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Lawn problems (9) - Soleirolia Soleirolii

Mind Your Own Business or Soleirolia Soleirolii

Soleirolia Soleirolii

No, not a problem with nosy neighbours, but a creeping perennial, Soleirolia soleirolii (syn. Helxine soleirolii). It looks lovely in wall and patio crevices, spreading quickly to fill gaps, but regrows from the smallest sections of stem, and can be a nightmare to control once it gets into a lawn or borders. It forms dense bright green mats of foliage, and also has a golden form, with pretty white flowers in spring. So yes, it’s attractive, but don’t be fooled, its spread is described as ‘indefinite’ and you really, really don’t want it in your lawn!

If you have it in a border:

  • Try to remove it. Hoe it repeatedly in warm weather, or bury it under a thick layer of mulch as often as necessary.If you have it in the lawn,
  • Don’t compost your grass clippings, as mind-your-own-business stems can survive domestic composting process, and spread still further.
  • Patches in the lawn should be dug out carefully by hand, using a hand fork, in April or September. Try to make sure that you get every last bit out.
  • Once removed, add topsoil to re-level the lawn, and then re-seed the patch, or even buy turf to patch it, (read more about re-seeding / patching here).

If mind-your-own-business is widespread in your lawn, try feeding the lawn regularly to encourage strong lawn turf growth, to outcompete the weed. You can also lightly scarify the lawn several times  in March and April, and again in September, as this will weaken the mind-your-own-business, and give the grass a chance to grow into the space.

Unfortunately, mind-your-own-business is resistant to all lawn weedkillers that are approved for garden use, so you can’t use a general weedkiller on it. You can use glyphosate with some success, particularly as a spot treatment, but you will need to be extremely careful  as it will also kill your grass, and any surrounding plants too if it gets onto them. Glyphosate is sold as Scotts Roundup, Scotts Tumbleweed, Bayer Glyphosate Kills Weeds & Roots and Doff Knockdown Weedkiller, as well as a number of other brand names.

For best results, bruise the mind-your-own-business foliage lightly by walking on it before applying glyphosate, as this makes it more effective. Use a ready-to-use spray or gel for spot treatment (such as Roundup Gel), as this will be easier to target. If the weed is near shrubs and perennials, then shield them from the spray if possible.

As a last resort, if mind-your-own-business has really taken over your lawn, then treat it all over with glyphosate to make sure you kill all the weed, wait a few weeks and retreat if necessary, then buy turf and returf the whole lawn. Good quality turf from turf suppliers should not contain any weeds, so you should be safe from reinfection after that.

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