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How to Get Rid of Chicory WeedHow to Control Chicory

So you take a look outside and notice that popping up from your turf and sticking out like a sore thumb are some leafy greens. No it isn’t lettuce, it’s chicory, which has become a widespread weed across the United States. If left untreated, chicory can easily spread throughout your lawn and take over.

While some may enjoy the appearance of the pretty blue flower that blooms from this weed, when trying to keep a uniform lawn, these pesky things won’t allow that to happen. Luckily, chicory can be controlled by applying the right herbicides and the right techniques.

Chicory can be a particularly large problem in yards around the summer time where it will shoot up out of the ground up to 30 inches in height and can easily be identified by its blue colored flowers which grow off of a bare looking stem.

To get rid of chicory from your lawn can be particularly difficult if you do not have the proper knowledge of the plant or what chemicals work best to control it. Solutions Pest & Lawn can help you with the best DIY lawn care advice and top professional herbicide recommendations so you can tackle this invasive weed with ease.

View our top suggested products for chicory control below and then scroll further to learn how to control chicory on your property using our easy-to-follow patented 4 step process.

How To Get Rid of Chicory: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification Before jumping into controlling chicory, it is vital that you first identify the type of weed you have to make sure that it is actually chicory and is not misdiagnosed as a different weed. Knowing the exact weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and also it can help point you in the direction of what chemical means of control work best against the product. This is important because some more stubborn weeds are resistent to certain herbicides and control methods. There are also herbicides that are specifically labeled for certain weeds and not for others. If you mistakenly identify the weed on your lawn as chicory 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. 

Chicory has several distinct traits that make the plant easy to identify. Although it's rosette leaves do look similar to those of dandelions, its growth pattern is much different as it can grow upwards of between 1 and 5 feet tall with woody stems that are green or reddish-colored. Touch the base of the stem and you will feel that it is fuzzy or hairy with few or no upper leaves. If there are leaves that are on the upper stem, they look and feel smooth. When the stem is cut or broken, a milky white sap oozes from the plant. The rosette leaves feel rough and hairy on both sides and are between 2 to 6 inches long and are oblong shaped with toothed margins.

Another standout trait of chicory are the flower heads. Flowers are about 1 and a 1/2 inches wide and are either sky blue, white or pinkish. Each flower has 10 to 20 petals with a small stalk or no stalk at all. The petals have toothed square ends. Chicory fruits are 1/8th of an inch long, dark brown and wedge shaped. Finally, chicory has a thick taproot that reaches up to 30 inches long and releases a milky sap when cut.

If you are unsure of what weed you have, you can contact us at 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, a detailed inspection is necessary to examine where the chicory is growing and to help see how severe of an invasion you have. Chances are, if you have chicory, they are not hard to miss as they can stand out among your lawn's desired grass and vegetation. Chicory is a common weed that can be diffifcult to manually control without the help of chemicals. This is primarily because of its extensive taproot which can grow underground up to three feet. This means that if you try to handpull it, the chicory will just grow right back because if can easily break off and just start up growing once again, regenerating.

Chicory is often found along roadsides, pastures, distured open areas and undeveloped landscapes. It usually thrive in areas that have full sunlight and rocky or clay soils. Chicory is versatile and can grow in unkempt areas and can very quickly spread from one area to another due to the seeds it can spread, up to a whopping 7000 in a season which can be a massive problem in little time.

Step Three: Control.  There are a number of professional quality herbicides will deal damage to the leaves on the plant and hinder with the development of the root system, which the herbicide can successful move through the plant and travel all the way down to the root system to kill off the entire plant and make sure that it doesn't make a return. We recommend Trimec Southern Broadleaf Herbicide or if the chicory is appearing in cracks in sidewalk Roundup Pro Weed Killer will suffice as a sport treatment.


