Plantain is a common weed found in lawns throughout the country. There are two types of plantain usually seen – broadleaf (or common) plantain and buckhorn (or narrow-leaved) plantain. Both perennial weeds have short, thick tap roots and leaves that grow in a rosette. Plantain prefers full sun, but can also grow in some shade. They are tolerant of both wet and dry soils.
Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major) has egg-shaped, dark green leaves that grow low to the ground. The leaves are normally smooth with wavy edges, 3-8 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. They have 3-5 clearly deﬁned parallel veins. Flowers are produced on distinctive long narrow spikes. A healthy plant can produce up to 14,000 seeds per years. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 60 years. Broadleaf plantain thrives in compacted soils that have heavy traﬃc – areas where desired grasses can struggle.
Buckhorn plantain (Plantago lanceolata) has narrow, lance-shaped dark green leaves that are 3-10 inches long and less than 1 inch wide. The leaves have very visible and prominent veins. The ﬂower stalks can be tall - 12-18 inches. Closely clustered ﬂowers, which resemble a small bullet in shape, form at the end of the long stalk. Buckhorn plantain is not able to withstand traﬃc stress as well as broadleaf plantain.
The best way to prevent plantains is to keep the soil in the lawn aerated and healthy. Aerate compacted soil and follow a regular schedule of fertilization, applying at least twice a year. Water the lawn deeply when there is less than an inch of rainfall in a week. A healthy lawn crowds out plantains, but the plantains crowd out the grass when the lawn is in poor condition. Dry and drought conditions also favor plantain growth.
Plantain seeds are easily spread by mowers and other equipment used on the lawn. In areas of heavy infestation, clean your equipment thoroughly before using it again to prevent the spread of plantain and other broadleaf weeds into other lawns.
Post-emergent herbicide products offered as granules by Lebanon Turf for plantain control include LockUp®, Confront® or Trimec®. Apply when plantain plants are actively growing – generally May through October. Contact your local LebanonTurf distributor or your Lebanon Turf territory sales manager to determine which product will best fit your needs.
Consider these products to control plantains:
ProScape 19-0-6 40% MESA Confront3 + .145 Dimension (Pre-emergent & Post-emergent)
You can find other products to control plantains in weed control products.
LockUp and Confront are registered trademarks of Corteva AgriScience. Trimec is a registered trademark of PBI/Gordon Corporation.