WSU Extension

Hortsense

Weeds : Chickweed, common and mouseear : Stellaria media, Cerastium fontanum ssp. vulgare
(revision date: 10/18/2016)

Family: Caryophyllaceae
Cycle: Annual, Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Biology
COMMON CHICKWEED reproduces both by seeds and by many creeping stems which can root at the nodes. While the plants can grow upright, they more commonly form prostrate mats. The bright green, hairless leaves are typically rounded, tapering to a point at the tip. Leaves may reach up to one inch or more in length and are in opposite pairs along the stems. Leaf petioles are hairy and may be lacking on upper leaves. Main stems and branches have a conspicuous line of hairs along one side. The 1/4-inch flowers are star-shaped, with five white petals that are deeply notched at the tips. MOUSEEAR CHICKWEED is a perennial plant that can reproduce by seeds and by prostrate stems that root at the nodes to form mats. Overall plant size is usually two to six inches in height with equal or greater spread (plants are typically prostrate). The oblong leaves are opposite on the stems, and both leaves and stems are hairy. Leaves have a distinctive midvein. The small star-shaped flowers have five white petals which are slightly notched at the tips. SPECIAL INFORMATION: Common chickweed grows vigorously in cool weather, producing seeds throughout the winter in mild regions. Mouseear chickweed can be a problem in lawns, where it grows rapidly to fill areas damaged by disease or mechanical injury. Mowing is not effective for control of mouseear chickweed in lawns, as it encourages plants to develop more vigorous prostrate growth.
Habitat
Common and mouseear chickweed are weeds of gardens, fields, new (unestablished) lawns, flower beds, ornamental plantings, and other areas with rich soils. They grow best in cool, moist locations.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition will prevent weed establishment.
  • Hand-pull to eliminate weeds.
  • Apply organic mulches, such as bark, compost, grass clippings, straw, and other materials, in a layer from two to several inches thick for effective weed management.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label directions. Glyphosate products should be used as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • dichlobenil
  • oryzalin
Turf areas
  • products containing MCPP
  • triclopyr
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • triclopyr
Images
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Caption: Common chickweed leaves and flowers
Photo by: R. Parker
Caption: Mouseear chickweed
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Caption: Common chickweed flower
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Common chickweed fruits and stem
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Common chickweed prostrate mat
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Mouseear chickweed opposite leaves
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Caption: Mouseear Chickweed
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Mouseear chickweed
Photo by: T.W. Miller