herb that grows in plant hardiness zones 2 through 11. New plants propagate only the seeds, which drop from the plant or are eaten and dispersed by birds.

To rid your yard of pokeweed, pull the small new shoots straight up with a thick fleshy taproot. For larger plants, dig a circle around the base of each pokeweed about 12 inches in diameter and 12 inches straight down. Shake off the extra dirt from the taproot and place in the sun so the roots dry out. The dried root can be placed in the compost. If you place the fresh pokeweed root in your compost or waste, the pokeweed can take root and begin to grow.

Pulling young plants is obviously easier than pulling larger plants. This procedure will happen each year. Another possibility is to use herbicides, but make sure you read the labels carefully.

It’s important to remember that pokeweed contains phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin and all parts of the plant are poisonous to livestock. For all kinds of home and garden information, visit cceoneida.com/home-garden or call the horticulture hotline weekdays at 315-736-3394, ext. 127.

Terri Harrison, Master Gardener Volunteer, with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Observer-Dispatch or online at www.cceoneida.com.