Weeds and more weeds! Every home and business owner’s worst nightmare! They seem to grow out of nowhere and just about everywhere. Here in Minnesota, we have a share of obnoxious, irritating weeds. With spring in full swing and summer along the way, most of us have or will start seeing the wrath of these annoying lawn blemishes on our own lawns. Here in the Minneapolis area, two weeds, in particular, stand out as being overly obnoxious and a challenge to control. Creeping Charlie and wild violets. You either love them or hate them.
Both have a lot of commonalities. They both love the shade, moist ground, and contain above-ground runners called stolons that creep along the grass and set down new roots. This makes them extremely difficult to control. Let’s talk about each, how to identify them and what you can do to get rid of them.
How to Identify Creeping Charlie
Also known as Ground Ivy, creeping Charlie grows along the ground creeping against foundation walls and fences. It is a perennial broadleaf weed and produces vibrant green, round leaves. When the plant is crushed, it gives off a strong mint-like odor. It loves to grow in moist, shady spots such as along the side of buildings, but it will grow in full sunlight. Between April and June, purplish blue-like flowers appear. It forms very densely, mat-like patches that inadvertently crowd out your surrounding turf. Its aggressive rooting stolons and ability to tolerate low mowing heights make it one of the hardest weeds to control.
What Are Wild Violets?
Wild violet is a low-growing perennial with heart-shaped leaves and small lavender or white flowers. Like creeping Charlie, it thrives in moist, shady areas of your lawn, adapts well to low-mowing heights, and also spreads freely through seeds and through its roots beneath the soil. They also have a waxy substance on their leaves which makes it harder to use herbicides. Lawns not well maintained are often overtaken by these invaders. Shady areas of your lawn are more susceptible.
How to Rid Your Lawn of These Turf Invaders
Both can be removed by hand-pulling, especially if you get a head start on the weeds prior to them spreading. However, due to the rhizomes, you will want to remove the entire root system. This is a task done much easier using a weeding tool, not only to ensure you get the foliage but the fibrous root system as well. Once you have them all removed, be sure to dispose of the plants in such a way that they cannot re-root. In areas where your turf has already been heavily infested, hand-pulling may not be a viable option.
An alternative to the time and energy-consuming hand-pulling is the use of a chemical herbicide. In the Minneapolis area, fall is the best time of year to control wild violets and creeping Charlie. During the cooler temperatures, the herbicide will be transported down to the taproot as the plant stores nutrients for winter. You will want to use a weed killer that contains (3,6-dichloro-o-anisic acid), 2,4-D (2, 4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), and mecoprop or MCPP [2-(2- methly-4-chlorophenoxy) propionic acid] or, 2, 4-DP. You may need to apply the treatment several times to completely eradicate these menacing weeds.
Be careful when using these and any herbicides because the active ingredients needed to kill creeping Charlie and wild violets are not to be used in your flower gardens or near vegetables as they too will die.
How Can I Prevent These Weeds From Showing Up in the First Place?
Because both of these weeds thrive in moist, shady spots, you can try altering the locations of trees and shrubs. Improve soil drainage or water less frequently and prune trees to increase the sunlight that penetrates through. Mow regularly to a height of two to three and one-half inches, fertilize, and water properly. Choose a turfgrass blend that includes fescue because it is better suited to withstand weeds such as creeping Charlie and wild violets. If in doubt, ask your local lawn care professional which blends to use.
Invest in a regularly scheduled lawn care maintenance plan. Lawn care plans that include fertilization for proper grass nourishment and weed and disease control will help your turf to remain healthy and robust at all times. A strong lawn will be better able to stand up to these grass invaders as well as all other weeds, diseases, and infestations.
These Weeds Are No Match for the Professionals at Showcase Lawn Care Inc.
Stop the hand-pulling and get rid of the frustration! Showcase Lawn Care Inc. understands our native climate and how annoying these two weeds can be. That is why we offer a specific program targeted at eliminating wild violets and creeping Charlie. Allow us to help. Call (763) 425-1200 or contact us now.
Are other weeds infecting your lawn? Our entire weed control service can help give you back the well-manicured turf you love. Remember, prevention is key. The time to start is now. Learn more about this service or contact us now. Don’t forget, the best way to prevent weeds such as creeping Charlie and wild violets from taking over your lawn is with a proper lawn maintenance plan. Your friends at Showcase Lawn Care Inc. offer this as well. Contact us or learn more today.