Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum) is a cool-season perennial, with a creeping, spreading, mat-forming growth habit. It's a lawn weed that can be found throughout the United states. The presence of this weed can be an indicator of moist, compact soils and it likes sunny spots.
It has a low spreading growth habit. A shallow root root system. And it tolerates drought, wear and low mowing, making it a competitive weed in lawns.
Mouse-ear chickweed, like common chickweed, is edible. It has a spinach-like taste when cooked and is loaded with vitamins.
Like many weeds, chickweed is a heavy seeder that can produce from 10,000 to 15,000 seeds per plant.
|Dense chickweed mat in a lawn|
Image courtesy of USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Frequent, shallow watering will favor the growth of chickweed over your lawn grass. Encourage deep roots -- and help your lawn out-compete shallow rooted weeds -- by giving it a good, deep soaking two or three times a week.
This is an easy weed to pull. The shallow roots come up
easily. However, be sure to remove as much of the roots as possible because it
can re-sprout from a small piece.
Pre-emergence herbicides can be applied in the fall to keep weed seeds from sprouting.
Spray broadleaf herbicides in the fall when weeds are actively
growing and they are young. Another good reason to control chickweed in
the fall is they flower and then produce seeds in the spring. Use a
combination product that contains dicamba. 2,4-D alone is does not work
on this weed.
Small leaves that are arranged opposite along the stem. They look like green, hairy mouse ears are 3/4 to 1 ½ inches long and about ½ inch wide. The hairs give the leaves a grey-green color.
The stems are hairy, spreading and root at the nodes where they touch the soil.
The tiny white flowers appear in the spring. The flowers have five deeply lobed petals - like common chickweed - that look like ten petals.
Roots are shallow and fibrous...easy to pull.
Home & Garden Information Center, Clemson Cooperative extension: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/tyk/2009/tyk11.html
USDA-NRCS Plants Database: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CERAS&photoID=ceras_001_ahp.tif
SHOOTS AND GREENS OF EARLY SPRING
in Northeastern North America, Steve Brill: http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Chickweed.html