Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), sometimes called swamp marigold, is a native wetland plant that does well in the moist areas of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Even though these plants can be a great complement to a pond bank or rain garden, marsh marigolds are not usually welcome when they go wild and start popping up in the lawn. By using multiple methods of control, you can eliminate the marsh marigold menace from your lawn for good.
Things You'll Need
- Hand-held shovel
- Bypass pruners
- Pre-mixed glyphosate herbicide
Dig individual marsh marigolds as they emerge from the lawn. Push any disturbed grass clumps back into place, and water well to reduce the stress caused by damaging grass roots. Dig out large clumps of marsh marigolds if you intend to replant the lawn anyway, and manage the stragglers as they appear.
Mow your lawn weekly, making sure to cut the marsh marigolds as close to the ground as you can without damaging your lawn. Monitor the problem closely, you don't want to allow the marigolds to set flowers or put out too many leaves -- flowers lead to more plants and leaves will allow the plant to feed itself while you're trying to starve it out. Continue mowing frequently throughout the growing season.
Clip marsh marigold flowers and leaves off of the plants between mowings if your infestation is small, but aggressive. Back off on supplemental lawn watering to stress the marsh marigolds, but don't allow your lawn to die trying to dry the nuisance plants out -- if your lawn looks brown or limp, water regardless of the marsh marigolds.
Fashion a cardboard collar for the marsh marigolds that will protect your lawn from overspray and apply a pre-mixed glyphosate herbicide to the leaves of the marigolds in the fall, once temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Repeat treatments every 20 to 30 days, or until temperatures are below 60 degrees -- foliar herbicides work best on plants that are actively growing.
Tips & Warnings
- Removing perennial weeds from your lawn is a long-term project and can take many years. If you prevent the formation of new seeds and dig new plants whenever possible, you will have your marsh marigold problem under control before you know it.
- Glyphosate is a toxic chemical. Even though the pre-mixed containers make application easy and protect you from mixing the product too strongly, risks are still involved. Read all directions and warnings before using any garden chemicals.
- University of Vermont: Caltha Palustris
- Washington State University Clark County Extension: Marsh Marigold
- Muskegon Community College: Caltha Palustris
- University of Minnesota Extension: Weed Control in Lawn and Other Turf
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Managing Weeds in Fescue Lawns
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Fall Weed Control
- Montana State University Extension: Getting the Most From Fall Perennial Weed Management
- Armed Forces Pest Management Board: Roundup Pro Label
- Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images