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How to Kill Plantain Weed in Lawns, Gardens and Hay Fields Full Guide of 2023

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how to kill plantain weedUp to 60% of lawns have some amount of plantain weed, yet many homeowners don’t recognize this stubborn perennial plant. As you read this article, you’ll discover how to identify, prevent, and kill plantain weeds for good.

We’ll explore the two most common types – broadleaf and buckhorn plantain. You’ll learn key differences in their appearance, growth habits, and removal methods. With the right techniques, you can eliminate plantain weed from your lawn or garden for good.

Proper maintenance like aerating, fertilizing, thickening grass, and manual removal will help prevent future growth. Herbicides provide effective control when used properly. Pay special attention to preventing plantain weed in hay fields, as it reduces yields.

Follow these research-backed steps to rid your property of plantain weed and enjoy lush, healthy grass.

Key Takeaways

  • Dig out the entire taproot for broadleaf plantain weed removal.
  • Apply selective herbicide (2,4-D, dicamba) in early fall for severe infestations of broadleaf plantain weed.
  • Apply herbicide in late fall when temperatures dip for buckhorn plantain weed control.
  • Proper lawn maintenance, including aeration, fertilization, and infrequent deep watering, can help prevent the growth of plantain weeds.

Types of Plantain Weeds

Types of Plantain Weeds
Good day. Let’s discuss managing two common lawn weeds – broadleaf and buckhorn plantains. Both spread rapidly and are difficult to eradicate, so prevention and early treatment are key to maintaining a healthy turfgrass that is free of plantains.

However, if you already have a significant infestation, there are methods such as targeted digging, herbicide application at the right time of year, and improving lawn conditions that can help eliminate and prevent further spread of these persistent weeds over time.

Broadleaf Plantains

You’re better off digging out those pesky broadleaf plantains before they take over your lawn. Focus on removing the taproot entirely, even small root fragments can resprout. For severe infestations, apply selective post-emergent herbicides containing 2,4-D, dicamba, or a combination of the two in early fall.

Follow label directions closely and avoid spraying in high heat or wind. Store all herbicides safely out of reach of children and pets.

Buckhorn Plantains

Avoiding plantains from becoming a hayfield nuisance requires timely herbicide application come late fall when temperatures dip just right for uptake.

  • To spot spray effectively, identify buckhorn by its narrow lance-shaped leaves.
  • Reduce impacts by controlling chemicals and borrowing livestock to graze.
  • Mow properly and dig out fibrous roots before plantains spread.
  • Distinguish from broadleaf plantain’s wider, ribbed leaves.

With proactive management, hay growers can keep fields free of these stubborn weeds.

Preventing Plantain Weed Growth

Preventing Plantain Weed Growth
You can prevent plantain weeds from invading your lawn by taking a few simple steps. Aerate the soil and fertilize to improve drainage and nutrient content, mow at the proper height, water deeply but infrequently, and leave the clippings on the lawn.

These practices encourage the growth of a thicker, healthier lawn that will crowd out broadleaf and buckhorn plantains before they can establish themselves.

Aerate the Soil

Breathe new life into your lawn by aerating the soil regularly. Punch holes deep into compacted soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate roots. Mow at the maximum height to encourage deep roots. Add an iron supplement if the soil tests deficient.

Target young weeds when small. Increase sunlight in shaded areas. Hand-pull or spot spray herbicide on plantains. Avoid overseeding existing turf. Healthy grass naturally deters broadleaf and buckhorn plantains.

Proper Lawn Maintenance

You’ll crowd out plantains by mowing your lawn at the proper height, leaving the clippings, and watering deeply. I know it takes time, but a healthy lawn is worth it. Topdressing, decompacting, and promoting drought tolerance will strengthen your turfgrass.

Adjust mowing height and irrigation for your grass type. Proper practices make thick, vigorous turf that defeats plantain weeds and brings you pride.

Thickening the Lawn

Overseed and fertilize your lawn regularly to crowd out plantains. Maintain your grass at the proper height, typically between 2-3 inches, with regular mowing. Overseed thin or bare areas in spring and fall with high-quality grass seed blends.

Provide sufficient watering for 1-1.5 inches per week to encourage growth and develop deep roots. Core aerate compacted soil and dethatch buildup every 1-3 years. Apply post-emergent herbicide to established plantain infestations, then keep grass thick and healthy to deter future weeds.

Treatment Options for Plantain Weeds

Treatment Options for Plantain Weeds
Good morning. When plantain weeds invade your lawn or garden, you have two main options for getting rid of them. The first is to manually dig out the weeds, especially when they are in small patches or in sandy or wet soil where digging is easier.

The second option is to apply an appropriate herbicide in either spring or fall, carefully following all label directions regarding timing, weather conditions, and safe storage.

Manual Removal

You can pluck the stubborn weeds from your lawn by pulling splinters from your hand. Firmly grasp the leaves near the base and pull steadily upward to remove the entire plant and root before it goes to seed.

Persistently eliminating young plantain seedlings prevents proliferation. Frequent mowing also keeps growth in check. Manual removal provides immediate gratification but requires diligence as the weed spreads easily.

With patience and persistence, your lawn can be liberated from this troublesome invader.

Herbicide Application

Apply an appropriate post-emergent herbicide in the fall or spring, being sure to follow those label directions real carefully. Choose between selective herbicides targeting narrow-leafed buckhorn or broadleaf plantains versus non-selective ones killing all weeds.

