Lawn and garden homeowners are usually looking for ways to improve their outdoor space by getting rid of any unwanted weeds or plants. One type of weed that many homeowners have problems with is Broadleaf Plantain, which can be found all over North America and many other countries. It grows in lawns, garden beds and even cracks in sidewalks.
It’s important to identify this weed because if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, it may spread rapidly throughout your yard or garden. In fact, once Broadleaf Plantain takes over an area of land, it becomes very difficult to get rid of! To properly get rid of this invasive weed from your soil, check out our article below; we will take a closer look at how to identify broadleaf plantain as well as different ways to get rid of it if you find it growing on your property.
What Is Broadleaf Plantain?
The Broadleaf Plantain, also called Plantago Major, White Man’s Foot, and Greater Plantain, is a perennial weed that is native to Europe and Asia, but has been naturalized in many countries around the world, including the United States. In fact, it is one of the first plants believed to have been brought over to the North American continent by European settlers.
Although its name may suggest otherwise, broadleaf plantain is not related to the fruit known as a plantain, which is a type of banana. This weed doesn’t have any fruit that grows with it.
While not harmful to humans, and in fact it is often used in salads as well as herbal medicines, it can quickly take over your garden if left untreated. Therefore, it’s helpful to know how and where this weed grows, and how to identify it, so you can watch out for it and be able to remove it from your lawn.
How and Where Does Broadleaf Plantain Grow?
Controlling broadleaf plantain is relatively simple once you know how it grows! It is an herbaceous perennial weed, and it can grow up to 28 inches tall, although it usually is found to be around 5-6 inches tall.
This common weed spreads by seeds and division of its roots. Its exceptional root strength allows it to establish itself on compacted or disturbed soils, as well as survive frequent trampling. Because of this, broadleaf plantain can hold soil together to help stave off soil erosion, and it is also often used to help rehabilitate soil that has been neglected.
Broadleaf Plantains grow low to ground level, generally form larger, dense patches out of small clusters. It can be found in almost any places weeds can grow, such as fields, lawns, along roadsides and pedestrian walking routes, and waste spaces.
How Can You Identify Broadleaf Plantain?
The first step to getting rid of broadleaf plantain is learning how to properly identify it from other weeds or plants that may resemble it.
The plant has large, broad leaves that are oval in shape, a bit wrinkly, and have wavy edges. The leaves can be up to 8 inches long, and form a circular growth pattern that can be 12 inches wide.
It has a deep, fleshy taproot and often appears with smaller side roots.
Growing from the leaves are long, thin, cylindrical stems. These stems can be up to 6 inches long and have a bunch of small, green-brown flowers along their length.
How Can You Get Rid of Broadleaf Plantain From Your Yard?
Now that you can correctly identify broadleaf plantain, it is now time to take steps to get rid of it or prevent its growth in your yard. There are multiple ways you can do this, both using chemicals or organic methods, but some may be more effective than others depending on what is available and how big the infestation is.
Most herbicides with glyphosate or glufosinate will kill the weed. This Compare-N-Save Herbicide is a great option.
Before treating the plantain, mow down long grasses and heavy weed growth in your yard. This will allow herbicides to reach the broadleaf plantain more effectively.
Before applying any chemicals, make sure you read the label of your product carefully for safety instructions regarding pets or children, if present. Also be sure to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eyewear.
Chemical methods are the most popular way people choose to control this plant but there are many organic options as well. Pulling broadleaf plantain out by the roots is difficult, but effective. Some people like to use weed-puller tools (similar to a shovel) to get under the root and pry it out. This must be done carefully! Trying to yank or pull too hard can separate the plant from its deep taproot, making this an ineffective method of removal.
If you want another natural alternative, you can make a broadleaf plantain killer using vinegar and dish soap. Just add 1 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water with one drop of non-toxic dish soap, and spray this all over the weed. This solution will kill broadleaf plantain for good, and can be used on most plants that are susceptible to vinegar or water-vinegar solutions.
How Can You Prevent Broadleaf Plantain From Growing?
Broadleaf plantain can also grow back quickly when left untreated, so prevention is key! The best way to prevent broadleaf plantain from growing in your yard is by keeping it mowed and fertilizing the soil with organic matter like manure or compost.
Because this weed doesn’t repopulate via rhizomes, only with seeds, mowing is very effective because you’ll be cutting off the flower stalks before the seeds can spread. So, be sure to mow fairly regularly if you’re trying to prevent broadleaf plantain from growing back.
Additionally, keeping your soil well maintained is key to ensure this weed doesn’t have the space or nutrients it needs to establish itself. This means adding organic matter like manure, compost, or other fertilizers regularly, as well as aerating compacted soil periodically.
Broadleaf plantain is a noxious weed that can be a devastating problem for homeowners. It is important to identify it, and then to take steps for getting rid of it from your lawn, as well as to prevent its growth in the first place.
If you have any other questions about how to best deal with broadleaf plantain, feel free to contact us anytime!