Doves-foot Cranesbill [Geranium molle]

Doves-foot Cranesbill, scientifically known as Geranium molle, is a persistent annual weed that can be found in various gardens and lawns. Although it might seem harmless due to its delicate flowers, this weed can quickly invade spaces, especially in nutrient-deficient terrains. In this article, we will delve deeper into the characteristics of the Doves-foot Cranesbill and provide actionable solutions to manage its growth effectively.

Understanding Doves-foot Cranesbill

Appearance: The defining feature of the Doves-foot Cranesbill is its rounded leaves. These leaves, slightly covered with fine hairs, usually have between 5 and 7 distinct lobes. The foliage provides a striking backdrop for its flowers, which range from light pink to purple. These colorful blooms make their appearance between April and September, adding color to the landscape but also signaling the presence of this invasive weed.

Habitat: Doves-foot Cranesbill exhibits a preference for free-draining soils, especially those deficient in essential nutrients. This means that gardens or lawns with poor soil quality are particularly susceptible to an invasion by this weed.

Effective Control Strategies

  1. Hand Weeding: For gardens with only a sparse presence of Doves-foot Cranesbill, manual removal can be the most straightforward solution. Hand weeding, done meticulously, ensures that the weed is uprooted entirely, preventing its return. Using tools like weed pullers can be especially effective in ensuring that the entire plant, including the roots, is removed.
  2. Promote Healthy Lawn Growth: One of the best preventive measures against Doves-foot Cranesbill and other weeds is fostering a thick and robust lawn. Proper lawn care practices, including regular mowing, adequate watering, and timely fertilization, can promote the growth of a dense turf. A thick sward naturally suppresses the growth of weeds by limiting the space and resources available for them to thrive.
  3. Chemical Control: In situations where the infestation is widespread, resorting to chemical treatments might be necessary. When choosing a herbicide, opt for those containing Dicamba & Mecoprop-p, known for their effectiveness against Doves-foot Cranesbill. It’s advisable to spot treat affected areas to minimize the impact on surrounding plants. Given the resilience of this weed, a follow-up treatment approximately six weeks after the initial application ensures comprehensive control.

Safety Precautions

When using chemical treatments, it’s imperative to prioritize safety. Always wear appropriate protective equipment like gloves and goggles and follow the manufacturer’s application guidelines to the letter.


While the Doves-foot Cranesbill can add color to a garden with its pink to purple flowers, it’s essential to recognize it as a potential invasive weed. With the right strategies in place, ranging from manual removal to chemical treatments, you can ensure that your garden remains free of this unwelcome guest. Regular monitoring and timely interventions are key to maintaining a healthy and vibrant outdoor space.

John Storm

Oliver Thompson
Lawn Care Expert

About Oliver: Oliver Thompson, a seasoned lawn care expert from the Cotswolds with over two decades of experience, invites all enthusiasts to join him in exploring the world of lawns, sharing knowledge, and fostering a vibrant community of lawn enthusiasts. More info

Leave a Comment

Some posts may contain affiliate links. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.