Chickweed in lawn

silver8ackApril 4, 2012

So I renovated my 4k sq ft backyard last fall. I've been trying to abstain from any chemicals, other than an initial roundup before laying topsoil and seeding last fall. I did experiment with some EcoSense in a few spots.

Anyway, I have a relatively large chickweed invasion. I tried pulling some out with a thatch rake and it seemed to thin it out, but I'm not sure if it just allowed the chickweed to grow better also.

The grass is growing pretty well in most of these areas so I guess my question is... Will this chickweed die in the summer? What should be my plan of attack? I am currently doing an overseed here too to thicken it up even more. but the frequent watering is probably bad for the chickweed.

So should I keep trying to pull it out? Or just let it go through summer and overseed in fall again? I'm in south jersey and we can get some pretty hot stretches.

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Chickweed is a cool weather annual that germinates mostly from January through May. The most effective method of control is hand removal before the plants get very large since when big small bits and pieces and fall off and they will reroot and grow some more. In the lawn, growing a thick turf will help more because that will shade the soil where the seeds would germinate so they can't.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Chickweed

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 7:28AM
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clinda62(z9 TX)

Eat it! God put everything on earth for a purpose!
Check out these websites for edible weeds. Have fun...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:58PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

>"Eat it! God put everything on earth for a purpose!
Check out these websites for edible weeds. Have fun..."


Do let us know how that works out for you and the family!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:04AM
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I had a nice chickweed and balsamic vinaigrette salad tonight.


I should just stick the the 'other' website.

So I understand the 'best' method is to pull the crap out before it seeds or grows. That's easy to understand. But I wouldn't have made a post if I had small tiny chickweeds that I could pluck out. I have a small invasion.

So my question....Will it actually die and recede in the summer heat? Or will it continue to grow until it gets hot, go dormant, etc and never let the grass grow??? Will this crap die and allow a fall overseed to fill these spots in better or what? It's past the easy to pull out non seeding part.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:21PM
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1. Chickweeds can, and do, produce very large amounts of seeds that will germinate in almost any soil. Spraying something to "eliminate" Chickweed therefore is usually a large waste of your time, energy, and money.
2. Chickweeds can and do root from stems touching soil, so when cleaning up due care is needed to be sure no part of the plant falls onto the soil because that bit of the plant can root and grow.
3. Chickweeds are usually plants that grow best in cooler weather, however, they can and do grow in hot weather.
4. Birds like Chickweed seeds and drop them all over your lawn all day long so there will always be new seeds to germinate even if you plucked everyone from your soil, yesterday.
No one, no matter what their ads try to tell you, sells a product that will eliminate any "weed" from your lawn for months on end.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 7:42AM
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I appreciate your dedication to being organic but you rarely give any actionable advice.

I suppose the only thing I'd be able to do, and be organic is rip everything out, replace with new topsoil and start over?

Anyway. I dropped the Triclopyr bomb today. May the organic gods forgive me. I look forward to the chickweed dying and my lawn thickening up in place.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:00PM
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You could rip out what is there and lay down new "topsoil", what ever that is, which more than likely has thousands of chickweed seeds in it. Or birds could fly over that newly laid "topsoil" or sod and drop new seeds that will germinate and grow and cause you to tear out even more hair. Or you can accept that you will have these "weeds" growing in your lawn and hand pull them as soon as you see them and save money by not purchasing poisons that will not solve the problem except in the very short term and will need to be used again and again.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 7:37AM
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I actually disagree with the again and again part.

What makes you think that my using a chemical one or three times that I plan on using them over and over?

Last year my lawn was 100% weeds. This year most of my lawn is a thick carpet of grass. I plan on killing bad weed invasions and replacing with thick grass. But like I said, this is past the pulling phase. With the warm winter this year everything came sooner and me being a novice had no idea what this was until a few weeks ago. I strive to be organic with fertilization and eventually would like to cut out herbicides, but you snobby stuck up, judgemental people make me want to dump paint down the sewer.

