Getting Rid of Wild Violets

By Ellen Brown


How do I get rid of violets in my yard, they are taking over.

Hardiness Zone: 4a

Mary Jane from Milwaukee, WI



Hi Mary Jane,

Wild violets can be quite problematic to get rid of. The waxy coating on their leaves gives them extra resistance to many of the chemical controls (organic or otherwise) that work on other weeds. The best way to control them is to dig them up. Depending on how widespread they are, this may require several years to accomplish. For cool season lawns like yours, dig them up in the fall. You can reseed over any bare patches with a mixture of cool-season grass seed and compost. Make sure to water the new grass seed daily until it germinates.

In the meantime, it's worth noting that wild violets seem to show up and spread faster in acidic soils and in soils lacking in calcium. Adding lime can help correct pH problems and may slow down their spread, but you will need to have your soil tested to know how much (if any) you need to add.


Proper lawn care can help, too. Give your (cool-season) lawn a good feeding this fall with a slow release organic fertilizer or even better, by spreading one-inch of compost over it followed by a good watering.

Once established, wild violets are almost impossible to eradicate completely, so you may want to try to make peace with the fact that you're always likely to have a few around. Don't forget they are edible and lovely when added to salads or used as a garnish.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.


Getting Rid of Wild Violets

Use vinegar on them. It will kill them in a day or two. Put pure vinegar in a bottle that you can control the spray and spray only the violets. If it gets on anything else it will kill those things too.


I love violets, but they do take over after a while. Maybe some in pots would be nicer. (06/25/2008)

By Mythi

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

They are edible and taste like a delicate lettuce. Don't spray and kill them. Add them to your food after rinsing them in a bowl of veggie rinse water. Lucky you. I have only one or two left. I'm trying to nurture them for a harvest.

God bless you. (06/26/2008)

By Lynda

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

"Do not use" 2,4-D as someone suggested. It is extremely toxic and is outlawed in some states and can only be used by licensed lawn professionals. I have simply taken the time each year to dig them out and it has taken me 3 years, but each year is easier. This year they are minimal and I hope by next year it will only be a plant or two. (06/28/2008)


By Mary

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

(sent in by email)
My yard is full of them, after 10 yrs. of fighting them, I found straight bleach works great, but it does kill the grass. I am at a point I don't care, I can replant it, after a day you see it working. Good Luck.

Roger (07/05/2008)

By ThriftyFun

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

If large areas of lawn are affected, violets can be killed selectively with Trimec (a combination of 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba) or triclopyr (Turflon). Turflon is the herbicide of choice for the lawn industry, but Trimec is more readily available. Two or more applications may be needed. Improve the health of the lawn to reduce the reoccurrence of violets. (07/14/2008)

By Kris

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

One word "Speedzone" does the trick early in spring or late in fall. During summer nothing will help because they form some sort of waxy protective coating. Smart little buggers they are. (07/20/2008)


By Mike

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

My local garden shop suggested a solution of:

  • 4oz. brush killer
  • 1oz. Fertilome Weed Out
  • 3 drops of detergent (Ivory Liquid)

Mix that with one gallon of water and your done or 1oz. for the sprayer. I will give it a shot and let you know how it turns out.


By Robert M.

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

Well I did it and voila it works. Looks like another application and my violets are gone, finished, fini, caput, history. It did not have any adverse reactions on my grass. It took at least two good weeks to see the dieback. In the past I have always seen it come back, but these leaves are brown and shriveled to nothing.

By Robert M. Jr.

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

Egads! These are my very favorite flower. I even carried a few in my wedding bouquet. Growing up in the country made me fall in love with them. I have a few in my yard now (I live in the city) and I scandalize the Scott's yard man by refusing his offer to get rid of them. If you haven't put chemicals on them they make a beautiful addition to a gourmet salad and look amazing on a pale colored cake. (09/04/2008)


By afrohardt

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

Are these some kind of violets? (09/21/2008)

By Mary Kay

RE: Getting Rid of Wild Violets

Getting Rid of Wild Violets

Yeah some people get mad for getting rid of them, but I've let them go for 10 years and between creeping charlie and them my yard had no grass. The problem with them is they have such a thick bulb like root and some surface a little and when your walking around barefoot they don't feel to good. Another reason for grass is not to have dirt/mud that can be tracked into your house, etc.

I dug some up and put them in my flower garden. Then I started digging them up out of my lawn. I used a thicker steak knife and just lifted. It seem to work the best when the soil is a lil dry not bone dry. I couldn't believe the look of my yard after I dug them up and spread grass seed. The holes in case you were wondering are as big as a pencil.

The plant seem to do more damage than digging them up. To some what get them under control. I did this at first and it worked well. Apply Weed B Gone then 4 days latter I applied Bayer (it's newer and works great) weed killer, but not lawn killer. Then 1 1/2 weeks later I did another application. It seemed to weaken their leaves enough to let the chemical in and kill a lot of them off.

Your yard might lose some green, but fertilize and it comes right back. The weed killer also killed off almost all of my creeping charlie. It is best applied in fall because that is when the leaves suck up nutrients for the winter. Good luck and keep me posted. (10/29/2008)


Getting Rid of Wild Violets

I find controlling the violets means taking excellent care of the grass. Fertilize it, water it and cut it high with a very sharp blade on a regular basis. The healthier your grass is the easier time it has crowding the violets out. Those that do make it in can be pulled up without difficulty when the soil is pretty wet: the bulb comes out with the root. My neighbors' yards are full of violets and I have to be pretty diligent to keep them out of mine. (06/26/2009)

By doug5


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