“Roses are red, violets are blue”? Even if the old poem doesn’t make much sense when looking at the purplish color of violets, one thing is certain. If you have violets all over you lawn, you’re more likely to be “blue”. Wild violets are a persistent perennial weed that property owners can encounter in their lawn. It only takes a few years before this troublesome weed can take over areas of lawns, choking out the grass.
Violets not only spread by seed, but they multiply easily underground. Their root system spreads out to birth new plants through rhizomes. That’s why digging them out is rarely effective. Severing these root parts often promotes more growth as this giant organism tries to stay alive and regrow. To make matters worse, wild violets have a thick, waxy coating on their leaves. This makes applying most herbicides problematic as some materials are not able to thoroughly penetrate leaves, and merely bead off.
Violets can adapt to a variety of environments. They are tolerant of all sorts of stresses that turfgrasses are not, like drought for one. This means as your lawn declines, the violets won’t be phased. You’ll often find a stand of them in a partially sunny to shady area, especially if fertility is low in the soil, and the soil is compacted. Again, not great conditions for turfgrass to grow.
To get rid of violets, you’ll have a harder task than just getting rid of dandelions. Follow these basic principles to win the war on violets:
- Use the right herbicides. You’ll be hard pressed to try to wipe out a violet infestation with your four-step, hardware store, bags of lawn products. Violets will require multiple applications of liquid selective broadleaf herbicide throughout the year. Each time you treat, you’ll notice you won’t entirely kill violets, but rather knock them back some. Professional lawn care companies will have an array of weed control products that they change throughout the year for maximum effectiveness. Some of these materials may not be available to the public for purchase. If the lawn is predominantly violets, you may even want to consider completely killing off sections of your lawn with a non-selective herbicide, such as Round-up, and starting from scratch. This may take a couple applications as well before violets are controlled.
- Create an environment that is best for your lawn. Take a soil test for your lawn and add the necessary treatments to correct soil pH and other deficiencies. You’ll often find violets growing in soil with very low soil pH, which grass doesn’t do so hot in. After you get a good handle on the violet populations, core aerate your lawn. This will relieve soil compaction and improve drainage which your grass plants will prefer.
- Fill in the thin or bare areas. The stronger and thicker you can get your lawn, the less chance violets will stand to spread. Seed your lawn. You can either over-seed during a core aeration or slice-seed areas to help them fill-in with new turfgrass.
- Stay on top of things. It may take a couple years to really get a handle on a big crop of violets. Understand that these weeds are very persistent and will try to come back. Don’t wait until it is a big problem again to start a major war in your lawn. Plan proactively with a good lawn care program to keep these weeds in check.
It is possible to get rid of violets if you are more persistent than they are. If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can provide the weed control treatments, soil testing, aeration, or seeding you need to win your violet war, please don’t hesitate to contact us.