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Purple Flowering Weed Takes Over Charleston Yard

Spring Vetch - Vicia sativa

Spring Vetch - Vicia sativa

Ask the Expert: Can you ID this weed?
I live in Charleston, SC and it is taking over my yard this spring.  It has a purple flower.
THanks. Mac

Plant Expert Reply:

What you have is called Spring Vetch (Vicia sativa). In most places it is considered a weed. To get rid of it in your yard, you can spray 2 4 D or a Greenlight product called wipe-out. These products will kill the broadleaf weeds in your yard, but they will not harm the grass.  Your local garden center and nursery in will have this product on the shelf. They will be able to tell you how to mix it and when to spray it in your area.

Caution: 2 4 d or wipe out can only be used in yards. It can not be used in shrub beds.

This weed identification question was sponsored by the local florists in Charleston SC.


  1. Thank you very much. I realized after 30 mins that pulling all of these by hand was more than I wanted.

  2. Was searching for a mystery plant of my own and came across this-even though it’s several years old, I wanted to comment. I would suggest steering clear of herbicides for many reasons. They are toxic to all plants, and damage the healthy ecosystem of your soil. The vetch family of plants are actually sown intentionally to improve the condition of the soil-you can mow over them and leave to compost in place to enrich your soil. PLEASE DON’T USE ROUNDUP. It also kills bees, frogs, dragonflies, and other creatures, and is very toxic to children and pets.

  3. Does anyone know a weed killer that can prevent Vicia sativa weeds in day lily beds that will not harm day lilies?

  4. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Dooley,
    For daylilies, the best way to control weeds is good old fashioned hoeing or hand-weeding. You can also put landscape fabric or organic mulch around to prevent light from hitting the weeds. This will prevent them from growing. You can also use systematic weedkillers to prevent weeds. Just be sure when you are spraying that you have something to protect the lilies with.

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