Getting Rid of Wild Lupins

Q: Could you please advise me the best way of getting rid of lupins in our hay fields? We seem to be getting more each year and are the owners of three horses. We hay these fields each year and do not want the lupins growing here. I live in Fredericton, NB.

I understand your need to get rid of the wild lupine in your hay fields. Mature lupine plants can be toxic to horses and other livestock. Unfortunately, wild lupine is notoriously hard to control and is very prone to self-seeding. I would suggest simply pulling out the lupine before it goes to seed each year, and eventually they will fade out. I know this is not the most favourable recommendation, but hand weeding is the best prevention method. It’s best done after a good rain when the soil is soft.

Another method you might want to try is burning. It’s a method commonly used in the prairies, so it might be useful at your hay field. The recurrence of wild lupine plants after burning is significantly lowered. You’ll need to check local fire regulations to see if burning is permitted in your area. You may need permits, special tools and plenty of assistance. I wouldn’t recommend this method because it can be dangerous and costly, but it is something to consider if the problem isn’t going away.

Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) is native to Eastern Canada, especially your location in Fredericton. This wild flower can be very attractive, so you might want to consider gathering some of the seeds from your hay field to plant in your garden, or to share with family and friends. Lupine, popular among bees and butterflies, blooms in early summer in dry, sandy soil.