Chickweed season is upon us. This unsightly winter annual often makes quality sod look horrendous. It thrives under cool, wet conditions and usually takes advantage of turf grass that has not yet begun to grow. Once this weed emerges, it spreads out mat like and crowds out existing grass. Although easily killed with low toxic weed controls, it is difficult to eradicate due to its prolific ability to produce seed. Even though the plant rarely survives the mid-Atlantic summer season, early controls are recommended to keep ornamental appeal of turf grass and to keep the plant from going to seed.
Remedies: If infestation is severe, keep turf grass very tall, even with last cutting of the season. Although this can look unsightly, it will provide constant competition and also block the sun from the soil surface, reducing early germination. When infestation occurs, always collect clippings to reduce amount of seed distributed. Low toxic weed controls are very effective in controlling this pest.