That's probably why this forum is so slow. People get sick of trying to move to organic and getting pelted with judgments when we mention an herbicide.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:36AM
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I hand pick 3/4 if the backyard now. So that's 3,000 sq ft that don't get herbicides any more. Maybe that's a good thing, I don't know.

They should change the name of this forum from Organic Lawn Care to "Let it all go to hell and call it organic"

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Silver, pesky chickweed is, as you know, a winter annual. They do pretty much languish in the heat of the summer, leaving behind a gazillion seeds that will germinate next winter.

The types of grasses grown in northern climates also struggle in the heat.

If you're smart, you'll take a solid IPM approach on the control of this weed. Review your lawn care practices to insure that you're growing a healthy, thick, vigorous lawn. I've learned that most people (you might be the exception) don't fully understand how important mowing height, mowing frequency, sharp blades, watering duration and frequency, and fertilization practices ALL are to the healthy lawn. The routines of maintenance are taken for granted, but they can be critically important. Truthfully, as annoying as Kimmsr can be sometimes, he's right that the first defense tactic is a healthy lawn.

Then, you'll learn that pre-emergent herbicides can pretty much end your annual cycle with this particular weed, or at least reduce the infestation substantially. The timing of the application is important, of course, and you can never rely on a calender date. Typically, your pre-emergent would be put out in the late fall or early winter.

Any that crop up in the winter can just be hand pulled. In a couple of years, if your cultural routine is top notch, your pre-emergent application is careful and well-timed, I daresay you'll not be enjoying any chickweed salad anymore, lol.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:09PM
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When someone comes to an organic forum and then writes about using materials that are not organic they should not get all hetup about being told those practices are unaccepatble to an organic gardener/farmer. If someone is going to use synthetic plant poisons and writes about that on an organic gardening forum they should expect to be told they are poisoning the earth.
Chickweed is very easy to control organically, if one understands how and why it grows.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 7:41AM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

see.. there needs to be a new sub-forum called "organic most of the time, but don't make me bust out the chems"

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 9:03AM
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So, back to my original question. I asked for help eradicating this CURRENT INFESTATION organically.

Instead of receiving an answer, I was told I need a thicker lawn, and pull the stuff out before it grows. Well I'm past that point.

I renovated last fall, and looking back at pictures, I do see this germinating in them. At the time I did not know what it was and assumed winter would kill it. I was we had an extremely warm winter.

So here I was with a ton of chickweed on my newly renovated lawn.

And I get told to get a thicker lawn, or go back in time and pull the stuff out.


By the way kimmsr, this is not an "Organic ONLY Lawn Care Forum". So get off your freakin high horse. I never see people in the "EVIL REGULAR LAWN CARE FORUM" chastising people for being organic and not using chemicals. So please... I understand what you say, and yes I do have a better understanding of chickweed now. But that didn't help me get rid of it a little bit.

I don't WANT to use chemicals. But guess what, I did. And now only 2 weeks after applying the stuff, the chickweed is barely there, and the grass is getting very thick.

I tried to understand the lifecycle of chickweed to see if it would die off in the summer and allow my grass to thicken in the fall. Instead I was told to pull it out before it grows or get a thick lawn. So thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Forgive me if this is obvious, but I cant' figure out why people want to eradicate chickweed? My aunt and I share a house and she loathes it, while I think it's pretty and nicely breaks up the monolawn look of grass (though I convinced her to mix in clover seed and she likes that...) Is it something that dies back and leaves bald spots? I know there's another weed she's mentioned that does that--I can't keep them straight, because I can't get a handle on what's a weed and what isn't -- as far as I can tell the only difference is "stuff I want" vs "stuff I didn't plant"? Correct me if I'm wrong...THANKS!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:05PM
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suburbiamama, it grows over the top of my St Augustine and smothers it out. It is also ugly in my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 4:29PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Regular use of corn gluten will over several years eliminate the seeds from germinating. Hand pulling helps the whole thing too.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 6:27AM
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