wild violet purple flowers

How To Get Rid of Wild Violets (What You Need to Know)

Photo of author

Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

Updated on

No comments

No AI pledge. Authored and reviewed by Mark, not robots. Learn more.

If you buy something from one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I've used these products and provided an honest opinion on every product I review. This helps support our site and its free content, lawn care guides, and calendars. Learn more.


Wild violets are the toughest broadleaf weeds to control entirely. With its underground rhizomes, wild violets spread like ground ivy and can quickly take over a lawn if left untreated. The best selective herbicide to treat wild violet is triclopyr. I use On Deck (2,4-D and Dicamba) mixed with Triclopyr 4  and a non-ionic surfactant on the properties I treat. 

For homeowners and DIYers, opt for straight Triclopyr 4, or a combo like Crossbow.

  • These must be sprayed in the spring and fall, two weeks apart.
  • Wild violet leaves will form a thick, waxy coating in the summertime, making it virtually impossible to kill during this time of year.
  • Blanket spray the areas of violet, as spot spraying will inevitably miss unseen and underground violets.
  • NOTE: Mow the purple flowers off 1-2 days before spraying to help limit the harm to pollinators.

The wild violet is a low-growing perennial weed that has the potential to take over your lawn and existing plants. And killing wild violets isn’t exactly easy. In fact, getting rid of wild violets can take several treatments with weed killers and herbicides to effectively attack and destroy the root system.

But it’s important to know that these weeds can be prevented and controlled, helping your lawn avoid problems altogether. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how to do it.

Wild Violet Species Identification

From the blue to purple flowers they grow to the underground stems that can cause them to aggressively spread throughout your thick and healthy lawn, wild violets are easy to identify. They tend to be most common in the early spring.

In addition to their deep purple color, they’re also characterized by heart-shaped leaves. But these aren’t pretty flowers. In fact, they’re among the more challenging weeds to kill. Though they favor moist soil, they can also tolerate drought. And the flowers can drop seeds below the low-growing waxy leaves, which can submerge them in lawns and cause them to spread until there are thick clumps of even more violets in your lawn.

The good news is that they can be controlled and prevented – both the flowers and the underground root system. In the forthcoming section, we’ll take a look at how to do it:

How To Get Rid of Wild Violets

Wild violets are common in northern regions in the spring. Among the most difficult weeds you can find in your lawn, it’s important to nip them in the bud (pun intended) at the first sign of new growth. Here are some tips for killing wild violets:

Select a broadleaf weed killer

Check the label to see if wild violets are included in the list of lawn weeds that any herbicide will treat. These will contain dicamba, 2,4-d, and, most importantly, triclopyr. For residential properties, you can find smaller bottles like TZone or Crossbow that will work effectively. Because the wild violet roots can be so challenging, multiple treatments may be necessary. You should be able to purchase some at your local garden center.

You can also add dish soap or another surfactant to a weed killer mixture to spot treat areas where the plants are growing.

Again, any weed killer may require repeated treatment until the weeds are eradicated.

Pull them by hand

Not everyone has the patience to pull wild violets by hand, but it can be done. Make sure the soil is moist and pull straight up to ensure that you’re able to remove the entire plant – including the roots. Use garden tools to ensure you’re able to remove the entire root if necessary.

Wild Violet Control

We’ve covered how to kill wild violets, now let’s take a look at how to prevent them from growing altogether.

Make sure your lawn is healthy

Many homeowners don’t take as good of care of their lawn as they should. Feed your grass with fertilizer anywhere from two to four times each year to encourage root growth and a healthy lawn. Fertilizing yourself will only take about a half hour with the right equipment. A thick, healthy lawn will prevent wild violets from growing.

Use a pre-emergent herbicide in fall

Wild violets will survive winter if not treated, so it’s advised that homeowners treat for this and other weeds by putting down a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall months. This will ensure the herbicide can travel to the roots over the winter months and the weeds will not emerge come spring.

Wild Violet FAQs

Are wild violets weeds or flowers?

Don’t confuse the heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers for something other than a weed. Wild violets are definitely weeds – and if they’re not treated and take over the lawn, very few homeowners will again confuse it with anything else.

Are wild violets invasive?

Are wild violets safe? Are they invasive? Other than having the potential to quickly spread throughout a lawn, they’re not harmful. But wild violet control measures should be taken to prevent the spread.

Was the information on this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
Photo of author
Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

Leave a Comment