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How to Control and Eliminate Wild Violets

posted this on Oct 18, 2016

controlling wild violets

Controlling Wild Violets


Here’s an interesting tidbit that you may or may not know: Violets--you know those pretty little purple things that poetry is written about and that are picked and put in the hair of little girls--they’re actually an aggressive weed that can mess up all the hard work you put into your lawn.


There are actually two kinds of flowers that violets have. One is, of course, the pretty purple ones that are well recognized but the second are plain green that are usually hidden beneath leaves or even underground, that are the main problem. While the purple flowers may be sterile, the plain violets are self-fertilizing and can spread quickly can wreak havoc on your lawn.


Violets can withstand drought and can be frustratingly difficult to remove. If you mow them, because they are often underground, they will pop right back up before you know it. Wild violets can be controlled though it takes some persistence and regular treatment.  The best time to control wild violet outbreaks is during the Fall season as violets will be more readily take in herbicides as they prepare for the winter season.


While some may find these violets troublesome and are glad to get rid of the weed in order to have neat and uniform green lawn, others may enjoy their presence as they start to bloom in the spring. If you’re in the latter party, it’s best to strike a balance because again, the non-pretty violets can


1. Spare some of the Violets. A few of those purple violets make an attractive addition to your lawn. If you have a soft spot for them, leave some of them around and zone in on the rest of your lawn and clearing out the weeds that are beneath the leaves or underground.


2. Hand pull or dig violets. As noted earlier, mowing these pesky weeds off will do no good. Violets need to be dug or pulled out for effective control.


3. Spot treat. If there’s only a few scatterings of violets on your lawn you can spot treat them. Due to their fleshy, energy storing roots, it’s recommended that any non-selective herbicide you use should be systemic such as glyphosate (Roundup for example). It should be noted that THIS CHEMICAL WILL ALSO KILL GRASS so be sure to aim the chemical only on the individual weeds or treat areas where you plan to replant soil and grass. Spot treating can also be done with the herbicide, triclopyr (Turflon). Unlike Roundup, this is a selective herbicide which will focus on the individual weeds and will not affect grass.


Image result for spray herbicide lawn


4. Use chemical herbicides. If large areas of your lawn have been affected, violets can be killed with selective herbicides. You may need to repeat application in order to ensure the weeds are gone permanently. If large areas of lawn are in poor condition and the violets continue to return, it is recommended to kill the entire lawn in late summer, replace the soil, and reseed in the fall.


5. Improve lawn maintenance. Once the wild violets under control using one of the methods above, the only long-term solution is to improve the health and vigor of the grass so it will choke out new plants before they become established. Steps may include reducing shade, improving soil drainage, watering turf during periods of dryness, and selecting grasses well adapted to local conditions. Mow on a high setting to help shade out weeds. It is especially important not to scalp shaded areas by mowing too low.

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