Treat chickweed now and reseed any bare patches to ensure as much grass grows as possible this spring, says Dr Nicola Perry, weed biology specialist for Corteva Agriscience.
“Chickweed germinates in late winter reaching an early peak in March,” explains Dr Perry. “Its sprawling habit, with long trailing stems and many soft green leaves means it forms a dense mat, which can easily smother the growth of newly sown grasses or swamp established leys.
“With farmers running out of silage at the end of winter, this is the last thing they need.”
Chickweed can grow rapidly in denser shade and is often the first weed challenge of the year. It can be prevalent in more fertile soils and will not grow in acidic conditions.
“The best and quickest way to eradicate chickweed is by spraying with Envy,” suggests Dr Perry. “The combination of fluroxypyr and florasulam allows it to work well at low temperatures and where there are dramatic fluctuations between day and night in the early part of the year.
“It is very safe to young grass and has a stock exclusion period of just seven days. It will kill clover, so where there is a heavy population of chickweed, spray and re-introduce the clover three months later.”
Envy can be used once a year at a rate of 1.5litre/ha in 200 litres of water/ha against chickweed in new sown leys, or 2 litres/ha in 200-400 litres of water in established grassland.