It’s not necessary to save everything that grows in your garden or yard. Not to mention chickweed, which is one of the most invasive weeds on the planet. To get rid of the troublesome chickweed, your initial instinct is to apply weed killers or pesticides.
However, this isn’t always possible due to a variety of factors, including municipal rules that may ban you from applying pesticides on your lawn or garden.
Chickweed is a difficult weed to control since it weaves its way among other plants including turfgrass, making it difficult to isolate it even using a selective herbicide. To outsmart the cunning chickweed, creative methods are required.
Here, we’ll look at the best techniques to get rid of chickweed and other important facts. Welcome to my Chickweed Killer Guide. Let’s get started…
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Why Do Lawns Get Chickweed?
Chickweed thrives in damp soil and direct sunshine. This weed thrives in neutral pH soils with plenty of nitrogen, but not so well in low pH or acidic soils. The appearance of chickweed might suggest that your soil is compacted. This weed has a high level of competition since it can withstand drought and lawnmower wear and tear. Despite being an annual broadleaf weed, chickweed is known to flourish all year and may go from bloom to seed to plant in about five weeks. New roots emerge from nodes on the stems, and the plant spreads quickly. With the correct conditions, this tough plant may rapidly and readily pose a danger to any lawn due to its prolific reproduction cycle.
Watering methods that are too wet will favor the growth of common and Mouse-ear chickweed. If chickweed emerges, reduce your watering. Chickweed is commonly found in shady regions, particularly around tree mulch skirts.
Mouse-ear chickweed grows in both shaded and sunny spots. Mouse-ear chickweed, like other weeds, thrives on thin, starved grass, therefore maintaining your lawn healthy, thick, and actively growing is essential. Don’t mow your lawn too short. This strains your lawn and invites weeds to grow!
Where Does Chickweed Grow
Field chickweed is a perennial herb that blooms in the spring and grows tangled or clumped in a range of open sunny settings at altitudes ranging from sea level to over 12,000 feet. It can be found throughout North America but is less common in the Southeast. The blossoms of plants in the western United States are somewhat bigger than those in the east.
The annual or overwintering native plant common chickweed is one of the most frequent weeds on farmed land in the UK. It may also be found on the sides of highways, along shingle riverbanks, on coastal cliffs, and in gardens. It may be found in all soil types, but is more common in lighter soils.
When Do You Kill Chickweed
It seldom grows taller than 2 inches along the ground in lawns and develops a dense, thick mat with little white blooms. Chickweed has a shallow root structure, so it’s preferable to manage it in the spring or autumn, like other annual weeds.
Chickweed, both sticky and common, is an annual weed. Seeds sprout in colder places between January and early March when soil temperatures reach around 59°F. Seeds may grow at even greater temperatures if the soil is highly wet. Typically, the seeds germinate at or near the soil surface. After irrigation or rain, germination can occur in big numbers. The deeper the seeds are buried, or the drier the soil, the less likely they are to germinate or grow into seedlings. Seeds that have reached maturity can germinate without the need for a dormancy period. Chickweed has a short life cycle of 5 to 6 weeks.
Chickweed should be eradicated before flowering. Because of the short time between germination and bloom development, this might be problematic. Regular monitoring and plant removal from the location, on the other hand, will keep seeds from growing and collecting in the soil (seed bank). Common chickweed may reroot from stem nodes in damp regions, therefore it’s critical to not only remove the plants from the ground but also the site.
How To Get Rid of Chickweed Without Chemicals?
Before you open your website and begin searching for a herbicide to eliminate the chickweed on your lawn, think about alternative options. Herbicides should only be used in situations where the weed has taken over a significant area or where nonchemical weed control approaches are difficult to adapt to the location. Chemical weed killers, as well as organic herbicides, are not without risk. They have adverse effects and depending on the type of pesticide used, the soil might be poisoned for a long time.
Making it more difficult for the invasive chickweed to grow on your lawn is a better alternative. Here are three natural alternatives to using pesticides to manage and control chickweed on your grass.
Mowing The Lawn
This appears to be so self-evident that it may not be worth discussing. Surprisingly, it’s the last thing on anyone’s mind. The first thing you want to do when you discover a portion of your lawn covered in unsightly chickweed and your St. Augustine or other types of grass suffocating beneath it is to spray the troublesome weed and get rid of it right away. But not right now. Let’s see if we can mow the lawn.
When you mow your grass, you’re effectively interfering with and stopping the chickweed’s lifecycle. Rather than allowing it to grow to maturity, blossom, produce seeds, and begin a new life, you’re interrupting the vicious cycle. You’re effectively denying it free reign in your yard to develop and disseminate the seeds.
