How to Control Chickweed

Chickweed - The problem is spreading...

Chickweed has adapted to survive in a number of different situations. It is a constant headache for gardeners, farmers and paddock owners alike who find it a resilient weed that soon dominates a grass sward by filling in the gaps in turf.

Biology & Growth Habits:

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) is characterised by a low growing habit and produces numerous flowers over a long period before distributing the seeds widely via birds, human traffic and the spreading of animal manures.

Cool temperatures are no barrier to chickweed growth with seed germination continuing down to 3 ℃. 

Plants can set seed all year round, producing at least 1,300 seeds per plant and it only takes five-six weeks from germination to shedding seed.  Individual plants can produce four to five generations per year.  Chickweed grows best in rich, frequently cultivated or turned soils such as allotments but also thrives in grazed paddocks and amenity turf and lawns.

Paddocks / Grassland:

Chickweed often indicates a rich or well fertilised field – prefering high potash and high nitrogen levels that may also indicate low phosphorous levels.

Mowing or topping does not help control chickweed and may even promote growth by reducing tall, competitive shading plants and nitrogen-rich grass clippings feeding the soil.

Chickweed left to grow out of control can reduce grazed grass production, hay or silage production by up to 25%.

Treatment / Chickweed Control:

Continued spraying with a mecoprop-P or a sulfonyurea product may cause some herbicide resistance issues concerning the control of chickweed.

Manual hoeing should be done only in dry conditions because a plant can re-root if left on wet soil. Be careful pulling up plants – even seeds not fully formed can still mature & germinate if left lying around.

Spraying can be done with a total herbicide or with a selective weedkiller to avoid killing grass in paddocks, lawns, etc

Products to consider to control Common Chickweed are:

SELECTIVE weed killer:

TOTAL weed killer:

Adding an adjuvant to a Roundup product or Gallup Biograde such as Validate or Biosyl can increase the efficacy of these products.

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