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Chickweed Organic Weed Control

Chickweed
Chickweed flowers
Chickweed flowers

Chickweed is an annual plant that competes vigorously with other plants. It is edible.

Description and Life Cycle:

  • Bright green, mat forming low grower with multiple branches from central crown.
  • Stems 1½ to 3 feet long.
  • Leaves oval and pointed at the tip, smooth and shiny, opposite in pairs on stem.
  • White 1½ inch flowers with 5 split petals that look like 10 petals; blooms in spring.
  • Red-brown seeds with bumpy ridges; sets seed in fall.
  • Reproduces by seed and creeping and rooting stems.
  • Prefers rich soil; tolerate acid soil.
  • Edible.
  • Chickweed cover will slow soil erosion.

Root System: Chickweed has a fibrous, shallow root system. Weeded debris including stem parts or roots left in the garden will re-root and generate new plants.

Organic Control:

  • Hand weed; pull up root and all; best done early in the season.
  • Remove all roots and plant parts from garden; even small root left behind can re-root.
  • Mulch with layer of cardboard or newspaper with bark chips on top to kill plants.
  • Do not allow to spread and cover ground; competes vigorously with other plants.
  • Solarization using clear plastic mulch will heat soil and kill seed, but also may kill beneficial soil microorganisms.

Range: Throughout the United States and southern Canada.

Botanical Name: Stellaria media

Four Quick Ways to Control Weeds:

  1. Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
  2. Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
  3. Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
  4. Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.

 

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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