Germander speedwell is a perennial weed and one of many plants in the speedwell family. It is also known as ‘cat’s eye’ and ‘birds eye’, both names referring to the small white spot in the centre of the flower. It can be a major problem on lawns, but is not as widespread as slender speedwell in fine turf, however, it is still difficult to remove with chemicals.
It is also very common in hedgerows, grassy verges, woodlands and grassland. Germander speedwell spreads by both rhizomes and stolons (underground and overground runners) rooting at the nodes.
The leaves are similar in appearance to slender speedwell. However, germander speedwell leaves are more heart shaped than oval, they are slightly larger and more pointed towards the tips. They have prominent veins and the edges are heavily toothed.
Germander speedwell flowers between April and July. The flowers are blue in colour with a white centre, each has four petals, with one petal being somewhat smaller than the other three.
It will tolerate a variety of conditions, but prefers moist soils.
- Remove any plants by hand, ideally as soon as they appear. Take care to remove the whole plant, as anything that remains may regenerate.
- Remove grass clipping when mowing the lawn, as germander speedwell can regenerate from fragments of old stems.
- Germander speedwell can be checked with an application of lawn sand (often used for moss control) during the early spring, however this may only knock the leaves back, it will not kill the weed..
- Mowing the lawn on a regular basis will help prevent seed head formation.
- Lightly raking germander speedwell into an upright position, prior to mowing, will help remove part of the plant, again always ensure the clippings are removed.
As we have already mentioned, controlling germander speedwell with chemicals will prove difficult. The weed is resistant to most ingredients that are used in selective weed killers. More than a single application will be needed for control, even then success may be limited.
If you attempt to tackle this weed, choose a selective weedkiler that contains Fluroxypyr for the best results. There are several products available that contain this ingredient, including Weedol, which is a popular product for controlling lawn weeds. For more advice on how to get optimum results from weed control check out our weed control advice page.
Germander speedwell images
Recommended herbicides for the control of germander speedwell
Professional products (All operators must be trained and certificated in using and applying any Ministry Approved professional product)
- ICL Praxys (Fluroxypyr, Clopyralid, Florasulam)
- Barclay Holster (Fluroxypyr, 2,4-D, Dicamaba)
- Headland Cabadex (Flurosulam, Fluroxypyr)
- Mascot Greenor (Fluroxpyr, Clopyralid, MCPA)
- Mascot Crossbar (Fluroxpyr, 2,4-D, Dicamaba)
Products available for non-professional use (These products are available from garden centres and DIY stores and do not require any training or certification for use and application.)
- Weedol Concentrate (Fluroxypyr, Clopyralid, MCPA)
Tips for successful weed control using selective herbicides
- Treat weeds when growth is strong, this is usually in May and June.
- Don’t mow the lawn 3 days prior and 3 days after the treatment, to allow for maximum uptake of the chemical.
- Spray when the leaf/foliage is dry, as this reduces runoff and allows the chemical to stick to the weed.