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Broadleaf Plantain Weed Control

Plantains aren’t just a savory and sweet side dish you find at a caribbean themed restaurant. You could also find the weed version of plantains, like the broadleaf plantain, growing and making an unsightly blemish on lawns that are not well-maintained. 

This frustrating weed doesn't discriminate when it comes to where it will puts down roots as you are likely to find it between cracks in the sidewalk, along roadsides, in park areas, and in lawns or grassy areas that are not well-maintained. What’s even worse is that broadleaf plantains will grow without warning and take over both sunny and shady spots (though the plant appears to have a preference for moist shade).

Broadleaf plantain is a perennial weed, which means it can be a problem that will continue to torment you and your lawn year after year. It characteristics are broad, oval-shaped leaves (unlike buckhorn plantain, which has long, narrow leaves) and, in the spring, tall flower spikes grow boldly towards the sky from the plant's center.

While plantains can be dug out of soil as part of a treatment program to remove the weed from your yard, the task of carrying that out--especially if you have a sizable outbreak--can be cumbersome. The easier route to take is to treat the weed with herbicides, which we will explain how in our solutions 4 step process ahead.

View our recommended products for broadleaf plantain control below. For more information on controlling broadleaf plantain on your lawn and to get personalized advice and a plan of action from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

How to Get Rid of Broadleaf Plaintain: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification It's important to identify the type of weed you have to make sure that it is actually Broadleaf plantain and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Knowing the exact weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and also which one of our products can best treat that particular weed. This is important because some more stubborn weeds have a high tolerance or resistence to particular herbicides and control methods and are specifically labeled for certain weeds and not for others. If you misdiagnose the weed on your lawn as broadleaf when it's in fact not, you may purchase a herbicide not meant to tackle it and it will lead to disappointing results and overall, a waste of money. We don't want that. 


Broadleaf plantain has a single short, thick taproot with large oval-shaped leaves that lie flat to the ground. The leaves have three to five prominent stringlike veins. It's petite green flowers grow on compact spikes appearing on leafless stalks that grow from its base. The leaves can be hairy and they can also have seed heads which are distinctive and spring out from the center of the large leaves.


If you are unsure whether you have broadleaf plantain or not, you can contact us at identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.


Step Two: Inspection. Once the plant has been properly Identified, you can then move to the inspection process. Chances are, if you have broadleaf plantain, they are hard to miss and they stick out like a sore thumb on your lawn amongst your desired grass and vegetation. Broadleaf plantain is a creeping spreading perennial weed that can cover large areas over a short period of time. It grows from spring to autumn in almost any condition dry or wet, in heavy soils and at very low mowing heights.

Even though their root systems are shallow, yanking them out by hand is usually ineffective because if you leave behind even the tinests portion of root, the plant will regenerate. The smae is the case if you mow or pluck the flower stalk as it will keep growing back.


Step Three: Control. Since handpicking these weeds is not usually effective the best approach is the use of herbicides. Broadleaf weed killer such as Glyphosate 4 Plus Weed Killer Concentrate or SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide  do a great job of controlling broadleaf plantain, with the product going down into the root system to kill the entire plant. Another great option is a three way herbicide such as 2 4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer. You can also choose to put down a pre-emergent like Isoxaben 75WG to keep the broadleaf plantain from rearing it's ugly head during its growing season.


Broadleaf plantain is a stubborn weed so you may have to conduct repeat applications every 10 days or so of the herbicide you selected to get complete control.  Be sure to read and follow label directions so you get the proper application and mixing rates. Best case scenario, a single application of one of the weed killers we suggested in the spring or fall will control plantain and other broadleaf weeds, roots and all. Make sure to spot spray rather than do a broadcast application of your entire yard.


Step Four: Prevention. The best defense against broadleaf plantain is a thick lush lawn that is properly maintained and well-fed. A thick dense lawn that is well-fertilized will be better able to choke out broadleaf plantain weeds and not allow them room to establish. Solutions carries various fertilizers that you can purchase to give your yard a steady diet of essential nutrients. Also mowing regularly and at the proper height (not too short) can go a long way in keeping broadleaf plantain from establishing itself on your lawn.

Have Some Grassy Weeds You Want Gone? View Our Grassy Weed Control Section 

Learn More About Broadleaf Plantain

Originally found in Europe, broadleaf plantain is a broadleaf perennial plant which can thrive in a variety of soil conditions such as; dry, wet, heavy soil, and low mowing height. The leaves vary in color between green or purplish and they normally look to be oval or egg shaped. Broadleaf plantain flowers from their base during the summer months and are typically found on turfs between June through September.

There are two primary types of plantain commonly found in lawns - Broadleaf (Plantago major), of course being one of them, and Buckhorn, or narrow-leaved, plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Both of these weeds are distinguished by their short, thick tap roots and leaves which grow in a rosette. Plantain have a preference of growing by full sun, however they can also grow in some shade.

Broadleaf plantain has dark green, egg-shaped leaves that grow low to the ground while buckhorn are narrow and lance-shapes.. The leaves are usually smooth with wavy edges, between 3 to 7 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide, and have between 3 and 5 defined parallel veins. The flowers of the plantain plant are produced on long narrow spikes, and a healthy plant can produce up to 14,000 seeds annually. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for 60+ years. Broadleaf plantain thrives in compacted soil with heavy traffic. In contrast, buckhorn plaintain cannot withstand heavy traffic and have bullet-shaped flowers which form in tight clusters at the end of long stalks.

For more information on controlling broadleaf plantain on your lawn and to get personalized advice and a plan of action from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

Broadleaf Plantains Are Not All Bad!

It’s interesting to note that while broadleaf plantain may be an unwanted weed on turfs and lawns, the plant itself derives many benefits. Older leaves have been known to use as a mouthwash to treat sores and toothaches when boiled in hot water. The plant has also been known to treat sores, blisters, insect bites, and other external injuries when breaking the leaves apart and rubbing them against the skin.. With the growing trend of natural herbal remedies, many medical products to treat upper respiratory tract infections and other ailments have plantain as part of their ingredients.

Broadleaf plantain would be good to try sauteing the leaf in a pan with olive oil as it is loaded with iron, vitamin K and calcium. If you have an issue with this weed growing on your property and don't wish to use chemicals, you can always eat the plants away.

Have A Lawn Issue That Isn’t Listed on this Page ? Check out Our Lawn Care Main Category!



Broadleaf Plantain Additional Tips and Recommendations

If you have broadleaf plantains growing on your soil, that’s usually an indicator that the soil has been compacted in that area. Broadleaf plantains usually begin sprouting in tree lawns and areas that experience a lot of foot traffic, like athletic fields, since constant traffic can compact the soil.

Before using an herbicide we suggest aerating the lawn to reduce the compaction of the soil or use liquid aeration to help loosen the soil and make things more favorable for the grass to grow so the plantain won’t be able to compete.

To get rid of the existing plantain, if you only have a small amount, we suggest pulling out those by hand, however if there is a large outbreak, a herbicide would make the job a lot more faster and convenient.

  • For post-emergent control, we highly recommend using a reduced risk selective herbicide like SpeedZone, which targets broadleaf weeds like plantain without harming your lawn.

  • If the broadleaf plantain is already mature, another option to use would be a glyphosate-based herbicide. Since glyphosate in non-selective, spot treat only the plantain, making sure it doesn’t contact other vegetation.

  • A pre-emergent herbicide can be applied in early spring before the broadleaf plantain seeds germinate. We recommend using an isoxaben-based, pre-emergent herbicide to treat broadleaf plantain in particular.

Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


Additional Resources:


Broadleaf plantain: North America's second-most common lawn weed





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