Foliar sprays work faster than soil ones. Esters penetrate waxy leaves better but are more toxic. Mechanical removal takes elbow grease while chemical controls need caution. With the right herbicide at the right time, those stubborn plantain lawn weeds won’t stand a chance.

Additional Considerations for Buckhorn Plantain in Hay Fields

Additional Considerations for Buckhorn Plantain in Hay Fields
You need to understand that buckhorn plantain reduces grass growth and hay production since cattle dislike eating it. So in November, spray the buckhorn with 2,4-D ester when temperatures are 45-70 degrees F for three consecutive days, then re-spray in March if needed.

Before spraying, be sure to check the wind direction and avoid rain for at least 6 hours post-application. Carefully follow the herbicide label directions regarding application rate and timing. You may also incorporate mowing, grazing management, and prescribed burning along with herbicides for plantain control.

Impact on Grass Growth and Hay Production

Buckhorn plantain reduces grass growth and hay production, with cattle disliking it so much that it can lower your total yield by up to 30% if left uncontrolled. Regular scouting to monitor infestation levels helps identify problem areas for targeted removal before the cost of controlling spread becomes too high.

Controlling buckhorn plantain weed takes persistence through herbicide spraying, mowing, and grazing management to maximize hay production.

Herbicide Application Guidelines

Spray with 2,4-D ester when 45-70 degrees for 3 days in November, then respray in March if needed, checking wind direction and avoiding rain for 6+ hours after. Consider safety when 1) Mixing herbicides; 2) Spraying near water; 3) Handling and storage.

Use broadleaf weed treatments, not grass herbicides. Post-emergent sprays work best, since weeds are visible. Avoid heat and wind. Follow all label directions exactly. Broadleaf plantains succumb well in fall or spring.

Managing Plantain Weeds in Gardens and Landscapes

Managing Plantain Weeds in Gardens and Landscapes
As unsightly broadleaf and buckhorn plantains sprout in your garden and yard, understanding their attributes will help you remove them. Start by hand-pulling small patches, especially after rain loosens the soil, then spot-spray herbicide on larger areas in fall or spring when temperatures are moderate.

Prevent future infestations through proper fertilization, mowing height, watering depth, and lawn aeration for healthy turf that crowds out weeds.

Appearance and Characteristics of Plantain Weeds

You’re faced with oval broadleaf leaves or narrow lance-shaped buckhorn leaves that are overrunning your lawn. The plantains aggressively spread via roots and prolific seed production. Their leaves smother out grass by hogging nutrients and light.

Broadleaf’s oval leaves contrast buckhorn’s spear-shaped narrow leaves. But both stubborn weeds indicate a compacted, unhealthy lawn. Boost mowing, aeration, fertilization, and irrigation for thick grass that forces out the unwanted plants.

Hand Removal and Spot Spraying

Digging out small patches repeatedly works for total control in sandy or wet soil, so try that first before reaching for chemicals.

  • Carefully dig under plants to remove all roots and runners.
  • Persist with follow-up digging as new seedlings emerge.
  • Focus on early removal in spring before extensive growth.
  • Spot spray isolated plants, avoiding drift onto desired plants.
  • Check back in a week, respray if needed for full eradication.

Hand removal and targeted spraying of young plantains can eliminate patches without herbicide overuse. With patience and persistence, you can gain the upper hand against this stubborn perennial weed.

Preventive Measures for Plantain Weed Control

Let’s work together to get your lawn thick and healthy so these pesky plantains can’t survive! Practice proper mowing, watering, fertilizing, and aerating to crowd out broadleaf and buckhorn plantains.

A healthy lawn is your best defense against these stubborn weeds. Don’t let plantains take over – a bit of prevention goes a long way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for plantain killer chemicals to work?

Friend, effective plantain killers typically show results within 2-4 weeks after application. Patience pays off when pursuing plantain’s permanent purge. Adhere to herbicide instructions, and soon you’ll witness wilting weeds.

Stay steadfast for a lawn liberated from lingering broadleaf and buckhorn blemishes.

Is plantain weed harmful to pets or children if they walk on treated areas?

You should keep pets and children off treated areas until the herbicide dries according to the label directions.

What’s the best way to get rid of plantains in flower beds or vegetable gardens?

Pull or dig out plantains in gardens as soon as you notice them. Make sure to remove the entire root. Rapidly cover bare spots with mulch to prevent regrowth. Then, plant desirable plants close together to crowd out any remaining plantains and prevent the sprouting of new seeds.

Can I compost plantain weeds after pulling them up or will the seeds spread?

You can compost plantain weeds after pulling them up, but their seeds may still sprout if conditions allow. Chopping or drying the plants first helps to stop this. Turning the compost pile regularly also helps to break down the seeds.

Are there any natural or organic methods to control plantains besides chemicals?

Pull them by hand repeatedly to weaken roots. Maintain a thick lawn to crowd them out. Aerate compacted soil and correct drainage issues that allow them to thrive. Mow regularly at the proper height also helps.


We all need a healthy, vibrant lawn, free of plantain weeds. Say you’ve battled a large buckhorn plantain infestation—you’ve dug out roots by hand to no avail. Consider targeted herbicide use as a last resort, carefully following label directions.

Test one small area first to ensure safety and effectiveness. With persistence and proper maintenance like aeration, fertilization, and overseeding, you’ll achieve a lush, plantain-free lawn for play and relaxation.

Prevention is best, but control is possible for even extensive plantain weed problems with the right integrated approach.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.