Garden & Landscape Tips

Characteristics of Broadleaf Plantain

broadleaf plantain
Broadleaf plantain
© USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major), commonly called plantain, is among the larger weeds you’ll find in and around lawns. After dandelions, it is North America’s most common broadleaf lawn weed. It’s also a common garden pest.

Plantain’s oval, dark green leaves, which grow about 4 to 6 inches long, are arranged in a circular rosette. Plantain is a cold-hardy perennial that survives winters in most of North America and much of Canada. In summer, slender, green flower spikes rise above the leaves and produce abundant amounts of seed.

Plantain grows well in compacted soil, so it’s particularly common in high-traffic lawns, in pastures, and along paths and roadsides. It also can grow in garden beds, farm fields and meadows.

Getting Rid of Broadleaf Plantain

Plantain grows larger than most weeds and is easily controlled by hand digging. Use a long-handled digging tool to loosen the thick taproot, or pull after a rain when the soil is naturally looser. Young plants are easier to pull than more mature ones.

In lawns, widespread outbreaks can be controlled with a granular broadleaf weed killer, such as Preen Lawn Weed Control. In edible and ornamental garden beds, Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer stops plantain seeds from germinating. Preen Landscape Weed Control Fabric will also prevent plantain outbreaks. Always read and follow the label directions.

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