Answer: There are two species of chickweed, one perennial and one annual. Mouse-ear chickweed is the perennial, which forms a dense, prostrate patch in lawns and gardens. Common chickweed, the annual, is more delicate in appearance, with leaves that are broad at the base and about half an inch long. Common chickweed is easier to control. Both types have shallow roots, so they can often be removed by hoeing or hand-pulling. New plants can grow from broken pieces of mouse-ear rootstock, however, so make sure you remove the entire plant when using either method. A healthy lawn can compete against mouse-ear chickweed if the grass is not mowed too short or too frequently. Watering the lawn deeply and infrequently will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots, which also can help it compete against chickweed. Water once every seven to ten days, and apply enough water so that it soaks six to eight inches into the ground. An herbicide used to control both chickweeds is glyphosphate (Roundup, for example), which moves into the root system, killing the entire plant. However, it also kills desirable plants, including trees, so apply it very carefully, allowing it to come into contact with only those plants you wish to destroy. Whether you choose to remove chickweed manually or to apply an herbicide, do it before the weed has time to go to seed, thereby preventing future problems.
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