I would like to cultivate the existing wild violets in portions of my lawn....

Asked September 28, 2017, 9:20 AM EDT

I would like to cultivate the existing wild violets in portions of my lawn. Do you know of a product that would kill the grass intersperced within the violets but not harm the violets?

Franklin County Ohio

1 Response

Wow! An interesting question and one whose answer I'm sure will be full of ifs, ands, and buts. Usually, when I see this question it's asked the other way around - how do I get rid of wild violet in my lawn.
What you are looking for is a selective herbicide (a graminicide) that will kill grasses while not harming the wild violets. There are some products out there that will selectively kill grasses, but most are for commercial use in nurseries, greenhouses and agricultural environments. As such, these products are sold in large sizes and are quite expensive. In addition, the selectiveness of the products varies as far as what plants will not be affected when the product is applied. These products are not available in local hardware or the large home, do-it-yourself stores. In addition, some of these products require a professional applicators licence to purchase and apply.
Here is a link to an informational fact sheet (Lecture #7) from the North Carolina State University Extension on "Postemergent Weed Control in Landscapes":
After you digest the information in this paper, my recommendation to you would be two-fold: (1) I would visit my local, year round garden center and ask them what products they carry for what you are trying to do. I suspect most will tell you they only carry non-selective herbicides or herbicides that will selectively kill only broad-leafed weeds or crabgrass. or (2) If you really wish to create an area dedicated to the cultivation of wild violets, you will be better off trying to hand weed the grass from a small area and slowly expand the area as time goes on.
Yours was a challenging question and, hopefully, I was able to provide you with enough information for you to decide how you want to proceed. No matter what, I hope you have a good fall season and can get out and enjoy this great weather we are having.