Wild violets, while perhaps a thing of beauty, disrupt and even take over a lawn in just a few years. They are particularly fond of shady areas. Well cared for lawns do not often experience much trouble from wild violets. However those that have been neglected are fair game to this quick-spreading plant. Selecting the appropriate herbicide and providing diligent care may over time help remove this pesky plant from your lawn.
What Are Wild Violets
To some, the tiny purple, white or yellow flowers are among the first harbingers of spring and considered wild flowers. To others they are a nuisance that spreads easily and disrupts a lawn. This perennial is capable of lasting many years during which time it can multiply significantly. It grows to a height of between 2 and 5 inches with heart-shaped, hairless leaves. Wild violets are rhizomes that have underground, horizontal stems that send out roots and shoots along the stem, making it easy for the plant to spread.
The rhizomes can spread quickly underground making it difficult to remove the entire structure without disruption to other plant root structures. New shoots will pop up all over a lawn or pasture and the roots will crowd out the desired plants. Even leaving a small piece of the rhizome behind is enough to guarantee that the wild violets will return.
Wild violets are difficult to control. Several applications of herbicide are necessary. It may be necessary to use more than one type of herbicide to gain sufficient control of wild violets. The type of herbicide to use is that designated for use on broadleaf plants. Chemicals that are, to some degree, more or less effective in eradicating wild violets are metsulfuron, sulfosulfuron, dicamba and a mixture of 2,4-D and triclopyr. It may take several years before the complete removal of wild violets occurs.
Not all of these chemicals are available to homeowners. Only certified applicators may apply the 2,4-D and triclopyr solution. Metsulfuron when sold as Escort may not be used on residential lawns. Regrowth of the wild violets will occur, which is why it is necessary to reapply and use to use different herbicides in order to effect a more complete eradication of the wild violets. Check labels before purchasing herbicide to make sure the solution contains one of these chemicals. Also check on the chemicals effect on the type of grass in the area. Not all of these chemicals are compatible with all grass types.
As with most problems, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to defend against wild violets is to take proper care of the lawn in the first place. Begin by selecting proper grass types for your area. Make sure to fertilize, water and mow the lawn regularly to stimulate dense growth. The denser the desired lawn is, the more difficult it is for weeds, including wild violets to take hold.