Q:

How do you control chickweed?

A:

Quick Answer

Chickweed is a member of the carnation family that can often be invasive. Control chickweed in the garden by removing it early, using the power of the sun, mulching and using herbicide.

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Full Answer

  1. Remove early

    Successfully manage chickweed by pulling plants before they flower. Each plant has the potential of creating several thousand more seeds if not eliminated early. Monitor the garden for chickweed regularly, as the life cycle from appearance to producing seed is very short.

  2. Use the power of the sun

    Use solarization for larger areas, where weeding by hand is not possible. To solarize, cover the area with sheets of clear plastic. Use rocks to hold the sheets in place. The increased heat caused by the greenhouse effect of the plastic kills the chickweed plants and seeds. Other plants then form a protective canopy over the area to keep chickweed in control.

  3. Add mulch

    Chickweed does not germinate if buried under more than 1/2 inch of soil. Mulch provides the light barrier needed to prevent germination. Organic mulch, landscaping fabric or black plastic all work to prevent germination of the plant.

  4. Use a pre-emergent herbicide

    While you should use other methods whenever possible, pre-emergent herbicides help prevent germination of chickweed. They are particularly effective in lawns where the use of mulch or solarization would kill the turf. Remember, herbicides can damage crops growing near the chickweed. Only resort to a chemical product if the weed has infested large areas of the garden.

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