Asked April 28, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
Kent County Michigan
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Violets are one of the more difficult "weeds" to eradicate from your lawn. Cute as they are, they have the funky little habit of "shooting" their seeds in all directions, thereby taking over more and more area every year.
Digging, cultural/environmental controls, and herbicides (with appropriate timing) can help control this pest plant over time. Triclopyr is the active ingredient in the herbicides of choice against violets, but products containing quinclorac or fluroxpyr will also be effective. Any brand name product containing the above ingredients will be effective so there is no specific name brand we would recommend. Just make sure to read and follow carefully the application directions as listed on the label.
Since plants are storing energy in their roots as they head into winter, fall is an ideal time for an herbicide application, as they will also "store" the herbicide. MSU says "10-4 Good Buddy" meaning early October is a good time to apply pesticides to difficult lawn weeds. Persistence is key. You can also apply the herbicide in the spring. If applying an herbicide in the spring, pay special attention to the fact that once the violets have flowered, new seeds will be released for the growing season. To break this cycle of re-seeding, apply the herbicide before flowering (usually mid-May in our area).
The websites below will give you some help in controlling the spread of violets:
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