How To Get Rid Of Ditch Lilies

Gardening can be quite a subjective matter. People’s opinions seem to differ a lot when it comes to plants, or flowers that they want in their gardens.

A lot of people think that adding roses to their gardens is classy, while others might think that it’s too typical.

Similarly, ditch lilies or daylilies are loved by some and detested by others.

These vibrant orange lilies can be quite invasive. The problem with these plants is that they can get quite out of control. If they are not taken care of properly, they can get messy and crowded with weeds, and shrubs that you don’t want in your garden.

That is why a lot of people prefer not to keep these plants around their houses.

If you too would like to know how to get rid of ditch lilies, then you’ve come to the right place. With a few tips and tricks, the plant can be removed safely, forever. And that is what we are going to discuss today.

What Are Ditch Lilies?


If you have spotted a vigorous orange flowered plant, with about one inch wide linear leaves in your garden, ditch lilies have successfully invaded your lawn.

The one-inch wide leaves are usually about two feet long. You will spot the flowers in around June, or July, in the summer, at a height of about four feet starting from the foliage. The flowers are vibrant orange in color, with a mix of yellow in the throat.

Although they are detested now, ditch lilies were once very popular. People used to plant ditch lilies around their houses, or around ditches, to make the surroundings more vibrant.

The bright orange flower was great at adding color to areas that didn't have many plants or any brightness.

People’s opinions changed with time, and they started to prefer white lilies more. They gravitated towards white lilies because these plants were easier to take care of.

Daylilies have a lot of vigor. Once planted, they can travel several feet on their own. The tiniest plant can multiply, and spread wildly. A lot of weeds tend to grow around these plants as well. Hence, even if the parent plant is removed, ditch lilies can still survive and spread.

How To Get Rid Of Ditch Lilies- Different Methods

As we’ve mentioned before, getting rid of ditch lilies is not that easy. They are quite adamant and don't easily leave their territory.

Here are a few techniques that will surely help you get rid of these plants efficiently.

1. The Mowing Method

This is one of the most commonly used methods to get rid of ditch lilies. As you might know, mowing helps to get rid of most of the unwanted plants in your garden.

Therefore, the very first trick that you can try could be mowing. Try and mow over the place where the daylilies have invaded.

You will get better results if you put your mower’s blade on its lowest setting.

If the area is harder to mow, you could also try to use a string trimmer. Remember to put mulch over the area after you’re done with the process.

Adding about 12 inches of mulch over the area is a safe option.  The thickness of the mulch prevents sunlight from entering the ground.

As the daylilies don’t get any sunlight or nutrition, they are prevented from growing any further.

If you see that the mulch is not working, and more ditch lilies are peaking through the layer, try and add another thick layer of mulch.

Keep in mind this is a very slow process.  This method will stop the ditch lilies from growing in about a year. Also because you’re preventing sunlight from entering the ground, other plans that you might have will also be affected.

So this is not a good method to go for in a garden that has any previously planted flowers, plants, or trees that you care about.

2. Apply A Systematic Weed Killer

Systematic weed killers are used in gardens that have uncontrollable weed growth. The product gets into the roots of the weed to kill them, and to stop them from growing again.

You can get a 2% glyphosate solution, which is ready to use, in any gardening store. This solution or any other systematic weed killers will take about two to three weeks to completely kill the ditch lilies. The weed killer also takes care of any of the excess weeds that grow beside your plants, or underneath a mulch layer.

It’s better to apply weed killer on a dry summer day, where there is no possibility of rain or wind. This is so that the weed killer that you have sprayed does not spread onto the plants that you don’t want to kill. However, you can also protect your plants by adding cardboard or plastic barrier as cover.

3. Spraying Pre Emerged Weed Killer

Lily seeds or plants will not grow if you spray a pre-emerged herbicide on these seeds. So you will get year-round protection.

To do this, you need to spray on the pre emerged weed killer around spring or fall. Ditch lilies bloom in June, or July, in the summer. The seeds are found around the ground after this.

Spray on about one ounce of herbicide in every 10 square feet. Keep in mind that this is a general measure, and it might differ according to the brand of herbicide that you have bought.

