Is your lawn infested with wild violets? Are you having a hard time controlling them? You are in the right place.
Wild violet refers to several species of the Viola genus flowers (Viola papilionacea, Viola pubescens, Viola sororia, and others).
They grow in fertile, well moist soils such as those in parks, cemeteries, and yards. They are aggressive plants that spread fast using rhizomes (underground stems).
Once wild violet infests your lawn or yard, getting rid of them is challenging. However, it is possible to kill them. One of the best ways to control them is by using herbicides. Other solutions include removing them by hand.
In this article, we will take a look at how to identify wild violets and various mechanisms to control them. We will also look at tips that will ensure you have an easier time controlling them.
How to identify wild violet weed
The first step to controlling wild violets is identifying the plant. They are low-growing plants – growing to about four to six inches (or higher in a conducive environment). They have green heart-shaped, waxy leaves.
However, their most recognizable feature is their flowers – you can easily identify the plant by the wild purple flowers growing in the yard. However, some plants also produce white or yellow flowers.
Why are wild violets hard to control?
Some people consider wild violets to be flowers; they are beautiful and a close relative of viola garden flowers.
However, they are very aggressive in nature and very stubborn to get rid of – which is why they are considered to be weed plants.
But why is the wild violet so hard to control? Three things make the plant a nightmare for homeowners:
- The underground rhizomes and stolons (runners): two of the mechanism through which the plant spreads aggressively.
- The waxy leaves: make it hard for herbicides to stick to the plant.
- Self-fertilizing flowers: aside from rhizomes and runners, wild violets also spread through seeds. The worst part is some of its flowers are self-fertilizing – meaning that they can reproduce even without the plant blooming.
Top ways of getting rid of wild violets in your lawn
From the above information, it is quite clear that getting rid of wild violets growing in the lawn is a daunting task. However, it is possible to control them with the solutions below:
1. Remove wild violet weed by hands
One of the ways to get rid of the weeds is removal by hand. However, it is only ideal if you have a few plants that have infested your lawn/yard.
To remove the weeds:
- Water the lawn to loosen the soil and make it easy to pull the weeds.
- Wear gardening gloves then grasp the weed plant at the stem near the soil. Then, pull straight up to remove the entire plant – including the root system.
- If the wild violets are well established, removing the entire roots can be an issue. In such a case, you might need to dig around with a garden fork.
Note: the only way to get rid of the wild violet is to remove the entire plant. If part of the root systems – especially rhizomes – remain, the plant will survive and produce new shoots.
2. Kill wild violets using herbicides
Herbicides are the best solution for controlling wild violets, especially if the infestation is widespread. The best wild violet weed killers to use are broadleaf herbicides.
Top examples include those that contain Dicamba, 2,4-D, triclopyr, and MCPP active ingredients. For the best results, I recommend:
You can also look for other herbicides that target wild violets in your local gardening shop.
When purchasing these herbicides, it is also a good idea to buy a surfactant (spreader-sticker product). Mix the product with the wild violet weed killer before applying to ensure that it sticks on the leaves of the weeds.
Other tricks that can help improve wild violet control when using herbicides include:
- Spot applying the herbicide with a hand sprayer: this will ensure that you get all the weeds while avoiding spraying of lawn and other useful plants.
- Spraying the plants during fall: during this season, the herbicide will be transported into the root system, as the plant tries to store nutrients and water for the winter period. Therefore, it will have a higher chance of success than say spring or summer.
- Applying the herbicide repeatedly: some weeds may survive the first or even second treatment. However, the repeated application will completely kill off these stubborn wild violet plants.
Controlling wild violets on the lawn is not an easy task. Despite their beautiful flower, the plants are very aggressive. If left unchecked, they can take over your entire lawn, garden, or yard with their rhizomes, runners, or self-sterilizing flowers.
Furthermore, they are very stubborn and can be very hard to get rid of. However, it is possible to control them using a range of broad-spectrum herbicides. Another solution includes removing the plants by hand – but only if you are dealing with a few weed plants.
More helpful guides
- How to get rid of burweed stickers from your yard
- How to kill white clover but not grass
- What is the best broadleaf herbicide
IW’s Chief Editor and a lover of green spaces.