Speedwell (Veronica) may be a pretty blue-flowered perennial, but this creeping weed won’t take no for an answer and can quickly take over your yard. It plagues lawns and gardens during the spring and summer months and can be found throughout most of the states in the eastern half of the country, except for the extreme southern states.
There are many species of speedwell, and all vary slightly in appearance. This common weed has petite features that include thin stems and tiny green leaves with scalloped edges. Blooming from May through July, its small flowers have four petals that range in color from white to blue to purple. Heart-shaped seed pods grow on the stems beneath the flowers. The plant itself grows low to the ground in a creeping fashion, and thrives in moist soils and shade.
Speedwell Signs and Symptoms
Although it’s sometimes sold as a decorative ground cover, speedwell’s competitive nature makes it an unwelcome weed. It spreads rapidly, crowding out established grasses and plants. Sometimes known as gypsyweed or veronica, speedwell is infamous for its ability to reproduce rapidly and quickly become a dense carpet. The slender stems creep low to the ground and take root at the nodes in order to spread. The fibrous root systems of this weed are what make it so hard to eliminate.
Speedwell Control and Prevention
Always consider non-chemical methods first when preventing and controlling speedwell. As with most weeds, maintaining a well-kept, healthy lawn is the best way to prevent an infestation. A regular maintenance schedule of mowing, watering, and fertilizing is the best course of action to keep all weeds at bay. Aerate and overseed the lawn in the fall to further strengthen the grass root system. Raising the mowing height also helps create a less welcoming environment for this persistent perennial.
The same approach applies to gardens and borders. Maintain them regularly by hoeing and weeding, and use mulch over bare soil to smother weed growth.
Once you discover speedwell in your yard, mow the lawn as soon as the first flower heads appear. This prevents it from setting seed. In the garden, rake out the weeds and let them dry out and die completely before composting.
If all else fails, speedwell can be controlled using a broadleaf weed herbicide. Apply the chemical in spring or early summer while the plant is actively growing. Repeat as necessary.
To find out more about identifying and controlling speedwell or other weeds, call Free Spray Lawn Care at 866-373-3777.
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