Chickweed is a common problem in the lawn and garden. While difficult to control, it is possible. Keep reading to learn about the best way to kill chickweed before it becomes out of hand in the landscape.
How Do I Get Rid of Chickweed?
"How do I get rid of chickweed?" is a common question. There are two species of chickweed. There is perennial species, known as Mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum), which forms dense, low-lying patches within lawns and gardens. The other species, common chickweed (Stellaria media), is an annual and is easier to control. The best way to kill chickweed is by pulling as much of it out of the ground as possible by hand. Both species have shallow roots and can be easily removed by hoeing or hand pulling. However, since new plants can develop from mouse-ear rootstock, removing the entire plant is how to kill chickweed.
Remove Chickweed from Garden Areas
To remove chickweed from garden areas, continuous weeding may be necessary but will not eradicate chickweed in its entirety. There are a number of herbicides, however, that will kill chickweed on contact and are best used in early spring to prevent seeds from germinating. A non-selective herbicide can be used to eradicate chickweed, attacking the root system and killing the entire plant. Since this may not be the best way to kill chickweed, as it may kill other plants too, its application should be used sparingly and carefully in order to remove chickweed from garden areas. Another option is to dust chickweed with ammonium sulfate while the morning dew is still on it. Follow label directions for proper application rates.
How to Kill Chickweed in the Lawn
In lawn areas, pull chickweed from the ground to expose the soil. The soil should then be aerated with an aerator or shovel. If using a shovel, place gashes in the ground at least 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm.) deep and every one or two square foot. Spread a combination of fertilizer and weed killer over the affected area to eradicate chickweed. Always read the instructions carefully before applying any type of chemical to ensure that it is done correctly and at an appropriate time. Also, note the best time to water the area. Once you do begin to water, continue to do so each day for about two to three weeks. Any leftover chickweed should begin to die while new grass replaces it. Whether you choose to eradicate chickweed manually or with an herbicide is up to you. However, the best way to kill chickweed is before it has time to set seed. Nonetheless, if you find you are unable to remove chickweed from garden areas, chickweed can also be cultivated as a crop. It can be grown in gardens and used in place of lettuce in salads. Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.
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Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.
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