Ribwort plantain is a rosette forming perennial weed, sometimes known as narrow-leaf plantain, rib grass. If is commonly found in grassland, roadside verges and cultivated land.
It is also frequently found in lawns, but is not as common as greater plantain in managed turf.
It has a deep, fibrous root system which is tolerant of dry soils, however it does not like waterlogged sites.
Ribwort plantain has long narrow leaves, dark green in colour, often with a glossy appearance. They have prominent ribs or veins running along them and under close inspection fine hairs are visible.
The flowers are typical of most plantain type weeds. In the case of ribwort plantain, short stubby flower heads with white anthers are bourne on long erect stalks. They are produced throughout the growing season from April until October.
Ribwort plantain will grow on most types of soil. However, they are most happy on dry, alkaline soils, They do not like wet sites.
- Individual plants can be hand weeded, taking care to remove the whole of the root.
- Avoid flowering and seed head formation by removing them when they appear.
- Maintain good turf vigour with a balanced feed program to help keep the lawn in good shape.
- Irrigate the lawn in periods of drought.
A good selective weed killer can be used to control ribwort plantain. Like all plantains a single application is usually enough for complete control.
Recommended herbicides for the control of ribwort plantain
Professional products (All operators must be trained and certificated in using and applying any Ministry Approved professional product)
- ICL Enforcer (2,4-D, Dicamba, Mecoprop-p, MCPA)
- ICL Praxys (Fluroxypyr, Clopyralid, Florasulam)
- ICL Esteron (2,4-D, Furosulam)
- Barclay Holster (Fluroxypyr, 2,4-D, Dicamaba)
- Headland Quickfire (Mecoprop-p, Dicamaba)
- Headland Cabadex (Flurosulam, Fluroxypyr)
- Hygrass-P (Dicamba, Mecoprop-p)
- Hysward-P (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
- Bayer Longbow (MCPA, Dicamba, Mecoprop-p)
- Mascot Junction Turf (Flurosulam, 2,4-D)
- 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)
- Vitax lawn Clear (Clopyralid, 2,4-D, MCPA)
- Resolva Lawn Weed Killer (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba)
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.