Broadleaf weeds (also called flatweeds) are a group of weeds that have broad leaves that form a rosette close to the ground or grow from a stem. Many are a problem in lawns, but also spread into garden beds. They are distinctive in appearance and easily distinguished from grassy weeds and lawn grasses which have narrow leaf blades. Commonly found broadleaf weeds in lawns and gardens are capeweed, cat’s ear, dandelion, dock, fleabane, and plantain.
A well-mulched garden and dense, vigorous lawn can keep broadleaf weeds at bay as there is little room for the weeds to grow. Feed gardens with a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives. Feed lawns with Seasol for Lush Green Lawns or Seasol for Buffalo Lawns during the growing season, to keep the lawn dense and resistant to weeds.
Like any weed, the best control for broadleaf weeds is to remove them when they are small before they have time to flower and set seed. Broadleaf weeds are either annual or perennial (regrow year after year). Try to remove the entire plant, which may have a large, fibrous root system or a well-developed taproot (for example dock). There are weeding tools that make weeding flatweeds easier, particularly from lawns.
In garden areas, a natural way to control them is to cover the weedy area with weed mat, cardboard or thick wads of newspaper to deprive weeds of sunlight and oxygen. Only use this method in areas without garden plants or lawn, as these will be smothered as well. It can take up to a year or more to entirely clear weeds from the soil.
Applying a natural organic herbicide such as EarthCare Organic WeedKiller is another way to control them. It’s a glyphosate-free, non-selective formula so care must be taken when spraying near valuable plants. Follow the directions on the container and ensure that all foliage is totally covered with spray as it is a contact spray only. Repeat applications may be necessary.