Strawberries in Lawn
How can I get rid of wild strawberries in my lawn? They are overtaking some areas.
Hi Marj – Wild strawberry, as you’ve already seen, is a creeping perennial weed that can spread rather quickly unless it is continually pulled back. It spreads by growing thin vines close to the ground, and then putting down new roots from the vine every few inches as it grows. Herbicide control is challenging for this weed – since the vines are so thin, there is not too much surface area for the herbicide to make contact with. Here are some suggestions that will hopefully help:
Fall is generally a good time to remove perennial weeds. If your ground is not yet frozen, pulling those roots up is the most effective method of getting rid of wild strawberry. If the ground is wet, you will likely find that they are fairly easy to remove from the soil. You can carry a watering can or hose with you to wet the soil and make this easier. Simply pull slowly at the vine until the roots start to come up, and pull slowly and steadily to get as much of the root as you can without breaking it off. Pulling individual vines can get overwhelming, so I recommend tackling it one section of your yard at a time and not trying to get the whole monster at once.
The plant will try to grow back after it is removed, as creeping perennials do. Persistent weeding every so often throughout the season will be necessary – this will continually weaken the vine system, so that its growth slows more and more each time you remove it, eventually stopping altogether.
You can also create physical barriers to keep it out of certain areas of your yard like flower beds, and/or contain it to the spots where it is worst. Dig deep “edging,” in other words a narrow slit in the ground around the area, about 3 inches deep, as your would if you were forming a new flower bed. This can be done with an edger or tip of a shovel. Insert plastic or fabric edging material into that slit, and let it extend out an inch or two. This will discourage the wild strawberry vine from going over the physical barrier and putting down roots.
Having a vigorous, healthy, and dense lawn will also help outcompete wild strawberry and other weeds. If there are areas of less dense grass, you can put down more grass seed and use fertilizer pellets (either organic or synthetic) to help foster a vigorous grass canopy with a nice thick root system.