How did THAT get into my lawn: Bittercress

Bittercress flowers and seed pods

While typically a winter annual weed, the mild winter and early increased temperatures have caused bittercress to invade nearly every lawn in our area.

Dealing with Bittercress

Bittercress is one of the first weeds to pop-up in lawns in the early spring.

A little about Bittercress – Bittercress is a winter annual weed that begins to appear in lawns in very early spring and can quickly spread throughout your lawn. Stems range from 3-9” long and keep most of their leaves in the lower portion of the plant. Most recognizable by its little, white flowers and the small round capsules that appear at the end of each branch. The optimal temperatures for bittercress are 45-85°F making this spring a perfect time for this pesky weed.


Bittercress Plant

How did THAT get into my lawn? – A common name for bittercress is also shot weed for one very specific reason; as the plant matures the seed pods literally burst when touched. This causes the seeds to fly far from the parent plant (up to 10ft) and infest throughout your lawn quickly as the average seed count per plant is 600. These seeds also have almost no germination time. These seeds ripen for production at high temperatures and a plant completes its life cycle in 5-6 weeks.

What can I do?– Seedlings should be killed as quickly as possible and can be easily controlled with post-emergent herbicide. Green Lawn’s Spring weed control applications are crucial in preventing this weed from spreading all summer. Once sprayed by our technicians, plants should begin to die quite quickly. However, with the quick life cycle of this weed and explosive seed cast, you may see new plants occurring in between our applications. If this is the case, we can certainly set up a service call for you. It is important to note that these weeds should not be pulled. This weed can quickly regenerate a new plant from a fragment of root system left in the soil. Our selective herbicide will make sure that these root systems are killed off efficiently. Overtime, this weed can be contained by herbicide as our broadleaf weed control exhausts the seed bank that was released into your lawn.

Read More: Lawn Programs, Spring Application, Spring Lawn Care

Lawn Weed Guide

Lawn Weed Guide

Keep common weeds from invading your beautiful lawn with this guide.