What is the best way to kill the wild violet in my lawn ?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Kevin: The common wild violet (Viola papilionacea) is a relentless perennial weed. Native to North America, it has become a nuisance for many gardeners. Eliminating violets from the lawn can be a daunting task and your lawn may never be violet-free, but keeping them under control is the goal. It may take a couple of years to get rid of most of the violets, but getting them under control in terms of population will help reduce new ones from popping up the next year. Wild violets are perennial broadleaf weeds that spread by underground rhizomes. It is best to dig them up as soon as you notice them so they cannot flower and set seed. Unfortunately, they have already flowered and set seed this year–when the grass was mowed the seeds were spread, so keep an eye out for new plants throughout the growing season and next spring. Hand digging is the most effective means of elimination because it removes the root system as well as any potential flowers. This task it much easier done with a weeding tool to ensure that you get not only the foliage but the fibrous root system as well. I realize this is quite an undertaking and depending on the space involved, hand digging may not be feasible. It is always much easier to pull these violets after a good rain. Wild violets have a waxy coating on the foliage that protects them against many common organic and chemical sprays. Using an herbicide containing 2,4-D
(2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) in combination with Triclopyr (Turflon or Weed-B-Gone) once in the spring as the foliage emerges and again in the fall will help reduce the population. Be sure to read and follow all recommendations when spraying any product in the lawn/garden. Do not be too discouraged when they keep appearing, this will be an ongoing job and requires a bit of patience.