How to Kill Cheeseweed or Common Mallow With Ground Cover


Both little mallow and common mallow are called cheeseweed due to the cheese-wheel look of the fruit that the plants produce. Cheeseweed produces seeds with a hard coating that most herbicides cannot easily penetrate to kill. Because of this, herbicides are not an effective solution for long-term control of cheeseweed. Instead, some gardeners and home owners choose to control cheeseweed by planting a thick ground cover.

Step 1

Spray mallow plants with a systemic herbicide containing glyphosate before the plants have the opportunity to produce seed. Glyphostate will kill mallow plants, but will not kill mallow seed. Wait two to four weeks before planting cover crop after using glyphosate. The herbicide will not leave harmful residue in the soil, according to Colorado State University.

Step 2

Turn cheeseweed under the soil of a yard or garden plot with a rototiller to kill the plants before the plants can produce fruit and spread seed. Smooth out the plot of land with a landscaping rake before planting.

Step 3

Plant a low-growing ground cover for your yard and legume or cereal crop for your garden with a broadcast seed spreader to suppress the growth of the mallow plants. Ground covers such as yarrow or creeping thyme, legumes such as soybeans and cereal crops such as barley, oats, mustard or rye prevent light from reaching the soil of your plot of land so that mallow seeds there cannot germinate sprout and grow.

Step 4

Remove mallow plants by hand pulling them until cover crop plants can establish themselves. Hand-pulling cheeseweed will prevent it from crowding out your cover crop before the plants can take root and thrive.

Step 5

Mulch your garden or yard with a thick layer of black bark mulch once your cover crop becomes established. A thick layer of much will block light from reaching mallow seeds to stop the weeds from germinating.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothing when working with an herbicide including long pants, a long sleeved shirt, gloves, close-toed shoes and breathing protection. Always shower immediately after using herbicide to wash away any residue that may linger on your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Systemic herbicide containing glyphosate
  • Rototiller
  • Landcaping rake
  • Seed spreader
  • Ryegrass
  • Rye seed
  • Oat seed
  • Barley seed
  • Soybean seed
  • Mustard seed
  • Black bark mulch


  • Washington State University: Common Mallow
  • University of Massachusetts: Common Mallow
  • NC State University: Ground Cover
  • Colorado State University: Xeriscaping: Ground Cover Plants

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University Extension: Weed Management in the Home Garden
Keywords: killing cheeseweed, cultivating a garden, mallow weed problems

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."