There’s an old saying that goes where there’s one mouse, there’s more. Unfortunately, the same could be said of wild violets in lawns. If you’ve spotted one violet, chances are there’s an underground root system spreading like wildfire. While it technically isn’t an invasive species, because it’s native to North America, it is incredibly invasive when it comes to lawns. They take root quickly and are difficult to eradicate – but not impossible. Today, we’ll discuss this perturbing plant and what you can do about it.
Several species are classified as “wild violets.” Viola papilionacea, Viola sororia, Viola pubescens, and several others, to name a few. While some gardeners may find these wildflowers attractive, many homeowners are dismayed to find them amongst the grass. You can easily identify wild violets. They are short plants, growing close to the ground, and produce waxy, heart-shaped leaves. (This wax is partly why they’re so hard to eradicate – more on this later.) They prefer shadier areas of your yard, and their most distinguishing and identifiable feature is the lovely purple flower they produce.
Before we discuss how to remove them, it’s important to understand what makes them so tough. The answer is two-fold. Firstly, there’s the waxy substance on their leaves. As we mentioned earlier, violet leaves are unique among their perennial broadleaf friends. This makes it harder – but not impossible – to use herbicides. Secondly, they spread through complex rhizomes systems beneath the soil. As such, you can manually remove them, but it takes more digging than you might think. You’ll need to be careful which spot treatments you choose, as they may not be powerful enough to kill the violets, but they very well may kill the grass.
Wild violets frequently commandeer lawns that are not well kept. As such, it’s important to keep up with yard maintenance. This will not only guard against future violet outbreaks but plenty of other weeds as well. A good lawn care program can also prevent insects and other pests. In short, keeping a healthy lawn protects a whole variety of problems. But back to violets. It’s perfectly acceptable to dig them out, but as we mentioned earlier, they have rhizomes. Therefore, you need to dig horizontal under the soil, not straight down, to really remove as much of the root system as possible. Don’t be discouraged if it takes several years to completely remove violets in this way. You’re not a bad gardener – you’re just up against one tough weed!
You can use a spot treatment for weeds but be very careful only to apply the herbicide to the violets, or you may harm your grass. Also, you should use a herbicide that contains 2,4-D or Dicamba. You may need to apply the treatment several times to penetrate the waxy leaves.
Once you’ve eliminated the violets already on your lawn, you can start preventing future ones from returning.
There’s nothing wrong with a few trees in your yard, but violets often thrive in areas that receive no sunlight whatsoever. You may want to consider trimming back some trees, shrubs, or other foliage, so the environment is less appealing for violets.
Violets prefer moist soil, so if your yard struggles with excess water after a rainstorm, consider having your yard leveled out or installing a drain system. Removing excess moisture can help prevent lawn diseases as well!
Turfgrass only needs one to one and a half inches of water a week – and that includes any rainfall. If you’re still watering your lawn a day after it rains, you could be creating an environment where violets would thrive.
Turfgrass mix is almost always blended because the diversity makes your lawn more resistant to disease, drought, and infestations. However, if your lawn is especially prone to wild violets, you may want to ask your lawn care professional about adding more fescue to the mix. Compared to other common grass blends, like Kentucky bluegrass, fescues are better at withstanding violet infestations.
This is the best solution for removing and keeping violets from your lawn. A lawn care technician is well-trained to identify and treat all kinds of broadleaf weeds, including violets. Plus, they’ll handle all the regular lawn maintenance so you can enjoy a weed-free healthy lawn and more free time!
Violets are tricky, but proper lawn maintenance with Farison Lawn Care can help. A comprehensive lawn care program with weed control applications such as the one that Farison offers can help keep your lawn healthy and better able to ward off weed infestations. Call (502) 245-9422 or contact us online to schedule a lawn maintenance program today! For more tips and ideas on maintaining a gorgeous lawn, be sure to visit our monthly blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!
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