Chickweed is an annual winter plant that invades lawns and gardens. Its life cycle follows fall germination with a winter and spring growing season. In the summer, chickweed dies but not before self-sowing so its offspring can sprout in autumn. Insects and viruses also use this weed as a host and may transfer to other plants causing them harm. Because of chickweed’s high seed production, it takes diligence to completely eradicate it.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Gardening gloves
- Weeding tool
- Clear plastic mulch
- Organic amendment
- Pre-emergent herbicide
- Post-emergence herbicide
Hand-pull the chickweed and use a weeding tool or a trowel to reach into the ground to remove the roots. This step gets rid of the current plant only. Future plants will continue to germinate unless you get rid of the seeds.
Borrow or start raising chickens if the bird is allowed where you live. Chickweed seeds are a favourite food of chickens, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program. The animals’ pecking eliminates weed reproduction in your yard naturally.
Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch, such as wood chips, to uncultivated areas of your garden to choke weed seedlings.
Cover uncultivated areas with clear plastic mulch to heat up the soil. The high temperature kills seeds and plants.
Nourish your lawn with organic nutrients, such as a layer of compost or manure applied once a year. The healthier the grass, the harder it will be for chickweed to establish itself, says the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide as a last resort, as the chemicals pose health risks. A wide variety exists, including Benefin and Prodiamine, but not all are safe for food crops. Apply pre-emergent herbicide before the seeds germinate.
Apply a post-emergence herbicide as a last resort, as the chemicals pose health risks. Use it directly on seedlings as they sprout. Among the options are Diquat and Dicamba.
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