Heal-All (Common Selfheal)

Asked August 30, 2016, 10:27 AM EDT

I have a lot of Prunella vulgaris in my lawn, here in Nova Scotia. What do you suggest as a non-chemical means of control? Is it a sign of a nutrient imbalance or wrong pH in my lawn soil?

Outside United States

3 Responses

Thanks for your Selfheal question! This is a weed that has spread throughout North America. It is alternately viewed as a good plant (for soil erosion) and a bad plant (for those of us with lawns!) So there are lots of articles about how to grow it, and as many about how to eradicate it. The 'grow' articles are winning. And, since it can thrive in virtually any soil, changing the nutrients and/or pH will not slow it down.

There are no sure fire ways to get rid of it. Here's a U.S. Forest Service description of it:
"Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) - Self-heal can be hand pulled, but it regenerates from shoot fragments if the plant is disturbed and is able to rapidly colonize cleared areas. Self-heal also spreads vegetatively by short rhizomes (belowground stems) or stolons (aboveground prostrate or creeping stems). It also spreads by seed. Seeds can persist for at least 5 years in cultivated soil. Seeds have been recorded in large numbers in the soil beneath pasture even when the plant was poorly represented in the vegetation cover. Mowing and trampling encourages prostrate growth with the creeping stems rooting at the nodes when they touch the ground. (Source: organicweeds.org.uk)"

Even the Eastern Canada horticulturalists don't have any suggestions.

So, the only non-chemical means of control is elbow grease, and even then, it's unlikely you'll get all of the stemcell material removed so as to prevent its return.

The weeds shall inherit the earth. Sorry....

Thanks for your reply. Maybe I will grow a Selfheal lawn and pull out any invasive grass.