Botanically known as Stellaria media, chickweed is a very hardy weed that is found invading many lawns and gardens in North America. It has two types of species: Mouse-ear chickweed, which is a low-lying, patchy perennial; and common chickweed, an easy-to-control annual. Many insects live in both types of chickweeds, which is why they carry many plant viruses. This fast-growing pest germinates in any climate and in any type of soil. Depending on personal preference, kill chickweed organically or with chemical herbicides and remove it from your lawn.
How to Kill Chickweed
Watch the plant carefully and pick a time when it is between germination and flowering, before it sets seeds. Wear gloves and begin pulling the weed by hand to expose the soil underneath.
You can also use a hoe as an alternative. Begin at a corner of your lawn and continue pulling until you cover the entire area. Both species come out of the soil easily due to their shallow root systems.
Collect the chickweed in a wheelbarrow, bucket, tarp or plastic bag as you pull it out, and dispose of it far from the lawn, to prevent the seeds from spreading.
Aerate the soil with a shovel or aerator to loosen compacted soil. If using a shovel, make gashes with it that reach at least 3 inches deep into the soil. This will ensure the weed killer reaches the roots to kill the weeds.
Mix weed killer and fertilizer in a bucket and spread over the weeds, or pour herbicide formulated for broad-leafed weeds over the spot.
Water the area until the soil is evenly moist, and continuing watering it at the same time for two to three weeks. Leftover chickweed will begin to die as new grass begins to grow in its place.
Pour an organic herbicide or vinegar directly over the chickweed to kill it organically, as opposed to using chemicals. This is especially important if you have children or pets, or prefer to use an inexpensive alternative. Not only does the vinegar kill the growth, the high acidic levels mixed with the soil prevent it from easily growing there again.
Things You Will Need
- Tarp or wheelbarrow
- Aerator or shovel
- Garden hose
- Pick a cool summer day to work on and make sure the soil is dry. Winds cause chickweed seeds to spread, while moist soils may help plant propagation.
- Glyphosphate herbicide can be used to kill chickweed at root level. But be careful during application as it can kill other nearby plants as well. Pour some in a spray bottle and spray directly over the weeds.
- You can also dust ammonium sulfate over the chickweed early in the morning, when the dew is still on it, to kill it.