Chickweed is an annual weed that typically seeds in the fall and can grow vigorously during winter in mild climates. They have stems that usually grow 4 to 12 inches (10.2 to 30.5 cm) long and can reach up to 18 inches. This weed is bright green and can grow in the loose mat on the soil surface. It has a fibrous, shallow root system and the stems can branch profusely from the central crown. This weed bears white flowers that have five split petals and blooms from spring to early winter.
The most common perennial species is known as Mouse-ear chickweed, which can form dense, low-lying patches within lawns and gardens. It can be an unsightly picture and can ruin the beauty of your lawn and garden. It is a hardy plant that can reseed itself and can tolerate high soil acidity. However, it can grow vigorously during cool weather when the soil moisture is high.
Prevention and Control of Chickweed
The best way to control chickweed is to pull or hoe it before they set seed. Since the stems root easily, it should be removed from the garden once pulled. Allow it to dry in the sun before composting them. Applying dense mulches can also help to smoother seedlings.
Herbicides are also available to kill chickweed. Just make sure you read the label as it might also get rid of the desirable plants nearby. Use it sparingly and follow instructions carefully to ensure safety. You can use pre-emergent herbicide during early spring to prevent the seedlings from growing in the first place.
To get rid of chickweed in your lawn area, the best way again is to manually extract them. Pull it from the ground to expose the soil. This soil area should be aerated using a shovel or aerator. You can apply a combination of fertilizer and weed killer over the affected area to completely eradicate the growth of chickweed.
On an interesting note, chickweed is edible. It can be grown and cultivated as crops and be used in place of lettuce in salads.