Weeds 101: Bittercress

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Hairy bittercress

Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is a winter annual with a low-growing basal rosette and stems 3 to 9 inches long. Part of the mustard family, bittercress is prolific and spreads quickly. When plants are disturbed, seeds are expelled and can spread to pots and be transported on the soles of workers’ shoes. To avoid infestation, control bittercress early in the spring before the flowers turn to seed. We recommend Snapshot® specialty herbicide for preemergence control, clearing the way for an ornamental environment that fosters beautiful, thriving plants.

What to look for: Rosette of two to four pairs of round leaflets arranged alternately along the rachis.

Life cycle: Winter annual that germinates in the fall, overwinters, and in early spring sends up stalks of white flowers followed by slender seed pods. After setting seed, the life cycle is complete. Hairy bittercress can have multiple generations per year.

Leaves: Leaf margins are shallowly toothed. Leaves at the base of the plant are larger than those at the top.

Flowers: Small white flowers with four petals in clusters at the end of the stems.

Roots: Taproot

Commonly found: Thrives in wet, disturbed areas, such as containers, greenhouse floors, gravel areas and landscape beds.

Treatment recommendations: Hairy bittercress has a deep taproot, which makes pulling them by hand ineffective. Early control is essential to prevent an infestation. Apply a preemergence herbicide, such as Snapshot® specialty herbicide, in late summer at the time of germination, or immediately after cultivation for control in containers, fields and landscape beds. Snapshot will then help foster the development of beautiful, thriving plants.

State restrictions on the sale and use of Snapshot specialty herbicide apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.


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