I have an invasion of wild violets in my lawn. What should I do to get rid of them?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but once violets have established a foothold in your lawn, they are extremely difficult to get rid of. Unfortunately, we have no good selective herbicide for violets. The trimec sprays may temporarily slow them down, but they usually bounce right back. Try using Roundup, a nonselective product. If the violets are just getting started, spraying small areas of the lawn and reseeding those areas after the kill is complete is an option. Another option is to paint the Roundup solution on the violets, avoiding the grass as much as possible. Since Roundup is absorbed through the leaves (not the roots), this is an effective approach that does little harm to the grass. On the other hand, if the violets have invaded a larger area of your lawn, you have to make a decision: 1) kill both the grass and violets and start over, 2) if you are very patient, paint every violet leaf in sight, or 3) learn to live with the violets (the flowers can be quite attractive!). The third option may work for naturalists, but lawn purists would be appalled!
Since it is difficult, if not impossible, to hold these violets captive, do not plant them in the first place unless their spread is your goal. If they do escape to your lawn, the earlier you attempt to bring them under control, the more successful you will be in getting rid of them.