I have a steep hill backyard with heavy clay soil, springs, and tall maple trees (Norway, unfotunately). I tried to terrace it and grow things, without a lot of luck, but I have a few things planted. Every year, weeds blow in. This year, it is chickweed. Much of the ground is covered with moss, with chickweed EVERYWHERE – of course, in plantings, in moss, in soil, alongside rocks, etc. There is huge amount.
I am thinking of using an herbicide, but don’t want to poison the soil. In particular, I have lily of the valley, hosta, and sweet woodruff. The last seems most similar to chickweed in its roots. Luckily, it is in circumscribed areas. The whole area is shaded. Asters also are growing through the moss (I pull them out or mow them). I’ve also thought of putting down weed mat, 3-4 inches of FRESH wood chips, then newspaper and more weed mat, but this is difficult with the plantings.
So, any sprays or dustings that won’t poison the soil? Also, under what conditions (sun, shade, wet, dry, hot, cool) is it best to do this? The chickweed has flowered, so yesterday would be good. I think spring is good for chemical application, am I right?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Unfortunately, your best bet may be hand pulling the weed if it's mixed in with your other plants, as I cannot think of any herbicide right off that would not kill them as well. You could try spot treating it with Round-up while using some type of shield to cover up your other plants. For more information on killling chickweed, this article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/weeds/how-to-kill-chickweed-best-way-to-kill-chickweed.htm