Weed of the Month: Chickweed

chickweedChickweed germinates in late fall and completes its life cycle the following spring and summer, just in time to interfere with planting. Read the latest news on chickweed and find weed management information from Dow AgroSciences field scientist Scott Ditmarsen.

  • Various types: Common1
  • Scientific name: Stellaria media1
  • Grass or broadleaf: Broadleaf
  • Found in: Found in all 50 states — USDA map
  • Germination timing: Chickweed is a winter annual broadleaf weed that typically germinates in the fall, overwinters, flowers and produces seed, completing its life cycle the following spring and summer, says Scott Ditmarsen, field scientist, Dow AgroSciences. With the rise in soil temperatures, the winter annual life cycle of chickweed can extend throughout the spring, summer and fall.
  • Competitiveness: Each plant produces 2,500 to 15,000 seeds.2 Chickweed can form dense mats in the fall and early spring. This causes soils to remain cool and wet, which can interfere with and delay planting. Chickweed also can compete with the crop during germination and early season growth, Ditmarsen says.

Fast facts:

  • A distinguishing characteristic of chickweed is the single lengthwise line of fine white hairs on one side of the stem that alternates sides above and below each node. Stems are prostrate to semi-erect, resulting in a low-growing and horizontally spreading growth pattern. Chickweed flowers are small, with five two-lobed, white petals, giving the appearance of 10 tiny petals, Ditmarsen says.
    • Common chickweed seedlings are light green or yellow-green.2
  • Chickweed is typically more of a problem in reduced or no-till systems and in the central and southern Midwest.

Resistance Statistics:*

According to WeedScience.org:

  • Herbicide classes

*Resistance confirmation does not necessarily include all weeds and may vary among different areas of each state.

Weed management tips:

According to Ditmarsen:

  • Scout fields in early fall to detect chickweed populations and other winter annual weed species, especially in reduced or no-till operations.
  • Control chickweed by late winter or early spring with a fall or spring burndown application.
  • Use a preemergence residual herbicide with a burndown application. A residual herbicide can extend the period of control; however, be sure to check product labels for plant-back intervals and restrictions.

Dow AgroSciences weed control solutions:


SureStart® II herbicide
Keystone® NXT herbicide
Keystone® LA NXT herbicide

FulTime® NXT herbicide
Surpass® NXT herbicide 
Durango® DMA® herbicide
Duramax® herbicide
Enlist Duo™ herbicide, as part of the Enlist™ Weed Control System


Sonic® herbicide
Surveil® herbicide 
Durango® DMA® herbicide
Duramax® herbicide
Enlist Duo™ herbicide, as part of the Enlist™ Weed Control System

Additional information:

More information can be found through these weed science resources:

1U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources and Conservation Service. 2015. Plant Profile: Stellaria media (L.) Vill., common chickweed. http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=STME2
2Wertz, B. A. 2015. Common Chickweed. http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/common-chickweed

®™Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. FulTime NXT, Keystone LA NXT and Keystone NXT are federally Restricted Use Pesticides. Duramax, Durango DMA, Enlist Duo herbicide, FulTime NXT, Keystone LA NXT, Keystone NXT, Sonic, SureStart II, Surpass NXT and Surveil are not registered for sale or use in all states. FulTime NXT, Keystone LA NXT, Keystone NXT, SureStart II and Surpass  NXT are not available for sale, distribution or use in Nassau and Suffolk counties in the state of New York. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions. ©2015 Dow AgroSciences LLC