Viola papilionacea, Viola sororia, Viola pubescens, and the other species, which are known as wild violets, are a close relative of violas, pansies, and the other garden flowers. They are usually found in many northern regions of the United States. While some people may seem fine with their existence, some other ones are annoyed by them and regard them as stubborn perennial lawn weeds.
If you are included as one of those who find the wild violets annoying, you may want to get rid of them. However, you have no idea how to do that, that’s why you are here. So, how to get rid of wild violets?
Before anything, you should know how to identify wild violets first. It is really easy to identify them by their low growth habit. Not only that, they also have a unique appearance, making it easier to be recognized. The plants have waxy, heart-shaped leaves and small lavender, white or yellow flowers. They are usually around 4-6 inches high. However, it is possible for them to be taller in the right conditions.
As you already know how the wild violets look, it should be easy for you to recognize them. Now, let’s talk about the methods to get rid of them. There are a total of two ways to get rid of wild violets, as follows:
Method 1: Getting Rid of Wild Violets by Hand
Getting rid of wild violets by hand is best if these plants are still young. If they are large, a garden fork may be needed. If you want to get rid of violets by hand, here is step by step to follow:
- First of all, you should get tick gardening gloves and then wear them in order to protect your hands as you pull the wild violets.
- Once your hands are covered by gloves, moisten the area thoroughly with a garden hose and then wait about a half hour. It is useful to loosen the soil and to make it easier to pull the plants.
- When the time is over, grasp the main stem close to the soil line and then pull straight up. Do it if the wild violets are the young ones. For your information, the young ones have a relatively shallow root system, which usually comes out of the ground with ease.
- If the wild violets are large and established, you may want to use a garden fork to make everything easier. Upon getting the fork, dig under the plant to loosen the soil around it. After you manage to get the tool beneath the plant, lift it from underneath and then get rid as much of the root system as possible.
Method 1: Getting Rid of Wild Violets with Herbicide
When it comes to getting rid of wild violets with herbicide, spotting treat individual weeds is better compared to spraying weed killer over the entire area. The main reason for it is because it can minimize the chemicals that are being introduced into the environment. With a garden sprayer with a wand nozzle, you will be able to target the leaves of individual weeds with almost no drift of chemical mist.
If you prefer to get rid of the wild violets with herbicide, you can follow the following instructions:
- The first thing that you have to do is to mix up a batch of broad-spectrum weed killer in a garden sprayer. Do it by following the direction given by the label. Do not forget to also wear the protective gear that is recommended by the label.
- Then, add surfactant to the weed killer. Aside from that, another option is to add a tablespoon of dish soap. While the herbicide can run off due to the waxy leaves of the wild violets, the surfactant will help it stick so it can be absorbed.
- The next thing that you have to do is to spot treat individual wild violet plants with the herbicide mixture, thoroughly wetting all the leaves.
- After that, you should observe the plants over the next two to three weeks. Visit them again when they turn brown and die. Once they are completely dead, it is the best time to get rid of the brown leaves by using your hand.
- In case the wild violets do not die completely even after two or three weeks, you are suggested to treat them again with herbicide. While it is rare for some plants to survive the winter and make their comeback in the spring, it is still possible. In this case, you can just treat them again with herbicide in the spring as new growth is starting.
If you manage to successfully get rid of the wild violets with either method, you will have to prevent them from coming back unless you are okay with them. Below is how you can keep these things in check:
- Lawn care best practices: Try your best to maintain the lawn.
- Mulching: Apply a thick layer of mulch to the area you weeded in order to suffocate any small bits of plant or root system left in the soil. Do it within a day or two after hand weeding.
- Pruning: Wild violets love light shade where turfgrass struggles to grow. Just trim the trees and overgrown shrubs so that more sunlight can hit patches of the lawn where the flowers are proliferating.
- Drainage: Wild violets thrive in moist soil. It means you can improve the drainage of your garden or lawn to prevent them from thriving. Plus, make sure to also aerate the soil or mix in coarse organic material such as sawdust, sand or gypsum.
If the wild violets cannot be removed, it may be the sign for you to just let them be. While they are “wild”, they have pretty flowers that bloom early and often. In addition, they can be a great ground cover in most, shady areas where it is hard for grass to grow.