Answer: If you've already tried herbicides, focus on building a thicker stand of healthy grass, which will hinder the spread of violets and other lawn weeds, says Tom Samples, turf grass specialist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Wild violets are a very common lawn problem in eastern Tennessee. They spread by underground bulblets and seeds, and any thin areas of lawn are subject to their invasion, he explains. You can dig out small patches by hand, but for larger areas, you may have to applyan herbicide such as Roundup to kill all the vegetation and start all over again. In spring, reseed the area with Rebel II or Bonanza turf-type tall fescue grass, says Samples. Keep the new lawn well watered, and fertilize in the spring after four or five mowings and the fall with a fertilizer that has a 2:1:1 nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium ratio, such as 10-5-5, he says. To keep the lawn thick and prevent violets from moving in again, mow the grass three inches tall all summer. In late August, loosen any thin areas with a lawn rake and overseed them. Treating the lawn with a weed-and-feed-type fertilizer/herbicide mix may be effective if you reapply it two to three times over the course of a year, says Samples. Check your local garden center for the best herbicide to use.
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