Step Four: Prevention. The best defense against chicory is a thick lawn that is well fertilized and maintained. Implement proper cultural practices such as watering, mowing and feeding to make your yard less conducive to dandelion making a return and invading your yard. In particular, mowing your grass high can help to fight off chicory development because the weed seeds will not get the sunlight to be able to germinate and thrive if you were to mow your lawn low. Mulching beds is another good preventative measure to keep chicory away.

Have Some Grassy Weeds You Want Gone? View Our Grassy Weed Control Section


Learn More About Chicory

Chicory (cichorium intybus) is a deep-rooted perennial weed that originated in Europe was brought over to the states from Holland into Massachusetts in 1785 for use as a green vegetable. In many places across Europe chicory is used as a garnish in salads and many other dishes. It is also a common additive to coffee and is even harvested and used to feed livestock.  

Chicory grows in a habitat of roadsides, fields, waste places, meadows, lawns and cultivated beds. The plant grows between 1 and 4 feet tall and has a blue, rarely white or pink flower which is in bloom between May and October. The flower has seven or more regular parts and the flower heads are stalkless, an inch to an inch and a half wide and the rays are squared and toothed at the tips.  The plant has alternate leaves and the upper leaves are two lobed and entire or partially clasping the stem.

Chicory has become fairly common in the US particularly in the Northern half of the United States, usually by means of seed carried as an impurity in both foreign and domestic grass and clover seed. The increasing number of complaints recently received concerning this weed, especially from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York, indicates that the plant is becoming more. The plant oozes a milky sap which may cause allergic reactions to people when it gets on skin.

Chicory has a reputation of being a troublesome weed in agricultural and residential areas. Chicory thrives particularly over the summer months and is very versatile, capable of growing in all types of pastures and rough turfs.

Chicory can grow 2 to 4 feet in height at maturity and has milky sap. Chicory flowers have distinguished bright blue petals and bloom between mid-June and October. Chicory develops from a basal rosette (similar to dandelion), has a deep, fleshy taproot, and reproduces from buds on the root. Chicory is primarily spread by seeds. Although It is not as common as many weeds in horse pastures, they do appear more abundantly in unmowed pastures.

This sneaky weed grows very well in unkempt areas, but since it drops around 7000 seeds a season, it can very quickly spread to new parts of your lawn.

Chicory Is an Edible Weed!

Chicory may be an irritating perennial weed that you may not want to see ugly up your lawn, but it can be beneficial when it comes to consumption. Both the leaves and root has been used for eating and medicinal uses. The white underground part of the leaves can be used for salads and the above ground parts can be boiled and used as greens. The root can make a coffee like beverage. The Cherokee Natives made an infusion of the roots and used it as a tonic and for nerves. The Iroqoiis Natives used them for canker and fever sores. So if you're having a problem with this plant growing on your lawn, you can use this nutritious plant to consume.


Have A Lawn Issue That Isn’t Chicory ? Check out Our Lawn Care Main Category!

Control Options for Chicory

Before applying any herbicides it’s important to note that prevention is the best strategy to control chicory on your lawn. By keeping turfgrass thick with the proper fertilization and nutrition and by mulching beds as well as regularly patrolling for weeds when they're little.

Chicory can be controlled with the proper broadleaf herbicides like the recommended SpeedZone above. If chicory is growing on sidewalk cracks or any other place where you arent worried about damaging other plants you can use Roundup or Glyphosate.


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

Chicory Control Tips and Recommendations

  • When treating chicory we recommend using a pump sprayer, not a hose-end sprayer. That will allow you to direct the spray in a fairly fine mist directly down onto the dichondra.

  • Chicory is edible. If you don’t want to spray them, you could always eat your lawn problem away.

  • When applying herbicides be sure to wear protective clothing or safety equipment that completely covers your arms and legs, as well as gloves, socks and shoes. Avoid inhaling the spray or getting it in your eyes or mouth.

For more information on controlling chicory on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.


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


Additional Chicory Resources:

Chicory - Ohio Weedguide - The Ohio State University


Weed of the Month: Chicory - Brooklyn Botanic Garden


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