Weed Identification, 2017 Series, Common Chickweed

picture of weed

Mark Renz UW Madison Associate Professor and Extension Specialist (mrenz@wisc.edu), Chelsea Zegler UW Madison Associate Research Specialist (zegler@wisc.edu)

Introducing a new Weed ID series of factsheets

With everyone gearing up for the field season we thought it would be good to periodically review identification for some of Wisconsin’s common and not so common weed species.  While identification isn’t always fun, it is a critical component to management and it is widely thought that our ability to identify weeds has declined over the past several decades.

Therefore we are creating a weed identification series to improve this skill.  This series will review key characteristics, including images, of relevant weeds that are currently emerging in Wisconsin. Feel free to use this to help you or your staff with weed identification.  We have formatted this so it is easily posted in a breakroom or emailed to colleagues. You could even use it to test your staff during meetings (just don’t tell them it was my idea)!

Below is the first of what we hope are ten installments. Expect a new weed factsheet every 1-2 weeks. We will post notices in the crop manager and have downloads on the IPCM website, as they become available. If you have suggestions on weed species to include don’t hesitate to contact either of us.


Common Chickweed


We decided to start the series with this species as populations have been expanding over the past 3 years in numerous fields throughout Wisconsin. We attribute this to two factors

  1. The last two falls have been significantly warmer and longer than average. This has allowed for fall germination and survival of this winter annual (as well as other winter annuals species).
  2. This plant also has the ability to act as a summer annual if enough spring/summer precipitation occurs before the canopy of the crop closes. Many parts of Wisconsin have met these criteria over the past several years as we have witnessed the expansion of this plant in many environments (agriculture, horticultural, natural areas) throughout southern Wisconsin.

Enjoy this first species and be looking for a new species every 1-2 weeks….


picture of weed