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A question that we have been receiving recently either through our email (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Chickweed Background Information
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.
Chickweed Control Options
Recommended Post-Emergent Products
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.
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 email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.
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