Know thine enemy: The weed battles begin

Last summer and fall, I endeavored to learn a bit about the weeds that persist in my garden, to better understand how to combat them effectively.

One of the worst offenders in my garden is hairy bittercress, or Cardamine hirsuta. It is a rapidly growing winter or summer annual, which begins its life innocently enough as a petite rosette of arugula-like leaves. Overnight, apparently, it sends up a flower stalk, pollinates itself, and sets tiny explosive seed capsules that spring open when they are touched, flinging seed (the average plant contains 600, by the way) for what feels like acres. If only I were so resilient.

On the way to the mailbox, I noticed a greenish mat in the midst of a stretch of mud. The knavish fellows are back, unthwarted by polar vortices, uncurbed dogs, and rapacious squirrels.

hairy bittercress cardamine hirsuta weed seedling

But this year, I come to the battle armed with a tiny bit of knowledge (yes, indeed, a dangerous thing!). I know not to turn my back on these wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing of the weed world, or they’ll have propagated themselves before I can say “Well, [redacted].” I’m heading out this minute to pull these impish devils (they come up quite easily). And I shall add a generous helping of mulch in case their evil little siblings are getting ideas.


5 thoughts on “Know thine enemy: The weed battles begin

  1. Yes, with the prolifically seeding weeds, the trick is to recognize them in infancy and remove them before they even think about blooming. Now bindweed (firmly established in the grass on the boulevard in front of my place), is a totally different kind of monster. I keep an eagle eye on it in case it gets ideas about invading my patch.

  2. I bet they’re doing the same thing under the snow in my own garden. I wish I had your optimism in controlling them, mine will surely go to seed before my weeding drive gets into gear.

  3. I dislike this offender too! It came into my garden unannounced, spitting its beebees in my face during a weeding session! I was surprised! So perhaps like you, I should get out there and investigate before spring!

  4. Pingback: Muddy boot realities: February means being patient. | MissingHenryMitchell

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