Yarrow [Achillea millifolium]

Description: Yarrow, often recognized for its fern-like leaves and fragrant scent when crushed, is a perennial weed that’s frequently found in lawns across the UK. Despite its delicate appearance and attractive white clustered flowers that bloom from June to October, yarrow can be a formidable adversary for gardeners aiming for a pristine lawn.


  • Root System: Yarrow boasts a deep fibrous root system, which endows it with impressive drought resistance.
  • Spread: Once it takes root in a lawn, yarrow propagates rapidly through both seeds and underground runners, often overshadowing and choking out the grass.
  • Leaves: Its leaves are intricate and fern-like, releasing a distinctive fragrance when crushed.
  • Flowers: The white blossoms appear in clusters and are a common sight from the start of summer till autumn.
  • Soil Preference: Although adaptable to a variety of soils, yarrow has a penchant for drier terrains, particularly those lacking in nutrients. This characteristic makes it an indicator of nutrient-deprived soils.

Control: Managing yarrow requires a mix of cultural and potential chemical interventions:

  1. Hand Weeding: This is feasible if you’re dealing with a limited number of yarrow plants. However, due to its deep root system, ensure complete removal to prevent regrowth.
  2. Mowing: Regular mowing at an appropriate height can prevent the yarrow from flowering, curbing its spread. This also promotes a dense growth of grass, naturally suppressing weeds.
  3. Fertilization: Yarrow’s presence may indicate that your lawn is hungry for nutrients. Adopt a balanced fertilization routine to boost the lawn’s health and vitality, making it less receptive to weed invasion.
  4. Chemical Control: Yarrow is known to resist many commercial weed killers, making chemical control challenging. If you opt for this route, you may need multiple applications for effective control. Always wear proper protective gear when handling chemicals and strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Final Thoughts: While yarrow is undoubtedly a beautiful plant with a rich history of medicinal use, it can be an unwelcome guest in a well-maintained lawn. Through consistent care, nourishment, and strategic interventions, it’s possible to keep this persistent weed in check.

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

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