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Common Mallow
Malva neglecta

How to identify and manage Common Mallow Malva neglecta, a common lawn weed. Also called, cheeseweed, buttonweed or roundleaf mallow. Photos are included to help with weed id.

See more pictures of Malva neglecta here.

Mallow is often found in new lawns and gardens where it can be troublesome because it produces a lot of seeds. Its presence may indicate fertile soils.

It has a Long, deep taproot and a spreading growth habit. The leaves are rounded with five to seven distinct lobes. Pinkish-white flowers bloom in late spring and continue into the fall.

It can be confused with ground ivy. One way to tell the difference is to compare the stems - ground ivy stems are square, mallow stems are round.

Also Known As:

  • Roundleaved Mallow
  • Buttonweed
  • Cheeseplant
  • Cheeseweed

Characteristics:

  • Annual or biennial
  • Reproduces by seed
  • Pinkish-white flowers
  • Round leaves with five to seven lobes and heart-shaped base
  • Indicates fertile soils
  • Spreading growth from deep taproot
  • Edible - leaves can be used in salads
Common Mallow in Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn

Common Mallow Weed ID and Control

Weed Images

Common mallow
Common mallow
Common Mallow TaprotCommon Mallow Taproot
© Public Domain

Small populations can easily be controlled by hand weeding. And just like other annual weeds, pull them when they are young - before the seeds ripen and spread.

Be sure to read and follow the directions on the label if you choose to use an herbicide.  It is a violation of federal law to use ANY pesticide in a manner that is not consistent with the label.

Chemical control: Using pre-emergent herbicides in the spring will help prevent weed seed germination.

Broadleaf herbicides applied in mid-spring through early summer when the plant is young and actively growing are most effective. Products that contain 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, clopyralid or triclopyr as an active ingredient can successfully control the plant. 2,4-D applied alone will just damage the leaves and then it will grow back.

Glyphosate (roundup) is non-selective and can also be used to kill mallow in landscape beds.

Vinegar-based (20% acetic acid) herbicides are considered a natural organic weed killer. They can be used as a non-selective herbicide in place of glyphosate and will kill annual weeds.

References:

University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign Turf grass Program: http://www.turf.uiuc.edu/weed_web/descriptions/mallow.htm

The best weed control is always a healthy, well-managed lawn that will not allow weed seeds to germinate. Weed seeds need contact with soil and sunlight to germinate and grow.  A dense, vigorous lawn will choke out weed seedlings before they become established.

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