How to Kill Broadleaf Plantain


Broadleaf plantain is a common turf problem, often arising in poorly kept lawns where open patches of soil present prime areas for weed invasions. This vigorously growing weed can quickly ruin your lawn's appearance, and can sometimes appear elsewhere in your garden, such as in flower beds. Take immediate steps to kill broadleaf plantain to eradicate the problem. Early removal is important to prevent the plantain from growing seeds and spreading even further.

Step 1

Remove the broadleaf plantain manually. This is best for solitary patches of plantain, and the only killing method for mature plants. Grab the main stem at the center of the plantain patch and pull upwards. Discard the plants or allow them to dry upside down before throwing them in your compost pile.

Step 2

Treat your lawn with an isoxaben-based, pre-emergent herbicide to stop broadleaf plantain seeds from germinating. Apply in the early spring according to the herbicide's label as soon as the soil's temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is when broadleaf plaintain seeds start to sprout.

Step 3

Spray broadleaf plaintain seedlings with a lawn herbicide formulated with 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. This sufficiently controls young broadleaf plaintain plants without harming your lawn.

Step 4

Mist mature broadleaf plantain with a glyphosate-based herbicide if the plantain is not near other vegetation. Cover all exposed surfaces of the plantain. It will die within 14 days.

Tips and Warnings

  • Once a broadleaf plantain plant is several inches long, the only successful chemical controls are systemic herbicides like glyphosate. This poses a problem when broadleaf plantain is growing in lawns or among ornamental flowers. In such cases, manually uprooting it is the only way to kill the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Isoxaben-based, pre-emergent lawn herbicide
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid-based lawn herbicide
  • Glyhposate-based systemic herbicide


  • "Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook 2006"; Ray William, et al.; 2006
  • University of California: Plantain Management Guidelines
Keywords: kill broadleaf plantain, plantain weed, kill plaintains

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.