Mowing regularly makes it difficult for the weed to blossom, which is a key phase in the production of seeds. Make it a practice to mow that section of your lawn at least once a week to prevent chickweed from growing and spreading to other areas. Keep the grass nicely groomed across the rest of the lawn. When the grass reaches a height of 4 inches or more, it provides fertile ground for chickweed. To keep chickweed at bay, trim it down.
Till The Soil
But what if you are unable to mow the lawn due to unforeseen circumstances? What if the chickweed is growing in a location where mowing isn’t possible? What if you have a garden rather than a lawn? What would you do to stop the invasive chickweed from spreading? You can always till the ground. Continue tilling the soil by turning it upside down. Chickweed will struggle to grow roots and have a calm lifespan as a result of this.
This does not imply that your garden is always a wasteland. All you have to do now is till the dirt in between the plants. This helps to bury the weeds behind a thick layer of soil, blocking off light and air. It also causes the roots to rise to the surface, thus destroying them. Before planting new seeds, turn the soil with a hoe or spades each time. Make careful to dig up the top 8 inches of dirt.
There will be times when you can’t perform both cutting the lawn and tilling the soil at the same time. Consider how happy you’ll be when your rose garden or tomato garden is flourishing. There’s no way to flip the dirt upside down with a mower or even a hoe. This necessitates a more extreme approach in which the invasive chickweed’s oxygen supply is cut off.
Using a covering that blocks both light and air is the best method to do so. Anything will do, from a tarp to newspaper or even mulch. Weights and a robust shovel are also required. The tarp or canvas will usually work best because they are thick and easy to install. To keep the canvas from blowing away, spread the covering over the affected area and set the weights at appropriate spots.
If you’re going to use mulch, make sure it’s equally distributed and that it’s a thick layer that completely covers the area. Before removing the covering, wait at least 2 weeks to see how the chickweed is doing. Cover it again for another week or two if it’s still growing or not completely dead.
Till the soil and sow new seeds after the chickweed is gone. Keep a watch out for any shoots of chickweed that you may have missed during your smothering.
How to Get Rid of Chickweed With Chemicals
When all else fails, the only option left is to apply commercial herbicides. You can choose between two types. Chemical pesticides and organic herbicides Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Organic herbicides are generated from natural ingredients rather than synthetic chemicals created in a lab. They have a lower environmental effect than chemical herbicides and pose no threat to pets or children in the home. A good one to use is the Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed Killer.
Chemical insecticides have a rapid kill time and would destroy the chickweed quickly.
However, they pollute the soil, and you won’t be able to produce anything for weeks, if not months, in the region where you sprayed. When it comes to dealing with chickweed, there is almost always a compromise. However, keeping alert and taking safeguards against the development of invasive chickweed in your garden or lawn are the best strategies to eliminate and control this weed.
Best Chickweed Killer Herbicides
Eraser is the finest weed killer for chickweed that I’ve been using since it includes 41 percent Glyphosate as an active component, so I’d recommend this product. Eraser kills the entire plant in days by working its way down through the leaves to the root. Keep in mind that Eraser is a kill-all herbicide since it is non-selective.
Apply Eraser 41 percent as a spot treatment, taking care not to get the agent on any of your preferred plants. An indicator dye, such as Lazer Blue Dye, added with the spray application can help you keep track of where you’re spraying so you don’t spray on the grass you want.
Spot spray the chickweed with a fan tip nozzle sprayer to ensure it is evenly covered.
Because Eraser is a non-selective herbicide that kills anything it comes into contact with, you must use extreme caution if chickweed is present near your target grass. In certain situations, it may be preferable to use a brush to apply the product to the chickweed or to use a piece of cardboard to block the desired grass.
A mixing instructions table with correct quantities for practically every type of sprayer may be found on the label. Before you mix it, double-check it.
Does Vinegar Kill Chickweed?
Yes, it does. Vinegar is one of the most easily available household goods. Vinegar contains acetic acid, but in lower concentrations than commercial vinegar-based herbicides, and it helps suppress invasive plants like chickweed. Horticultural vinegar is the way to go if you want good results. Horticultural vinegar has a larger concentration of acetic acid than white vinegar, making it more effective against weeds.
How to Get Rid of Chickweed in Flower Beds
Pulling as much chickweed out of the ground as possible is the best method to destroy it. Both species have shallow roots that may be readily hoed or pulled out by hand. Because new plants can grow from mouse-ear rootstock, the best way to eliminate chickweed is to remove the entire plant.