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Self-heal

Symptoms

Plant spreads by seed in late summer/autumn, restricting growth of other plants, particularly grass in lawns.

Find it on: lawns
Time to act: spring to autumn

Overview

Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is a tenacious perennial weed that loves lawns and will stick close to the ground in order to survive even the closest mowing - it will even flower on 3cm-high flower spikes to ensure survival of its species. It spreads by seeds from its flowers (June to November) which are loved by butterflies and bees. However, it is an aggressive weed in lawns and will quickly establish itself and compete with the grass.


Solution

Plant spreads by seed in late summer/autumn, restricting growth of other plants, particularly grass in lawns.

Organic

The most effective organic approach is to weaken the plant by hoeing it wherever it appears in beds or borders, or to dig it out using a fork or trowel. If it establishes itself in the lawn you will have to lift and replace the affected turf in order to deal with it effectively.

Chemical

In lawns, use a weedkiller such as a 2, 4-D-based herbicide to remove self-heal. Apply in cool, moist, calm conditions when there is least risk of accidentally damaging nearby garden plants.




Discuss this problem

Talkback: Self-heal
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FreddieFuchsia 24/11/2011 at 15:29

Self-Heal is a useful plant. It has a long history in herbal medicine, particularly for home use. The leaves and flowers are both edible and are lovely in salads. The leaves make a refreshing herbal tea. I wish we could promote these useful plants rather than seek always to destroy them. The world would be a better place.

Rosewithoutthorns 14/05/2013 at 09:25

its sooooo pretty in my lawn...I don't know why you would want to get rid of it?!

Vanessa 3 31/07/2014 at 15:19

Totally agree with Amanda_Plant. Self-Heal is a wonderful, attractive plant, much more attractive than boring green, flowerless lawns.

Forester2 31/07/2014 at 16:04

My front lawn is packed with it, much to the horror of my very fussy next door neighbour.

love_selfheal 14/04/2015 at 23:59

One of my favourite lawn wild flowers loved by bumblebees. I value the flowery biodiversity of my lawn rather than destroy with toxic pesticides. Come on Gardener's World, get with the times - love nature, work with it, don't destroy it. The easiest way to have a beautiful flowering lawn is not to use weedkillers, not to feed, remove the clippings and let nature back in the garden. Stop supporting the pesticide manufacturers.

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