Can anyone identify this small, sticky weed? The tips stick by the hundreds to shoes, socks, pets, or anything that goes through it. My back yard got a small patch of it about a year or two ago, and now the entire back yard is practically covered with it!

If anyone can recommend a weed killer that will control this menace, I would appreciate it.

Close-up of weed Close-up of flower Weed with context

  • Can you add another picture which shows the foliage of the plant please?
    – Bamboo
    Mar 28 '19 at 23:57
  • @Bamboo I added another picture to better show the (practically microscopic) flower of the weed. But there is no other foliage -- what I show in the top picture is pretty much the entire above-ground portion of the plant. It's very small, but it's so pervasive that it's almost choked out my whole yard.
    – Haydentech
    Mar 29 '19 at 14:37
  • I'm not sure what this plant is - I thought maybe Galium aparene (common name sticky willy) but that does have a bit of foliage and the flowers only have 4 petals....
    – Bamboo
    Mar 29 '19 at 19:39
  • @Bamboo: this is a caryophyllaceae. But not one on my flora. @ Haydentech: where did you find such flower? Mar 29 '19 at 20:08
  • @Haydentech - can you add a photo showing a patch of this plant actually in situ - it might (or might not) help...
    – Bamboo
    Mar 29 '19 at 20:25

Okay I will argue for Drymaria cordata, known as "Tropical chickweed." It is very closely related to Stellaria and Cerastium; Brisbane Australia City Council has a go at teasing these apart; see the bottom of their document in the section "Similar species". Arguments in favour of Drymaria are the small leaves and relatively hairless stems, but most importantly it is a weed in St Augustine grass which makes it a tropical pest as opposed to temperate. Note that while all appear to have 10 petals in fact they all have 5 which are deeply lobed.

  • You were spot on. Thanks!
    – RichardW11
    Dec 22 '19 at 14:49
  • That page has the only pictures I've ever seen that somewhat accurately match what I have. Mine never seem to grow the big leaves at any point in the year, but the picture of the younger stage is practically identical to what I have.
    – Haydentech
    Dec 23 '19 at 15:39

I think that's chickweed (Stellaria media). It's an annual, so the best way to kill it is to hand-pull it before it sets seed. This is always easier said than done because there is always a ton of it in the lawn before you really notice it. An herbicide is relatively useless with chickweed, though, because although it may kill the plant, it will kill the plant only after its seeds have been spread throughout your lawn. Next year, you may be able to use an herbicide if you spot-spray it onto the plants as soon as you see them in the spring. This year, it's already too late for that.

Hand-pulling is always a multi-year task, unfortunately.

  • There's a better solution than hand pulling. Get some hens. It's called "chickweed" for a reason! They will search and destroy every last seed.
    – alephzero
    Mar 29 '19 at 0:32
  • Well, it looks like chickens are legal in the OP's area, so that might work. Chickens aren't for everyone though - I personally do not like dealing with them (this is thanks to a friend who raises chickens for eggs and whose chickens I've been around enough times to know better). Darn little dinosaurs...
    – Jurp
    Mar 29 '19 at 2:14
  • Stellaria media is almost harmless. It growth slow. It doesn't make much competition on water and nutrients. And easy to remove by hand: it expand a lot horizontally, but without roots (but on main section). Mar 29 '19 at 7:55
  • 1
    In any case, to me it doesn't seem a Stellaria media (lack of leaves), long steam. I think it is one of the similar plants: Cerastium and company. Mar 29 '19 at 7:56
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    @Jurp what about using chickens to kill it? Mar 29 '19 at 17:24

Let me just say, I have chickens and they get coated in these, just like my dogs do. Actually kind of funny seeing their whole heads coated with them like a helmet. Long story short, I have chickens and I have tons of this weed in my back yard. So get your backyard chickens for the eggs, not for these weeds. :-)

  • Hello Peggy. Thank you for contributing. Do you have a name you call this plant? common names are fine. And take a moment to take a tour of the site gardening.stackexchange.com/tour
    – GardenGems
    Jan 3 '20 at 7:35

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