Blackseed plantain (Plantago rugelii) is a fibrous-rooted perennial that grows in a rosette form. The leaves are smooth and elliptical in length and measure up to 3 inches in width and 6 inches in length. The plant is red tinged toward the base at ground level, and the base of each leaf is purple tinged. The weed enjoys growing in compacted nutrient poor soils and can overtake lawns, pastures and roadsides. Rattail-like seed heads form on 12-inch-long stalks. Control can be gained from pulling, hoeing or herbicides.
Thoroughly water the area where the blackseed plantain is growing. Use gloves and grasp the plant at the base and rip upward. Promptly dispose of the plant in a plastic bag. Take a hoe and hack at the hole that remains to destroy the root system. If the plant is relatively small this can be an ideal control method but on larger plants the blackseed plantain will usually grow back within a short time frame.
Mow areas of intense invasion frequently. Mowing will prevent the blackseed plantain from setting seed stalks, which will help stop the spread of the plants.
Apply the herbicide 2,4-D to blackseed plantain in the spring or fall. Follow the directions on the label. Mix the herbicide in a hand-held garden pump sprayer or a backpack sprayer. Apply only to the blackseed plantain. Choose a day that is calm without much wind for application. The temperature should be between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Herbicide 2,4-D works the best for a complete weed kill in the fall when the plant is storing nutrients for the winter so it absorbs the herbicide better.
Maintain a healthy lawn to prevent re-infestation of blackseed plantain. If the lawn is healthy, strong and fertilized regularly, the weed will have a difficult time taking hold.