Usually, you have to activate this chemical after application by watering the soil generously. The chemical helps to prevent the germination of the ditch lily seeds as a whole.

If you have added the pre emerged weed killer underneath mulch, it will be effective only underneath the cover. So, if you have any ditch lilies growing outside, or on top of the mulch, you will have to apply the chemical there as well.

Remember that hoeing will reduce the effectiveness of pre emerged weed killers. Because the chemical lies on the surface of the soil as a barrier, hoeing will remove the layer, making it ineffective

4. Using A Garden Fork

If you find that none of the methods, such as mowing, or even the weed killer, are not working, you can use the garden fork method. Here you use a garden fork instead of any mower or shovel to dig up and get rid of the tubers manually.

When you use a garden fork, you come across a lot of little tubers that might not be visible to the naked eye when mowing. Since these tubers are so small they cannot be removed with mowing either. And using a weed killer will only burn the tops of the tubers.

Using your garden fork, you should pick up these small tubers and any existing ditch lilies, and discard them.

After a few weeks, you will notice that the growth has slowed down significantly. Repeat the process if you find any new growth. This method is also very effective for weed control.

The only downfall of this process is that it includes a lot of manual labor, and can be quite time-consuming. But the method is truly effective as you are pulling out the plants’ roots.

5. The Salt And Vinegar Technique

Salt is well known for killing unwanted weeds.

Since salt can act as a dehydrator, it can take out all the water from the plants’ roots, and help kill it.

To make this technique even more effective, you can use vinegar to make a salt and vinegar ditch lily killing concoction. This will increase the effectiveness of the salt, and help kill the plants even faster.

But you have to keep in mind that this method might not work for all kinds of gardens. If the ditch lilies in your yard or land are strong and adamant, it might be hard to take them out with just salt and vinegar.

6. Landscape Fabric Or Mulch

This method is also known as an “in the dark” method or a light barrier method. In this process, you prevent any form of sunlight from approaching the ditch lilies.

When deprived of sunlight, the plants do not get any nutrition, and therefore do not grow. With time, the invasive ditch lilies will die and demolish.

To deprive the plants of sunlight you could use landscape fabric or organic mulch. You have to apply the mulch around the stems of the ditch lilies. Make sure you cover all the open areas that have plant growth.

If you are adding organic mulch, the layer should be as thick as it can be. Organic mulch could be anything from wood chips to shredded barks.

When using landscaping fabric, remember to weigh it down with something heavy. This will create a seal that prevents sunlight from accidentally seeping in. You could weigh down the fabric using stones or any heavy decorative sculptures that you have in your garden.

If you don’t have access to a landscaping fabric, you can also use a plastic weed barrier.

To get optimum results, add an extra layer of chemical weed killer or herbicide before you add on the fabric or mulch.

Tips For When Trying To Get Rid Of Ditch Lilies

If you want to get rid of ditch lilies in the most efficient way, you should try out the following tips. Following these suggestions will ensure that you get rid of these invasive plants for good.

1. Get Rid Of Any New Or Sprouting Ditch Lilies That You Spot

If you are using the garden fork or mowing method, you need to keep an eye out for any new growths.

Usually, after you have mowed land, you need to wait for about two weeks. In these two weeks, you will notice more plants growing. These plants need to be taken out manually if you want to get rid of them permanently.

Yes, this can be a tedious thing to do, but the results are worth it.

2. Make Sure You Take Out The Roots Of The Ditch Lily

When taking out the ditch lilies, you need to make sure that you are getting the roots. Leaving the roots in will result in regrowth.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you get every bit of root out of the ground. Just to be safe, you could remove a few inches of the ground along with the root.

3. Use A Very Thick Layer Of Mulch To Cover The Land Invaded By Ditch Lilies

You might have noticed, that even after adding mulch to the ground, the ditch lilies still keep on growing. This could be because the mulch layer you have added is not thick enough.

That is why, we recommend adding about 3 to 12 inches of mulch on the invaded ground. If you notice regrowth even after adding this much mulch, you could try and add another layer on top of the existing mulch.

