Q. Wild strawberry plants are taking over large areas of my lawn and have spread into the flower beds. It is impossible to pull them up because they run in all directions and become very thick in certain areas. How can I get rid of them without hurting my lawn and other plants?

A. Common cinquefoil, Potentilla simplex, is often called wild strawberry because of its trailing growth and general leaf shape. However, wild strawberries have white flowers while those of common cinquefoil are yellow.

This weed is hard to eliminate. There is no chemical that can be used to kill it that will not also kill flowers and other broadleaf plants if they are touched by the chemical.

According to specialists, either 24-D. Silvex, Dicamba or MCPP can be used effectively during May and June to control common cinquefoil without injuring the grass, provided, of course, label directions are followed closely.

If your wild strawberry plants do not bear small yellow flowers during May and June (assuming they are mature enough to do so), they are not common cinquefoil and the above directions do not apply.

Common cinquefoil in the flower beds can be spot-treated; that is, treat the weed but keep the chemical off the other plants.