Do you have wild violets growing your yard? Wild violets (Viola papilionacea) are actually a perennial weed with a delicate white-to-lavender bloom and a propensity to overtake a lawn quickly. Wild violets are found through out most of the United States and while they prefer cool, shady areas, it doesn’t take much encouragement for them to move in a sunny lawn.
Despite being cute little things, wild violets really aren’t that great to have growing in the yard. These plants have fibrous, heart shape leaves that are hard to mow and even a denser root system which can choke out healthy turf and bedding plants. Wild violets spread both by seeds or creeping rhizomes which makes them tough to keep under control.
How to kill wild violets non organically & organically
Back in the days before our yard went “organic”, we kept wild violets at bay with a two or three way broadleaf herbicide combined with Triclopyr. To keep the wild violets under reasonable control, two applications a year were required. Getting rid of the violets altogether meant diligently spraying the area for several years.
Roundup of course was also very effective in keeping wild violets from moving onto into the yard. Roundup worked fine in the ornamental beds and areas along the driveway where there wasn’t much of a lawn. However, like the Triclopyr, diligence and repeated applications of Roundup are needed to completely get rid of the wild violet weeds.
For the past ten years, we’ve been dealing with wild violets organically. Since the violets do multiply through the rhizomes, digging the plants up roots and all, is the only way to get rid of these little guys for good.
* Hand trowel for smaller areas, small flat tip spade for larger areas.
* Garden gloves
* Trash bag
* Grass seed or “lawn patch” if digging up large areas of wild violets.
1. Water the ground the night before. This makes the wild violets and the rhizomes much easier to dig up.
2. Use the trowel to dig up the violets and the root system. The rhizomes are about the size of a grub, and will have small roots attached to them.
3. Knock off the excess dirt from the roots, and toss the weed in the bag. (Like most other weeds, it’s probably not a good idea to compost them). If working large areas, a spade will make the job much easier. Dig up all visible violets, taking care to capture as many of the roots as possible. A digging depth of about 3 inches usually is sufficient.
4. Once the weeds are out, level the ground and reseed.
5. Keep an eye on the reseeded patch for any new violets that managed to survive. Use a trowel to remove.
What’s important to remember about wild violets is that you probably never will be able to get rid of all of them permanently without resulting to a complete chemical attack. At our urban homestead farm, we enjoy the wild violets that come up in the orchard areas, and remove the ones that invade the lawn and garden beds.