Oxeye Daisy Biology and Management

Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare Lam.) is a perennial forb introduced to North America from Europe as an ornamental. It is currently found throughout the United States and north into Canada. Oxeye daisy was first reported in the northwestern United States in the late 1800s, and by 1937 had spread to more than half the counties in the region. It is now one of the most prevalent roadside weeds in the Northwest and is listed as a noxious weed in Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming (USDA, NRCS 2019). 

Oxeye daisy reproduces by seeds and rhizomes. Seed production can be very high with individual plants producing from 1,300 to more than 4,000 seeds. A seed burial study found that 82 percent of seed remained viable after six years, and 1 percent remained viable after 39 years. 

Creeping rhizomes enable oxeye daisy to form dense patches that reduce native plant diversity and desirable grasses. Cattle avoid grazing the plant, and wildlife such as elk and deer are observed to have a similar avoidance. Dense infestations may increase the potential for soil erosion and reduce the amount of organic matter contributed to soil. The plant is known to infest meadows, native grasslands, pastures, waste areas and transportation rights-of-way. 


Management of oxeye daisy will vary based on size and location of the infestation. In early stages of invasion, an aggressive herbicide or hand-control program may need to be combined with practices such as reseeding and/or application of nitrogen fertilizer to improve competitive ability of the desirable plant community. The priority for large-scale infestations should be stopping movement to new sites, controlling small satellite populations with herbicides, containing spread along roadsides and outer edges of the infestation with herbicides, and increasing the competitive ability of desirable vegetation. 


Field studies conducted in four western states (Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon) and Ontario, Canada looked at effectiveness of various herbicides on oxeye daisy. Herbicide applications were made at the bud to bloom stage. Results of those studies show that Milestone® herbicide at 4 to 7 fluid ounces per acre (fl oz/A) provides good to excellent control of oxeye daisy for at least one year following treatment. The addition of 2,4-D to Milestone did not improve control over Milestone alone. Metsulfuron-methly at 1 ounce of product per acre (oz/A) provided similar control of mature plants. However, in some studies oxeye daisy seedlings reinvaded within a year after treatment on metsulfuron plots. Shorter soil residual with metsulfuron herbicide compared to Milestone may have allowed seedlings to reinvade. Opensight® herbicide, which combines aminopyralid (Milestone) and metsulfuron-methyl in a dry, water dispersible granule formulation, effectively controls oxeye daisy at 2.5 to 3.3 oz/A. Control with 2,4-D at 2 quarts per acre was poor the season of treatment and one year following treatment.

Field studies conducted in Washington suggest that the addition of 80 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer per acre in combination with an herbicide treatment could increase long-term control of oxeye daisy. Grass production increased significantly with fertilization thus increasing the competitive ability of the grasses against oxeye daisy reinvasion.

Figure. Summary of seven herbicide field trials conducted on oxeye daisy in the United States and Canada. Percent control 30-90 and 365-500 days after application (DAA).

Figure. Summary of seven herbicide field trials conducted on oxeye daisy in the United States and Canada. Percent control 30-90 and 365-500 days after application (DAA).


Hand pulling or grubbing can be effective on small infestations of oxeye daisy, but must be continued until the soil seed bank is depleted. Follow-up treatments that include seeding with desirable species and/or fertilization on sites with low fertility may be necessary to reduce reinvasion potential of oxeye daisy on sites disturbed by hand removal. Mowing before bloom will reduce seed production but will not reduce oxeye daisy populations. 

Prescribed burning is not effective on oxeye daisy and disturbance caused by fire may increase susceptibility of the site to invasion. There are no biological control agents available for oxeye daisy. 

Desirable plant competition reduces the invasive ability of oxeye daisy and increases effectiveness of management methods. Practices that increase the competitiveness of desirable plant species and communities such as nutrient management and critical area planting (for example, after a wildfire) will make the environment less suitable for oxeye daisy survival and spread. With any management method, follow-up monitoring after treatment is important to control seedling populations germinating from the long-lived soil seed bank. 


Published April, 2016; Revised June 2019. 

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Milestone and Opensight herbicides are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. When treating areas in and around roadside or utility rights-of-way that are or will be grazed, hayed or planted to forage, important label precautions apply regarding harvesting hay from treated sites, using manure from animals grazing on treated areas or rotating the treated area to sensitive crops. See the product label for details.

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