Sometimes used in gardens or as a decorative ground cover, speedwell is a perennial plant with pretty blue flowers that perk up a property in the spring. Unfortunately, its competitive nature and ability to rapidly reproduce makes it an unwelcome weed before too long. Find out about controlling speedwell before it overpopulates your property.

How to Identify Speedwell

Also known as veronica or gypsyweed, this invasive plant blooms from early spring on with small four-petaled flowers that range in color from white to blueish purple. Petite scalloped leaves and thin stems make up the rest of the speedwell plant. Heart-shaped seed pods hide beneath the flowers. Thriving in shaded areas and moist soil, the creeping plant grows low to the ground.

Why Is this Pretty Weed Problematic?

Speedwell is infamous for its ability to reproduce rapidly. The plant’s slender stems take root at the nodes as it creeps over the ground, eventually forming a dense mat. Thick carpets of speedwell choke out your grasses and plants. Thinning grass and bare patches are especially vulnerable. Once established, the weed’s fibrous root systems are difficult to eliminate.

Controlling Speedwell

There are several species of this weed, and each vary slightly in appearance. Many have the ability to take over your lawn if you don’t take controlling speedwell seriously. The easiest way to prevent an invasion is to maintain a thick healthy lawn that won’t let in any intruders. Follow a proper routine of regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing. When mowing, raise the blade to allow for taller grass. This gives the weed less room to thrive. Also, add aerating and overseeding to your maintenance schedule during the fall, to give your grass a healthy boost. As soon as you identify speedwell in your yard, mow grass immediately after the first flower heads appear. This prevents the plants from setting seed.

If speedwell invades your garden, follow the same approach for watering and feeding and add in regular hoeing and weeding. Mulch helps smother weed growth when applied to the bare areas of soil. When you weed, make sure to remove the entire root system and dispose of all parts of the plant properly. Otherwise, speedwell quickly comes back.

Often, controlling speedwell calls for a combination of natural methods and using a post-emergent broadleaf weed herbicide. The time to use an herbicide is in the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Carefully follow the directions on the label to apply.

To find out more about identifying and controlling speedwell or other weeds, call Free Spray Lawn Care at 419-529-5296.