School IPM Best Practices

Chickweed (Common Chickweed), Stellaria media
Mouse-Ear Chickweed, Cerastium vulgatum


UMass Amherst.

IPM Steps to Reduce Chickweed

1. Sample for Pest

Scouting for chickweed.

Where to find it while inspecting: In turfgrass primarily, and flower beds, along “edges”. Thrives in moist or shaded areas.

2. Proper ID

Is it chickweed?

Size and Appearance: Low-growing, branched stems, 1/2–1 and 1/4" long leaves set opposite, broad and slightly heart shaped, tips are pointed. Flowers appear small and round, white, five deeply cut petal make it look like ten narrow petals. They “close up” before rain storms. While Common chickweed has a fine line of “hairs” down the stem, Mouse-ear chickweed has fuzzy leaves as well. Leaves also tend to “open and close” depending on the weather.

3. Learn the Pest Biology

What is the life cycle of chickweed?

Life Cycle: Winter annual, reproduces by seed and by creeping stems. It flowers in spring and can produce seeds throughout the summer. Germination is in early autumn.

Preferred Habitat: Moist, nutrient rich soil

4. Determine Threshold

Too much chickweed?

Threshold: One plant can reproduce thousands through seed dispersal and runners. Remove promptly.

5. Choose Tactics

Best management practices for chickweed.

Best Management Practices: Maintain proper soil pH: 6.0 to 6.8 (test every 3–5 years). Fertilize at the proper time for turfgrass root development, primarily fall (late spring at times when turf is weak and thin), irrigate if needed, mow at proper height (removing no more than 1/2 of the blade), amend poor soil, choose proper turfgrass seed for your conditions, buy quality seed, overseed thin spots in fall or early spring, remove thatch. If you only have a few chickweed plants, try to remove them by hand when soil is soft after watering or rain.

Treatment Methods: Pesticide treatments for broadleaf weeds may be used for large infestations, preferably in spot treatments but seeds in soil will continue to germinate, so the area will need monitored yearly.

6. Evaluate

Was the tactic successful? Record the date pests were first noted, and the tactic you used, and its success. Use one of our RECORD KEEPING tools.

For More Information:

Penn State Extension: Chickweed


When a pesticide application is necessary, all necessary and required precautions are taken to minimize risk to people and the environment and to minimize risk of pesticide resistance or pest resurgence. Pesticide use in your school may be prohibited or regulated by local policies or state and federal regulations. Risk reduction methods can include, but are not limited to, spot-treatment, the use of gel or paste bait formulations placed in inaccessible locations, injection into a crack or crevice, and other methods that reduce potential exposure.