Cautions You Should Take When Getting Rid Of Ditch Lilies

When gardening, there are some precautions that you should take. Especially if you are working with chemicals such as weed killers on a garden, or yard that has flowers that you want to keep. In this case, you might want to work with chemicals and mulches a bit more carefully.

Here are a few basic precautions that you should take when you are trying to get rid of ditch lilies around your yard or garden.

1. Try Not To Get Any Weed Killers Or Herbicides On Plants That You Don’t Want To Kill

If you have a garden that has flowers or plants that you do not want to kill, trying to get rid of ditch lilies will be harder for you, especially when you are using weed killers.

Weed killers can sometimes kill or destroy smaller, or weaker plants. That is why you need to spray the weed killer, or herbicide very carefully when there are plants that you love around the ditch lilies.

It’s better if you’re prepared from the beginning to lose a few plants. Spraying herbicides so carefully can be tough in larger gardens. So, you might lose a plant or two.

2. Don’t Throw Out The Tubers That You Have Dug Out Onto The Ground

When you have taken out tubers or the roots of the ditch lilies, make sure you dispose of them very carefully.

If you’re taking them out and throwing them onto the ground again, they will regrow. The entire process of taking out the roots will become useless.

Try and dispose of them in a plastic bag. Place them in the trash and try to spray them with weed killers or herbicides before hand.

Make sure you never throw a tuber or a ditch lily root onto your neighbor’s lawn by mistake. Remember, these plans can grow like crazy, and are quite hard to get rid of permanently. That is why the disposal process needs to be done quite carefully.

3. Make Sure No Sunlight Gets In Through The Much Or Landscape Fabric

When adding mulch or landscape fabric to the affected land, you need to weigh it down properly, so that no sunlight can get inside. Otherwise, spending so much money on the mulch and landscape fabric will be a waste.

A great way to do this is to weigh down the landscape fabric using bricks, rocks, or any hard, and weighty object. When it comes to the mulch, you need to make sure that they are spread in a very thick layer.

Ensuring complete deprivation of sunlight will result in the invasive ditch lilies dying.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Salt Kill Ditch Lilies And Weeds?

Using salt on invasive weeds and ditch lilies can help to dehydrate the roots and kill them. So, yes, you can use salt to kill ditch lilies. But do keep in mind that this is not as effective as the root pulling or weed killer method.

2. Can I Use Vinegar To Get Rid Of Ditch Lilies?

Vinegar on its own is not that effective for killing ditch lilies. You could use a mixture of vinegar and table salt to create a concoction that can dehydrate and take out ditch lilies.

The mixture should be made in a ratio of a cup of salt, and three cups of white vinegar. You could also try and add a tablespoon of dish soap, to make the solution even more effective.

3. How Long Does It Take For Weed Killers To Get Rid Of Ditch Lilies?

You have to give weed killers at least two weeks to get rid of the ditch lilies. If you see that the ditch lilies are still growing, you will have to reapply the weed killer or herbicide again.

4. What Is The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Ditch Lilies?

The most effective way to get rid of ditch lilies is to pull out the roots yourself. This can be a very time-consuming and hard-to-do task, but it’s the process that works the most effectively.

When taking out the roots, you should take out a few inches of the ground as well, just to be on the safe side.

5. How Far Can A Ditch Lily Spread By Growing?

Ditch lilies grow and spread fast. They grow about one to six feet tall, and about two to four feet wide.

When they start spreading, there is no way of telling how far they can go. That is why if you ever want to add this plant to your garden, you need to be on the lookout for how much and where they go. Otherwise, they can spread into your neighbor's lawn and cause an unwanted hassle for them.

Final Verdict

Ditch lilies can be a very fun and colorful plant to have in your garden. The only problem is that they are very invasive. That is why controlling, and managing them can be quite a hassle.

If you don’t want to deal with this, you need to know how to get rid of ditch lilies.

Luckily, there are a lot of methods for you to try out. The method that will work the best for you will depend on the growth level, your garden soil, weather conditions, and a lot of other factors.

Your main objective should be to destroy or take out the roots completely. Only this can help you to get rid of ditch lilies for good.

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