How to get rid of wood lice in the garden, and why it appears again and again

4 min read

Woodlouse – also known as chickweed, or heart grass – is a small annual herbaceous plant of the Clove family. It is shade-tolerant and unpretentious – small white flowers – “stars” of wood lice appear throughout the warm season, starting in May, and in a flowering state the plant even goes under the snow.

Why do gardeners dislike this crumb so much and try to lime it in every possible way?

Woodlouse – description and lifestyle

In nature, it is quite possible to meet wood lice in shaded, damp places like the banks of ravines or damp forest glades. However, most of all, this plant loves to settle near a person – it lives in landfills, under fences, near houses and, which is especially annoying for summer residents, in the garden.

Despite the fact that this plant is low and inconspicuous, with tiny leaves and thin stems, it is a real malicious weed, which is very difficult to get rid of.

The fact is that the wood lice gives a huge amount of seeds – from one plant there can be 5-15 thousand of them! These seeds are perfectly preserved under the snow and remain viable for up to five years. In addition, chickweed reproduces well vegetatively – by rooting creeping branched stems, which from each node give new shoots and roots. Thus, the plant develops from early spring until frost, giving 2-3-4 generations over the summer and quickly covering your site with a dense “cheerful” green carpet interspersed with white flowers, depriving cultivated plants of nutrition and moisture, worsening the condition of the soil and giving shelter to numerous pests.

In nature, in a dense grass cover, the woodlice cannot compete with powerful perennials, but the beds with loose, moist soil and sparse planting of vegetables are very to her taste. This is especially true in the spring and the habitats of garden crops that are slowly emerging.

And also, as we already wrote, this plant is extremely shade-tolerant, adapted to both cross- and self-pollination, frost-resistant and unpretentious – why not an ideal weed?

How to deal with wood lice in the beds

Beds filled with starflower indicate fertile and well-moistened soil, but insufficient permeability, strong compaction and poor drainage, and also, possibly, acidification of the site. Therefore, first of all, if you want to get rid of wood lice, you need to try to influence the condition of the soil in the garden.

If the soil in the beds is too acidic, it needs to be neutralized – this, by the way, will only benefit most garden crops. This must be done with the help of so-called deoxidizing agents – wood ash, chalk, slaked lime (fluff), dolomite flour. The application rates of such lime-containing preparations depend on the composition of the soil and the level of its acidity and are calculated individually each time. The most “strong” deoxidizers are applied only in the spring after the snow melts or in the fall for digging, because. they can harm vegetative plants – such agents include, for example, fluff. Other substances like ash or dolomite act more gently – they can be applied to the soil all year round.

Also, some green manure can help to gently deoxidize the soil – phacelia, white mustard, sweet clover and alfalfa. With proper crop rotation, you can even do without the use of minerals on the site.

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If the soil in your beds is constantly waterlogged, you should think about building a drainage system on the site – a high level of groundwater and regular flooding will benefit few garden and garden crops.

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As a preventive measure for the appearance of wood lice on the site, it can be advised to observe crop rotation, weed the plantings in time, do not forget to loosen the ground as deeply as possible (to deepen the seeds of wood lice) or use mulch (on the beds – grass or straw, in the aisles – black film), do not give empty beds (in place of an early harvest, you can plant other fast-growing crops or green manure ) .

If you already have thickets of wood lice, you will have to look for effective measures to control the weed.

For starters, you can try to weed out the starfish. This should be done regularly and carefully, while we must not forget that it easily propagates even with pieces of stems, therefore, after weeding with a pitchfork, you need to lift and sift the soil so as not to leave even small parts of the weed in it. Not in one weeding and not even in a week, but over time you will be able to significantly reduce the number of weeds. Of course, it’s not worth leaving the weeded greens of stellate scattered around the site; it’s better to send it to the compost heap.

As the most serious means of combating wood lice, if it cannot be removed from the site by any other means, use permitted herbicides – Zencor Ultra, Lazurit , Fighter, Clorit (spraying vegetative weeds before sowing crops, 2-5 days before emergence of crops or autumn post-harvest period).

The pesticides Roundup , Tornado and Hurricane , recommended in many sources for these purposes , are prohibited for use in private household plots due to their high toxicity!

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The benefits and uses of wood lice

Interestingly, this malicious weed can actually be used to good use – if you know about its properties.

Remember the story about “you just don’t know how to cook them”? So, starfish can really be successfully used in cooking. The above-ground green part of the plant (where there is a lot of ascorbic acid and carotene, as well as a rich composition of minerals) is added raw when preparing salads, and when boiled, it is used instead of spinach in vinaigrettes or soups, served as a seasoning for second courses.

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Chickweed can also be fed to poultry (chickens, geese) and animals (pigs, rabbits). In the UK, this plant, by the way, is called chicken weed.

Even in folk medicine, woodlice are used as a high-vitamin plant that stimulates the heart and metabolism, has a tonic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, soothing, diuretic, hemostatic and wound healing effect.

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And starflower, even despite the inconspicuousness of the flowers for the human eye, is a good honey plant – because of the long flowering.

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