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Yarrow

Symptoms

Plant spreads by underground stems and seeds and produces large drought-resistant patches in lawns, so grass cannot spread.
Find it on: all over the garden, but especially on soils affected by drought or lacking in nutrients
Time to act: spring to autumn

Overview

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, thrives in soils that are affected by long periods of drought or are lacking in nutrients. The plant spreads by underground stems and also by seeds from its flowers (June to October), which provide an excellent source of nectar for bees. However, once it is established in your garden it will quickly spread, causing particular problems when it appears in the lawn.
Solution
Plant spreads by underground stems and seeds and produces large drought-resistant patches in lawns, so grass cannot spread.
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 dig out chunks of grass to get it out effectively, but you can hold it at bay by keeping the lawn healthy and thereby making conditions less favourable for the yarrow. Top-dress the lawn in spring and in September, mow it regularly and lightly rake when in growth to weaken the weed.
Chemical
Yarrow is fairly resistant to many selective weedkillers, but in lawns, use a weedkiller such as a 2, 4-D-based herbicide to remove the weed. Apply in cool, moist, calm conditions when there is least risk of accidentally damaging nearby garden plants.


Discuss this problem

Talkback: Yarrow
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jegpad 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I bought a terracotta yarrow especially to place in my wild flower bed.

Amanda_Plant 24/11/2011 at 15:29

Yarrow doesn't cause any problems in my lawn. I love it. It is a really useful wild plant. It has amazing medicinal properties and can be used to make a tea to spray plants against fungal diseases. I use yarrow tea as a cold/flu remedy and it usually stops any infection in its tracks. Come on Gardeners' World, let's not destroy these useful plants. Tell us what we can do with them!

compo5 17/05/2012 at 10:14

I agree totally Amanda-Plant. Gardeners World seems to have become
much more "Roundup Ready" since the days of Geoff Hamilton for some reason.

His writing on weeds and weed control is well worth revisiting.
e.g. "Successful Organic Gardening" from 1987

Koalagirl 17/05/2012 at 14:44

My front lawn is full of yarrow because it is a dry sandy slope.  Other people get moss, I get yarrow.  I tried to get rid of it when I first moved to my house but have long since given up the battle.  I now just mow it with the rest of the grass.  At least it still looks green in mid summer when the grass has gone yellow.

obelixx 17/05/2012 at 18:14

I buy ornamental yarrow in assorted colours for my borders but also have the wild form growing happily in a partciularly dry patch of grass.  I leave it uncut and it flowers on short stems and attracts a host of insects such as bees and hoverflies.  Good stuff.

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