Take back your yard from weeds

The Southern Gazette - - Homes - Car­son Arthur Coun­try Gar­dens

Want to take back your yard from some pretty se­ri­ous weeds? You are not alone.

Here is a ques­tion from Eliz­a­beth.

Q) For the past three years I paid a com­pany to do my front and back lawns. This spring my back yard was full of white vi­o­lets. Pretty to look at, how­ever not good to have. The com­pany that I paid un­der con­tract to look af­ter the lawns ad­vised me that they could not do any­thing for me. They ad­vised I have the back lawn com­pletely re­moved and new fill be brought in and sod or seeded lawn back where it should be.

~ Eliz­a­beth

A) Be­fore I an­swer your ques­tion Eliz­a­beth, I have a few of my own ... and these should ap­ply to ev­ery­one who wants the per­fect lawn.

First, why are the vi­o­lets so bad in your lawn? Many of the weeds that peo­ple are so des­per­ate to erad­i­cate in their lawns are ac­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial to lo­cal in­sect pop­u­la­tions — and even to the soil and wa­ter ta­bles be­low the grass. The vi­o­lets are prob­a­bly one of the hard­est weeds to get rid of due to their waxy leaves and their abil­ity to spread via seeds or un­der­ground roots. There are very few chem­i­cals that will kill this weed and there are zero that are avail­able in your area. There is lots of ev­i­dence that wild vi­o­lets pre­fer acidic soil so adding gar­den lime can help ... some­times. There are also re­ports that wild vi­o­lets pre­fer soil that is low in cal­cium. Nei­ther of these so­lu­tions are re­ally go­ing to be cost ef­fec­tive or give you sub­stan­tial re­sults.

My se­cond ques­tion is not go­ing to make me any friends here, but why don’t you get out and dig them up? This is the only way that you are go­ing to save your ex­ist­ing lawn and get rid of the vi­o­lets. Man­ual dig­ging sounds a lot like ex­er­cise, and many peo­ple find ex­cuses as to why they can’t get out­side and do the work. My 90-yearold grandma still gets out and weeds for 10 min­utes ev­ery­day. She just keeps at it. No sprays, no chem­i­cals, just ex­er­cise.

For the vi­o­lets, I rec­om­mend us­ing a longer-han­dled poach­ing spade, orig­i­nally de­signed for dig­ging rab­bits out of holes. This will al­low you to get all of the clumps and roots out. Start now and dig out two clumps a day un­til the ground freezes. Just two clumps a day is not a ma­jor com­mit­ment but I prom­ise, it will put a large dent in the vi­o­let pop­u­la­tion. If you just keep at it, you will have got­ten rid of the in­va­sive weed and aer­ated the lawn at the same time.

Fi­nally, can you live with­out the per­fect green lawn? More and more home­own­ers are mov­ing away from grass and adding all kinds of flow­er­ing bulbs into the lawn. Things like cro­cus and mini daf­fodils are happy grow­ing up in the lawn and by the time the lawn is ready for a trim, they have col­lected enough sun­light to cre­ate bulbs for next year. Vi­o­lets are not grass ... I know, but they have very few in­sect preda­tors, are healthy with very lit­tle fer­til­iz­ers and re­ally re­quire no work.

Prob­a­bly not the so­lu­tion you were look­ing for but I hope it an­swers some of your ques­tions and helps you re­al­ize that leav­ing them alone might be your best an­swer af­ter all.

Vi­o­lets are prob­a­bly one of the hard­est weeds to get rid of due to their waxy leaves and their abil­ity to spread via seeds or un­der­ground roots.

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