Due to our extreme winter weather and a wet cool spring, we’ve heard and seen more outbreaks of chickweed in turf than we have in probably six or seven years. Chickweed leaves are opposite, egg-shaped and pointed at the apex. It has a small star-shaped white flower. Chickweed will grow to a height of 3 – 7 inches. A couple of things to keep in mind with regards to common chickweed:
• First it is a winter annual. It will likely die off as warmer temperatures arrive especially from areas that are not moist and shaded.
• Grows in areas of poor turf density.
• Has a short fibrous root system.
Like most forms of weed control in an organic lawn improving turf density is critical to controlling common chickweed. Once the sunny warm weather appears common chickweed is going to die off leaving bare ground for the next weed to appear. At this time of the season the best recommendation would be to seed slice those areas where there is chickweed as soon as possible. Because of chickweed’s poorly developed root system the act of seed slicing should take care of the existing root system.
Also check those areas where you over-seeded early this season. Again, due to the cooler wetter spring we experienced this year the soil temperature may not have reached the ideal range 60⁰ + to get the cool season grasses to germinate as such it may warrant putting down additional seed to save yourself headaches later this season.