Plantain (Plantago species)

Quick facts and control methods

Perennial weeds found in lawns and gardens throughout the United States, especially in damp, heavy soil, plantains form rosettes of dark green leaves marked from end to end with distinctive parallel veining. Leaves of P. lanceolata (buckhorn plantain) are long and narrow; those of P. major (broadleaf plantain) are broadly oval.

To reduce infestations in lawns, keep the turf thick through consistent fertilizing; aerating the lawn will help, too. Dig out plantains before they set seed. Be sure to remove as much of the roots as possible (a dandelion weeder is helpful here), since these weeds can regrow from any pieces of the fibrous rootstalk that remain in the soil.

For chemical control, use a pre-emergence product containing isoxaben. Spot-treat plantains in the garden with glyphosate, taking care not to get the chemical on desirable plants.