Two questions: How can I get rid of wild African violets that have taken over my yard? And how can I keep the deer out of my hostas?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Larry: Violets can be a challenge to eliminate in our lawns. You may never be totally free of them but there are means of keeping the numbers down. 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 we mow the seeds spread, so keep an eye out for new plants popping up next spring. Removing the root system is essential for controlling these weeds, and hand digging is the most effective means of elimination because if done properly it will remove the root system as well as any potential flowers. Hand digging is quite a task and depending on the space involved, it 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 this fall and again as the foliage emerges next spring will help get them under control. As with any product, be sure to read and follow all recommendations when spraying in the lawn/garden. As for your hostas, deer love them and once they find a source of good food it is difficult to deter them. There are many repellents on the market. They are available in both liquid and granular form. These repellents are effective in that, depending on the product, they have an offensive odor and the deer think there is a predator in the area. These products will need to be re-applied after a heavy rain but applying them early in the season is a good idea so that they will be trained to find food elsewhere.