How to Control Wild Violets


Wild violet (Viola pratincola) does not stop with its pretty carpet of purple and white spring flowers, but continues through the summer, autumn, and mild winter weather, spreading rhizomes laterally underground, and developing a dense mat of glossy heart-shaped foliage which can choke out grass, annuals and even hardy perennials. Persistent application of appropriate herbicides accompanied by physical removal can bring wild violets under control.

Step 1

Apply glysophate herbicide to the entire area of wild violets, according to manufacturer's directions, on a cool, damp evening (to aid herbicide in sticking to waxy violet leaves) in early September.

Step 2

Apply triclopyr herbicide according to manufacturer's directions two weeks after the glysophate herbicide application--also on a cool, damp autumn evening.

Step 3

Loosen soil in the area where violets are growing by turning it with a spading fork in the late spring, after the ground is dry enough to be worked and the spring crop of wild violets has had a chance to emerge. Hand-weed emerging violet plants from the loosened soil.

Step 4

Place a hardware cloth square across a wheelbarrow, and shovel the top 6 inches of dirt from the area where the violets are growing onto the hardware cloth. Run your hands through the soil, removing violet plants and their rhizome root masses, allowing the clean soil to fall through into the wheelbarrow. Return the cleaned soil to the ground, and discard wild violet rhizomes and plant matter by burning or throwing them in the trash--do not compost.

Step 5

Add 1 gallon of well-aged compost per square yard of surface area as you return soil from the wheelbarrow to the location where the violets were growing. Replant with desired seeds or plants.

Step 6

Repeat herbicide applications the following fall as necessary.

Tips and Warnings

  • Follow manufacturers' directions carefully for herbicide applications, and exercise extreme caution regarding herbicide drift, as herbicides may kill all broad-leafed plants they come in contact with, including your vegetables, shrubs and flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Glysophate herbicide
  • Triclopyr herbicide
  • Spading fork
  • Flat-bladed shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • 4-foot by 4-foot piece of hardware cloth
  • Compost
  • Seeds or plants for growing at wild violet infestation site


  • Ohio State University Extension: Broadleaf Weed Control for Home Lawns
  • University of Massachusetts Extension: Wild Violets
  • University of Connecticut Extension: How Do I Control Wild Violet in my Lawn?

Who Can Help

  • U. Nebraska-Lincoln: Weed Control--Dandelion, Ground Ivy, and Wild Violets
Keywords: violet weeds, weed control, wild violets

About this Author

Cindy Hill has practiced law since 1987 and maintained a career in freelance writing since 1978. Hill has won numerous fiction and poetry awards and has published widely in the field of law and politics. She is an adjunct instructor of ethics and communications.