Never abandon hope is the lesson I impart today. On a recent Grumpy Gardener page in Southern Living, I sadly broke terrible news to a reader whose lawn and garden was submerged with violets. There is no spray to kill violets, I said. The only control is getting down on your hands and knees and digging nonstop for approximately 18 years.
I can hear the chorus coming from dismayed readers. "Why would anyone want to kill violets? They are beautiful and charming native wildflowers."
That they are. But common dooryard violets (Viola sororia) are one other thing too. Extremely invasive. In the lawn or the garden. In the sun or the shade. If you see one this year, next year you'll see a dozen. Then a hundred. Then a thousand. Then a veritable sea of violets will fill your yard from shore to shore. The fiends nearly choked out my beautiful lawn of native mosses. I dug up buckets of them.
These violets spread so quickly because they're sneaky. They don't just develop seeds from the pretty, blue, purple, or white flowers you admire in spring. Most seeds come from weird, pale flowers resembling mung bean sprouts that hide at the soil line under the foliage. They sow seeds all summer without the need for pollination.
Each seed that sprout grows a thick root that looks like a tiny horizontal carrot. Even if you dig it, any piece of the root left in the ground grows another violet. This root also makes the violet resistant to weedkillers available for home use.
I recently received a communique from Monterey Lawn & Garden Products about a weedkiller called Spurge Power. In addition to killing tough weeds such as spurge (duh), oxalis, ground ivy (creeping Charlie), and many others, Spurge Power actually KILLS violets!
What wonderful news. If Grumpy could cry, he would.
You can order Spurge Power from Monterey website (click on the link above) or buy it at garden centers. As always, follow label directions carefully. And no, I received nothing from Monterey for alerting you to this product.
Violets, meet your Kryptonite! Laugh at us no longer. For so long, you held our gardens hostage. Now freedom is at hand!