Learn / Ask The Landscape Professional
This flowering plant has continued to overtake my lawn. How do I remove it? It has bulbs on the bottom so you actually have to dig them out which is impossible to do with so many. Thank you. Dennis
The plant in your photo is a species of violet
(viola), one of hundreds of species worldwide.
Your picture shows wild violets, but you also
see violets commonly in landscape plantings,
e.g., Pansies and Johnny Jump Ups. The violet
is actually the state flower of Rhode Island and
three other states (New Jersey, Wisconsin and
Getting rid of violets that have encroached into
your lawn can be a major task, depending on the
size of the area affected. The most earth-friendly
way to remove them from your lawn is to dig
them out as you are doing.
Violets are extremely resistant to chemical
herbicides because herbicides are unable to
penetrate the waxy coating on their leaves; in
addition, those herbicides are incredibly toxic
and dangerous to you and the environment.
If hand-digging is impractical because of the
area, a machine can be brought in to remove the
top 3-4" of soil that includes the violets. New
soil can be put down and the lawn seeded or sodded,
but that can be an expensive proposition. Violets
like moist, part to full shade, acidic soil. You
can consider tree pruning to allow more light and
adding lime to increase the soil pH. A word of
warning, never add lime without first doing a soil
test first to determine how much (or if) lime is
As with other unwanted weeds and plants in your
lawn, the best method of control is to establish
a strong healthy lawn that crowds out the
undesirables. As I mentioned several weeks ago,
avoiding scalping or cutting your grass too short
(3½" or longer is best).
My best advice is to leave them alone and learn
to love them. They are pretty, feed the bees and
butterflies and are very hearty.
If you need assistance with tree pruning, a soil
test or any other matter involving your landscape,
feel free to contact us.
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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.