Controlling Chickweed in your lawn

Controlling Chickweed in your lawn

ChickweedThere are several types of Chickweed, a common herbaceous plant, that prefers cool, damp shady sites and can quickly take hold in your lawn during winter.

Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium glomeratum) is an annual weed also known as Clammy Chickweed, Sticky Chickweed and Sticky Mouse-ear. It has soft hairy stems and small sticky hairy leaves paired along the stems.

Mouse-ear Chickweed flowers are small, white and grouped in dense clusters at the top of the stem, with five petals that may appear to be 10 petals. It produces small fruit (5-10mm long) with what looks like 10 teeth at the tip.

In this article, we’ll address ways to remove and control Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) in your lawn.

Also known as Winter Weed, Starweed and Chickenwort, Common Chickweed has a line of hairs along one side of the stem and simple, mostly hairless leaves.

Common Chickweed also produces a single flower on each stem which also has five white petals that are deeply lobed.

Interestingly, Common Chickweed stems, flowers, leaves and seeds are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked and is also sold dried, as tea, and used in herbal remedies.

How to Identify Common Chickweed

Chickweed is a sprawling weed of lawns, gardens, footpaths, farms and disturbed sites.

It has shallow fibrous roots, can flower quickly in infertile soils – as soon as four to five weeks after germination – and each Common Chickweed flower is replaced by a cylindrical seed capsule. This can produce mature seeds within five to seven weeks of the plant germinating.

Common Chickweed spreads by reseeding itself; it can also spread vegetatively by rooting at the leaf nodes along the stems. 

The Common Chickweed seeds can be dispersed by wind, water, vehicles and mud.

How to Control Chickweed

There are several methods of Common Chickweed control, so choose the one that best suits your situation.

Mechanical removal of Chickweed

Small individual Common Chickweed plants can easily be dug out using a sharp spade but be sure to leave a generous margin around the plant and under the roots. This is best done before the Common Chickweed flowers to avoid accidentally scattering seeds.

Cultivation

If the Common Chickweed has grown into a large, dense mat, more drastic action might be needed. This can include removal of the plants by hand – they’ll break off easily enough – followed by cultivation to ensure the roots and any leftover stems and seeds are well buried.

Common Chickweed seeds rarely germinate from depths of 20mm or more.

Mowing

Common Chickweed doesn’t recover from the loss of its foliage, so pull up as much as you can by hand before flowering, and regularly mow that section of your lawn at a lower height to allow the grass around its time to recover.

Heat shock

Flame weeding, which involves passing a flame over a weed briefly to heat the plant tissue just enough to kill it, also works well on Common Chickweed. Take care you don’t do too much damage to your surrounding lawn.

Chemical removal of Chickweed

Glyphosate can be effective on Common Chickweed, but as a non-selective herbicide, it will poison everything it touches, including your lawn.

Overspray of glyphosate is especially toxic to Kikuyu and Buffalo lawns.

It is safer to use a selective herbicide such as Indigo Duke 100WG 100gm. Duke is a post-emergent liquid herbicide and is safe to use on Kikuyu, Buffalo and Couch grasses. Do not use it on Zoysia grasses. It can be applied using suitable spray equipment.

Another reliable selective herbicide that controls Common Chickweed is Indigo ProForce Contra M 1L, this product can not be used on Buffalo lawns but is suitable for Kikuyu, Zoysia and Couch grasses. Again it can be applied using suitable spray equipment.

Recommended Products

Indigo Duke 100WG 100gm

myhomeTURF also recommends Indigo Duke, which is a post-emergent liquid herbicide. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.

Note: Indigo Duke is not suitable for use on Zoysia grasses.

SHOP NOW

Indigo Contra M 1L

Indigo ProForce Contra M 1L is a reliable, selective liquid herbicide used to control Broad Weeds. Achieves best results when used with product with Wetter 600. Indigo ProForce Contra M CANNOT be used on Buffalo lawns but is suitable for use on ZoysiaKikuyu and Couch grasses. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.

SHOP NOW

How to Keep Chickweed at Bay

Thin, weak lawns on poorly drained soils are at the greatest risk of infestation by weeds such as Common Chickweed.

Ensuring you have a strong, healthy lawn provides the best defense against a Common Chickweed invasion.

Eliminate wet spots in your lawn and lay geofabric under new garden beds to minimise the risk of Common Chickweed spreading from seeds in soil that’s brought in.

Free Lawn Guide

Sign up for our Newsletter to receive your free guide.

View our Privacy policy
Weeds

Related Articles

How to remove White Clover from your lawn

White Clover is easily recognisable from its smooth trifoliate leaves but once established can require patience to beat. A hardy, herbaceous perennial plant that tolerates ...

Read More

Removing Sedge Grass from your lawn

There are hundreds of sedges in the genus Cyperus, which is found in both tropical and warm temperate environments across the world. Some Sedge Grass is grown as ornamentals ...

Read More
Dandelion Weed

Dandelion Weed removal from your lawn

Dandelions are a perennial herb that gardeners either love or hate. Some people loathe Dandelion Weed with a passion because it can reappear in lawns year after year, despite ...

Read More
Crowsfoot Grass

Controlling of Crows Foot Grass from your lawn

Crows Foot Grass is a common weed of lawns, gardens, parks, footpaths and roadsides. It was recently ranked in the top 200 environmental weeds in south-eastern Queensland and ...

Read More

Ridding Mullumbimby Couch from your lawn

Mullumbimby Couch is one of the hundreds of sedges in the genus Cyperus, which is found in both tropical and warm temperate environments across the World. Some Sedge Grass is ...

Read More
Summer Grass

Ridding Summer Grass from your lawn?

Summer grass is a common invasive annual grass that also goes by the name crabgrass. Not surprisingly, Summer Grass seeds germinate when temperatures begin to rise above 20 ...

Read More

How to remove Soursob from your lawn?

Also known as Sour Grass, Bermuda Buttercup and Creeping Oxalis, Soursob is an extremely annoying fast-spreading weed. Soursob is sometimes confused with Clover – they have ...

Read More

Identifying and Removing Onion Weed from your Lawn

The bulb of an Onion Weed plant gives off an onion-like scent when crushed or cut and an outbreak can be enough to make any lawn-lover cry. A perennial, Onion Weed has been ...

Read More
Nut Grass

Nut Grass – Identification and Control

Nut Grass is an annoying fast-spreading long-lived perennial lawn weed that grows from underground tubers. A member of the sedge family – other names are nut sedge, coco grass ...

Read More

A Guide to the Most Common Lawn Weeds

Weeds may be green, but they are plants growing where they’re not wanted within your lawn. Weeds can take any form and can vary depending on where they grow and typically ...

Read More