My cousin and I were talking on the phone recently about a weed that is a real nuisance in her yard and surrounding yards – in the grass and in the gardens, and that even though she spends hours taking care of her share, it’s not something all the neighbors are even aware of. And that is a problem because……
the seeds spread by bursting in summer – and they don’t care where they land or who’s yard it is! If you’ve ever tried pulling out a bittercress that has gone to seed, you hear a popping noise and the seedheads explode immediately. As soon as my cousin mentioned this weed, I told her I knew of a weed that sounded like the same one I have dealt with so we looked online and discovered the name for our wild weed – hairy bittercress.
A few early springs ago one of my neighbors pointed this weed out to me in her lawn and she was pulling it out by hand. I noticed a few in my yard and found that they were very easy to pull out, thank goodness. The weed shows up in early spring but I read that it is a winter and spring annual and on a walk yesterday I came across a large patch of it (detail above) in someone else’s garden several blocks away. I knew that a nice seed burst had happened in this mulched area last summer because plenty of babies showed up during our mild winter weather. And not only that, these rosettes were already sprouting the little white flowers that eventually rise on stalks in summer and turn into the dangerous seedpods (photo below.)
The rosettes are actually sort of pretty – the leaves look like watercress and if you know to pull these weeds out early enough in the spring, or before the flowers turn to seed, you can somewhat keep on top of it. Mowing the flower stalks (as long as they are still flowering) works too if they are in the lawn.
Hairy bittercress – your days of popping and exploding are numbered – at least in my yard.