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How to Get Rid of ChickweedChickweed

A question that we have been receiving recently either through our email (askapro@solutionsstores.com) as well as our phone line are questions regarding chickweed. In one way or another, people want to know what is the best way to get rid of chickweed from their yards?

To get rid of chickweed (or any weed for that matter) you first need to know the background information on the weed and do a little bit of homework to see what conditions this type of weed likes, what it doesn’t like and then based on the information, approach with a control program. This is where we can best help.

Here at Solutions Pest and Lawn, we’re dedicated to serving you with not only supplying the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry, but also we want to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

Our motto is, “Ask us, then do it yourself”. Aside from our customer service line where you can talk live to an expert, you can also email us your specific questions and concerns at askapro@solutionsstores.com and we’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

How To Get Rid of Chickweed: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification It's important, for the purposes of control and removal, to be sure the type of weed you have is actually chickweed and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Proper identification of the weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and can also point you in the right direction of which products can best treat that particular weed.

This is important because some common lawn weeds have a high tolerance or resistance to particular herbicides and control methods and are specifically labeled for certain weeds and not for others. If you misdiagnose the weed on your lawn as carpetweed when it's in fact not, you may purchase a herbicide not meant to tackle it and it will lead to disappointing results and overall, a waste of money.

There are three variations of chickweeds you could possibly find on your lawn. The first is known as common Chickweed or Stellaria media. It is common in yards, along the edges of gardens and more. It has simple lance shaped to ovate leaves that are simple along the margins. It has a small white flower which appears as if it has ten petals but it is just because the split in the petals. Chickweed is also edible and is known for its delicious taste.

The second type of Chickweed is known as mouse ear chickweed or Cerastium fontanum. It is also common in lawns but generally grows a little further away from a home. The reason it’s named mouse ear chickweed because of how hairy it is. The leaves are just like common chickweed in shape and along the margins, however the stem is red rather than green. The white flower is the same as common chickweed. The third type of Chickweed is star chickweed or Stellaria pubera. It is commonly found in the Eastern woodlands where it is native. This plant is a little larger in size but grow in less dense clumps than it's other two relatives. The leaves and flowers are the same shape, with the same features, however the flower and leaves are much larger overall. The stem is red and there are fine little hairs that run it's length.

If you are unsure whether you have chickweed or not, simply shoot an email over to identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.


Step Two: Inspection. Once the plant has been properly Identified, you can then move to the inspection process. Chickweed is a winter annual weed or can be a short-lived perennial weed which germinates near the end of summer or in the fall and then after overwintering, chickweed grows during the cooler spring months. Mouse-ear chickweed in particular is known to form dense patches in lawns and gardens.  Depending on how severe of a chickweed issue you have, your approach can then either be manual or chemical means of control.


Step Three: Control. The best way of controlling chickweed is chemical control or you could just go ahead and eat it since they are edible and it is enjoyed by many. If you like having a clean uniform lawn, then chickweed can be killed using a variety of broadleaf weed killers, the exact weed killer would depend on what kind of grass you have. If the grass is a warm season grass like Bermuda or zoysia you can use RoundUp Pro Weed Killer after the grass has gone dormant for the winter. Also, if this is a problem that persists every year, you can put down a pre-emergent (Balan 2.5 G Pre-Emergent Herbicide)around september and that will prevent the chickweed from popping up as the temperatures cool in the fall.


Step Four: Prevention. Normally chickweed grows in areas which have poor drainage. Addressing drainage issues can help (not watering as frequently). Using an organic mulch can also make it tougher for chickweed seeds to germinate. Last but not least, maintaining a thick vigorous lawn can choke out any chickweed seedlings from growing or trying to take over so make sure to keep a good lawn maintenance schedule.


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What is Chickweed?

Chickweed is a wild edible green leafy plant that grows predominantly throughout Europe and North American climates, but is native to a variety of temperate areas all over the world. It is one of the top most common weeds as its seeds are easily transported, making their way to most any moist partially shady section of earth.  


Typically found growing in large patches in early spring, it is a cool weather species that often thrives all year long when conditions are optimal. It is one of those wild edibles that frequently goes unrecognized because of its small delicate leaves that look a bit different than other edible leafy plants compared to larger leaved versions like dandelion, grape leaves and miner’s lettuce.


Common chickweed can seem rather insignificant, however, these hardy resilient and conspicuous looking plants usually make up for their size with large patches of growth literally covering an entire hillside. In addition, the entire plant is consumed as a food source, not just the leaves.


If you don’t want to deal with this plant, you can always eat it as it is viewed as a superfood and is known for its cleansing and detoxifying qualities.


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Learn More About Chickweed

Chickweed is a common pesky winter weed that landowners deal with quite regularly, on an annual basis.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.

Chickweed has small egg-shaped leaves, and petite white flowers. These weeds are found as spreading clumps, 4-12 inches tall. Chickweeds need seeds to reproduce and can very quickly multiply itself from seed. Chickweed enjoy growing in areas with poor drainage. Chickweed seeds like to grow in thatch so controlling lawn thatch can reduce the problem somewhat.

Homeowners tend to overlook the growth of chickweed in the fall and only notice its presence in the spring when it begins to grow vigorously in thin and bare spots of the lawn.  By the time summer comes around in June, chickweed is on the downhill side of its life span and will die out when the days become hot.  Unfortunately, most homeowners are more reactive than proactive, taking action only once the weed is obviously taking over lawns then desperately wanting to do something about it when the chickweed is already firmly established.

By the time homeowners decide to take action. the weed has already disbursed seeds for next year and will die out on its own without the use of herbicides.  Seeds will then lie dormant until the cooler weather of fall arrives and then they will start to germinate and will grow throughout the winter. Fortunately, there are ways to break the cycle.

 Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


Chickweed Control Options

There are two ways to control Chickweed chemically. One way is with a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide. There are a few very effective ones that we carry that can easily handle chickweed like Trimec Southern Broadleaf Herbicide and MSMA Target 6 Plus Herbicide. However since MSMA is not available to homeowners, another option to choose is RoundUp or any Glyphosate alternatives. Always read the label when it comes to application instructions and procedures to follow.  With Roundup and Glyphosate being nonselective, this may not be the best way to kill chickweed, as it may kill other plants too. Use its application sparingly and carefully in order to remove chickweed from garden areas.

It’s best to spot treat your problem areas in general. You also want to be careful to not treat newly seeded lawns until they’ve had a chance to mature. The best way to gauge this is to wait until you’ve mowed your new lawn at least three times. Otherwise, the weed killer may harm the tender new grass as well.

Another option is to use a pre-emergent. We would suggest any pre-emergent containing benefin+trifluralin.However, if you plan on seeding your lawn in the fall, this would not be the wisest option because the pre-emergent will prevent not only the chickweed from sprouting, but your grass seed as well. If you take this route, you’ll have to sow the grass seed in early September, and then apply a pre-emergent after you’ve mowed three times, or waited at least two months.

In order to show the best results, pre-emergent must be applied before chickweed germinates, so apply it in September. You can then apply new grass seed next spring. Your new grass won’t be as established when summer comes, but that’s the tradeoff you’ll have to make.

We do have to add in a disclaimer as taking the above precautions doesn’t guarantee a chickweed-free lawn each year. There are birds, wind, and other factors out of your control which may continue to make deposits of this unwanted seed. But you will see a drastic reduction in the amount of chickweed growing in your lawn.

Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials


Additional Chickweed Resources

What is Chickweed and How Do I Control It? - Roundup


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