There are a number of weed control options available to treat plantains. In addition to traditional weedkillers there are now also a range of more natural alternatives.
Any weedkiller can be used to control and kill plantains in beds, borders, waste ground and on paths. Those marketed as “fast acting” are contact weedkillers – killing or damaging the plant tissue they are sprayed onto or make contact with. These tend to be based on “naturally-occurring” active ingredients, such as acetic acid and natural fatty acids.
Systemic weedkillers that also kill the roots can also be used.
To ensure the weedkiller works effectively:
- Spray the leaves when the plantains are growing actively; this is mainly from March/April to September/October. Contact weedkillers will have some effect if used during the colder weather in winter.
- The larger the leaf area present, the greater the amount of weedkiller that can be absorbed. So don’t bother spraying when the growth first emerges through the soil – wait until the leaves grow larger.
- Use a fine spray to thoroughly coat the leaves in small droplets.
- During the summer, spray in the evening to prevent the spray evaporating and to give maximum time for the spray to be absorbed. In spring or if overnight dew is forecast, spray earlier in the day to allow the spray to dry before dew falls.
Most contact weedkillers are total weedkillers – that is they will damage or kill any plants whose leaves they are sprayed on. Make sure you keep the spray off wanted plants – including lawns – and, if necessary protect plants by covering with polythene or similar when spraying.
Gel products, which are dabbed onto, and sticks to, the weed leaves, may be a better option when trying to treat plantains growing close to wanted plants, where drift of the spray would damage them.
In lawns, spray plants with a good lawn weedkiller. Make sure the lawn is well fed and not cut too short to help the grass out-compete plantains and other lawn weeds.
Use weedkillers safely. Always read the label and product information before use.