Hard to Kill Lawn Weeds

 
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Celandine

Celandine

Violet

Violet

Field Woodrush

Field Woodrush

Germander Speedwell

Germander Speedwell

Slender Speedwell

Slender Speedwell

*The above Lawn Weed Control Products are available in the Lawnsmith Shop and discussed below:

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The worst of the hard to kill weeds are:

Celandine

Also known as Lesser Celandine or Figwort. This is one of the first weeds to appear. A low growing plant with waxy spade shaped leaves growing from a tuber which produces bright buttercup shaped flowers. A pretty plant though it can eventually colonise large areas of lawn if left unchecked. Flowers in March and April and will then disappear in May to re-emerge next spring:

  • Short life span above ground means treating in early spring only
  • Waxy leaf makes penetration of chemicals difficult
  • Likes damp shady areas so improve drainage and light penetration if possible
  • Digging the small tubers out is the best approach

Violet - an escapee from the garden

If this one manages to get into your lawn you'll regret planting it in the first place:

  • Spreads easily from the borders so start by removing them first
  • Digging them out is the best approach
  • Spot treat with the ready to use weed killers listed above

Woodrush - hairy coarse leaves

If the conditions are right this weed can be present in the lawn all year round though it is most obvious during its flowering period in the early spring. Often mistaken for coarse grass this stubby grass like weed has very hairy coarse leaves with a dark 'bobble' like seed head. Forms large patches in the lawn by sending out stolons to create new plants.

This plant favours wet acidic conditions and with the wet summers of 2007 and 2008 has spread far and wide. In addition, it appears now to establish in any lawn to some degree regardless of acidity.

  • Likes sandy or acidic soils - though any lawn can be infested
  • Adding ground limestone may help but may also invite other weeds and coarser grasses
  • Hairy leaves prevents contact between leaf and weed killer so is hard to kill
  • The plant is also resistant to most weed killers
  • Digging them out is the best approach
  • Though not guaranteed it is possible to treat with weed killer in late summer or autumn when the hairs on the leaves are less prevalent. A repeat application will more than likely be needed 6 weeks after the first

Speedwell

Though there are perhaps two dozen or more varieties of speedwell you are only likely to be bothered by Germander and Slender Speedwell with the latter being a garden escapee; lovely!

Germander Speedwell: Bright blue flower with a white eye, also known as Bird's-eye Speedwell. Leaves have jagged or toothed edges. Becomes low growing and dense when in the lawn compared to a lanky growth habit in the borders.

Slender Speedwell: Tiny pink or mauve flower, also known as Round-leaved Speedwell. Has a similar growth habit to Germander Speedwell.

Both these plants spread from cuttings so most occurrences are due to mulch mowing, raking, scarifying or mowing in general where some plant material is left behind. Therefore, removing all mowings and any plants from the borders is a very good idea.

  • Present all year round in the lawn
  • Very resistant to weed killers though you may have some success with Verdone*
  • Can be checked with ferrous sulphate in spring but is unlikely to die
  • Can be controlled by frequent raking or scarifying though you must collect ALL the debris
  • Digging the plant out is the only sure way of removing it

There is one final approach that can be taken with these weeds if the problem is severe; that is to renovate the area by killing the whole lot off with a glyphosate type product, raking out the dead grass and weeds and then sowing grass seed on the clean surface.

 
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