Field Pansy Control – How To Get Rid Of Field Pansy

Despite its pretty, long-stalked flowers, most people just want to know how to get rid of field pansy and it's not easy.

Purple-White Field Pansies
field pansy
(Image credit: desy_sevdanova)

Common field pansy (Viola rafinesquii) looks a lot like the violet plant, with lobed leaves and small, violet or cream-colored flowers. It is a winter annual that is also a difficult-to-control broadleaf weed. Despite the plant’s pretty, long-stalked flowers, most people inquiring about the plant want to know how to get rid of field pansy. Controlling field pansies is not easy, since they do not respond to most herbicides. Read on for more field pansy information.

Field Pansy Information

The leaves of common field pansy form a rosette. They are smooth and hairless, with small notches around the edges. The flowers are a lovely, pale yellow or a deep violet, each with five petals and five sepals. The little plant rarely grows above 6 inches (15 cm) tall, but it can form thick mats of vegetation in fields of no-till crops. It germinates in winter or spring, springing out of the ground so fast it has been nick-named “Johnny jump up.”

The common field pansy produces fruit in the shape of a triangular pyramid filled with seeds. Each plant produces some 2,500 seeds every year that can germinate at any time in mild climates. The fruit explodes the seeds into the air when it is mature. The seeds are also spread by ants. They grow easily in disturbed wet areas and pastures.

Field Pansy Control

Tilling is a good field pansy control, and the plants are only a serious problem for those raising crops that are not tilled. These include cereals and soybeans. The speed of germination and growth does not help gardeners intent on controlling field pansies’ spread.

Those intent on field pansy control have found that certain chemicals are helpful. Consult with your local extension service agent or garden center for instructions and safe use of chemicals if you choose to use them on field pansies.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.