Best known for pretty purplish-blue flowers, wild violet (Viola papilionacea, Viola sororia) may appear to be just a colorful plant, but it can quickly become a bothersome weed in your yard or garden. If you consider yourself someone who is not so “wild” about violets, you’ve probably already discovered how determined they are to rapidly spread across your lawn. So what can be done to control wild violet in Ohio lawns?

These persistent perennials make their first appearance in mid-May and are typically found in moist, shady places, but occasionally take root in sunny, arid areas. The low-growing plants get their name from their colorful flowers, but shades can range from deep blue all the way to white. The plant has waxy, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges, and leafless stalks shoot up from the center of the plant, each holding only one small flower.

Combating Wild Violet in Ohio Lawns

Many people try to solve their wild violet invasion by pulling them out. However, these plants have a dense, fibrous root system below ground, called a rhizome, which makes eliminating the weed very difficult. If you try to pull one out of the ground and you don’t get the entire root, it will easily produce new shoots.

As always, the best defense is a healthy, well-maintained lawn. Lush, green lawns tend to keep the roots of wild violets from spreading, so start a regimen of regular watering, mowing, and fertilizing right away.

Treating these persistent pests with herbicide may be your best bet. The most suitable time to wage war on wild violet weeds is during the fall. The plants are preparing themselves for winter, so they’ll be sure to take food or herbicides into their root system. Using an herbicide requires great care so you don’t kill grasses or plants you wish to keep, therefore be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. Repeated applications are often necessary. One of the reasons some chemicals are not effective at killing wild violets is because their waxy leaves make it difficult for anything to stick to the surface. In order to help the herbicide to stay put on the plant, you can mix in dish detergent—about one tablespoon per gallon of spray.

To find out more on how to keep wild violets and other weeds from taking over your lawn, contact us today at [phone].