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How to stop wild-violet invasion?

Barbara Asked

Wild violets are invading my yard. Don’t seem to be able to stop them. Do you have any suggestions?



The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Barbara: Eliminating violets from the lawn can be extremely difficult and your lawn may never be violet free but keeping the numbers down 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 that they can not flower and set seed. Unfortunately, they have already flowered and set seed this year so 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. But, even hand digging does not guarantee elimination; if any part of the rhizome is left in the ground it will rejuvenate. I realize that this is quite a task and depending on the space involved, hand digging may not be feasible.

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. Any herbicide that has Triclopyr listed as the key ingredient will work best. Be sure to follow the instructions for the herbicide that you purchase. Each one may differ in terms of application rates and schedules.

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