Winter annual, less than 12-in. tall; noticeable in spring for pink to purple flowers.
Square stems; leaves opposite, scalloped, and rounded; lower leaves with petioles, upper leaves half encircling the stem; pinkish-purple, lipped flowers in whorls in the axils of upper leaves; fibrous root system that does not creep along the ground.
Seed germinating in early fall or early spring.
Conditions that favor growth
Mowing the lawn too short and improper fertilization.
Management in lawns
- Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.
- Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.
Chemical treatment in lawns
- Herbicides should be used as a last resort because of the potential risks to people, animals, and the environment. Be aware of these lawn pesticide precautions first.
- If you chose this option, spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients: 2, 4-D, MCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba* or Triclopyr.
*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Refer to the product label for precautions.