The calls have already started on my Sunday morning radio show. Callers want to know, "what do I do about violets in the lawn?"
My answer is always, "enjoy them, they are beautiful."
We've been taught by Madison Avenue what a lawn should be. There can also be pressure from the neighborhood to have the perfect lawn and that's OK.
Just like every garden is different, each lawn is too. I love my violets in the lawn, they are edible too. It's fun to sprinkle them on top of a salad for guests.
Don't feel bad about violets in the lawn, enjoy the beauty of a "quilted lawn." That's a combination of all sorts of other plants growing in consort with the grass.
That's impossible for many people though. If you live in a neighborhood where the culture demands only green grass, here's what you can do.
There are two crucial things needed to grow a lush lawn of grass. The pH must be right along with the fertility. To get both right you'll need a soil test. The best comes from your county's Penn State Cooperative Extension. It's cheap, easy to find and will give you all the information you need to get the pH and fertility correct. They can be bought from the extension service or at local nurseries too.
When the lawn is ammended to get those two things right, the grass should outgrow the weeds. Keep it long, three and a half inches if possible and cut it often. Make sure the blade of the mower is sharp too.
Aerate the lawn every few years, it will let fertilizer and water get down to the roots.
Nothing can outgrow grass when it's happy.
My favorite organic fertilizer is ReVita from Ohio Earth Food. It's under $20 for a 50 pound bag and will make any plant happy, including grass. I get mine at Hahn Nursery in Ross. I've heard that other local nurseries will be carrying the company's organic products.
An organic lawn is a safe lawn. Here's more information about growing a lawn without chemicals. Every nursery offers an organic four step program and most lawn services do to.
There's only one lawn to walk barefoot on, an organic one. Your violets won't mind at all.