What can you do to get rid of broadleaf weeds in your cool season lawn heading from spring into summer? Here are some common ones I’m seeing and some information on how to get rid of them. Keep in mind, it’s much easier to kill off young, newly emerged weeds. Once they get mature, even the “strongest” chems will not work on mature plants. Mowing often is a great way to keep weeds from maturing - and it’s chemical-free, so keep that in mind.
(the larger weeds pictured here are from the lawn of an AirBnB I’m staying at in Merrillville, IN and the lawn is a complete salad bar)
I'm seeing quite a bit of this one, called broadleaf plantain. This one is a perennial which means the same plant comes back year after year. It’s giant veiny leaves spread wide, shading out competing grass. Each plant drops up to 14,000 new seeds each season and those seeds can remain viable in the soil for decades, just waiting for the right combination of warmth and sunlight, and moisture. Plantain also does really well in high traffic areas which is why it will be one of the first weeds to show up in thin spots in your lawn.
In the pictures here you can see mature broadleaf plantain that is growing right along the driveway and sidewalk of this home where most of the foot traffic occurs.
If you want to get rid of broadleaf plantain in the yard, I can tell you that smaller plants are much easier to kill with chemical than large, mature ones are. So my first advice is for you to hand pull some of the larger ones and try and control it that way, then use chems going forward as new plants emerge.
Pretty much any broadleaf herbicide that contains 24-D and Dicamba as active ingredients will knock out younger plants - you can find these at Big Box Stores often labeled as “RoundUp for Lawns” I have a video here about the Easiest Weed Control for Beginners // RoundUp You Can Use Safely On Your Lawn (not sponsored).
If you want something with a little better feature set that you can mix in your pump sprayer, this Triad Select is also very good on most of the broadleaf weeds listed here and especially on broadleaf plantain.
If you are looking for a “much stronger” professional product that will have a little more horsepower then you can pick up SpeedZone herbicide here. Most of you will never need anything more than that for broadleaf weeds in your cool season lawn.
I’m also seeing buckhorn plantain popping up. Same as above, get it early and get it with the Triad or Speedzone EW Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf if it gets more mature.
Clover is in lawns as far south as Florida believe it or not. It’s a nitrogen fixer which means it stores nitrogen in its roots. People read that and think it’s a good thing but it’s not. Clover is a selfish plant and only releases that stored nitrogen when it dies. Until then it keeps it sequestered, away from your lawn.
It’s best to get to the clover BEFORE it flowers so the bees don’t come in. You still have time, with these cooler temps, I have not seen the clover flowers quite yet. Killing it before it flowers also ensures you won’t get more seeds in the lawn. THe best way to get clover out of your lawn for good is to kill what’s there with herbicide, practicing integrated pest management, and then get your turf as thick as possible around and to fill in so there is no more room for new clover to gain a foothold.
If you do want to kill the clover you have in your lawn, either the Triad Select or Speed Zone are going to be your best choices. The RoundUp for lawns doesn;t do much for clover.
When using Triad Select or Speed Zone, Just be sure to spray in the morning when temps are cooler. If you spray in temps over 90F you can injure the surrounding turf. So get to the clover early in growth and early in the morning when you do.
If you want to do a deeper study on clover, listen to this podcast segment about How to Control & Prevent Clover.
Dandelion Seed Heads
If you didn’t kill off your dandelions in the spring time but instead just mowed them, I have news for you: they got bigger and stronger below. And in fact, some of them may have multiple heads on them now. The only way to get rid of dandelions when they are infesting your entire lawn like a carpet, is with a herbicide. And as mentioned above, the more mature they become, the harder they are to kill.
I hope that none of you reading this has let yours go into the seed stage! Again this lawn is an at AirbnB and I can tell the lawn was just cut for the first time in many weeks the day before I checked in. There are bunches of these seed heads everywhere that didn’t get mowed down well and those seeds are going to spread more and more.
If you have mature dandelions, again, you are going to need the Triad Select or Speed Zone to get them out. Best to get on this now rather than let them continue to occupy realestate in your lawn all season long because many dandelions have been known to flower and spread again in the fall time when conditions are right.
Mature Violets In The Lawn
Violets are perennial so the ones you had last year, while they may have subsided a little bit during winter - they are rushing back now. They are long past the spring flowering stage and are now taking more and more ground away from your turf.
Violets are very difficult to control in summer so it’s best now that you wait until the fall time and there is no better control that TZone herbicide. It will work very well on the violet in the cooler fall temps and will knock out every other broadleaf weed you face including creeping charlie.
If you want to see what violets were looking like just a month earlier in spring in this same area, watch this video here.
I did an entire video where I went in depth on Henbit. View that here. Just know, it’s still hanging around and producing seeds.
Potentilla - Wild Flower
I have never come across potentilla in a lawn like this before but those flowers are unmistakable. This wild flower form grows in fields here in Indiana and the only reason I can figure it’s in this lawn here is that this lawn is so neglected that it’s reverting back to it’s natural prairie state - and that can and will happen!
I don’t even know if any of you will run across this one or not but here it is if you do.