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I have seen this weed a lot and now it's in my lawn especially along my driveway. What should I do to get rid of it?

Answer

You have plantain weed, the second most common weed in the United States (Dandelions are #1). Plantain has been around for hundreds of years and was brought to this country by the settlers for use as both food and medicine. Plantains have a thick tap root that needs to be completely removed to get rid of them. The best thing to do is to saturate the area around them with water before digging them up. They are perennials and they will come back each year if not removed. You will start to notice them in mid-spring and by summer they send up a stalk with small flowers that bloom and later spread their seeds in the wind. If you don't get a chance to dig them up, pulling off the flower stalk will help keep them from spreading. When plantains are in your lawn it tells you a lot about the condition of your lawn as well as what you can do to prevent them in the future.

1. Plantains always show up in compacted soil. That is why you notice them along your driveway edges, so this means your lawn needs to be aerated and the soil loosened.

2. Plantains show up in lawns that have been cut too short. Your lawn should never be mowed less than 3 1/2" for healthy grass and weed prevention.

3. Plantains like low pH (acidic), infertile soil that needs to be corrected with the addition of lime and perhaps other nutrients. The only way to know what your soil needs is to have a soil test done. NEVER, EVER spread lime on your soil unless you have done a soil test first and know: if you need it, how much you need and what type of lime you need (there are several types of lime). You can create significant soil damage that could take years to fix if you just routinely spread lime each year without following these precautions.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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