New weed in our garden in Silver Spring

Asked March 22, 2020, 2:49 PM EDT

Hello, I hope everyone at the Extension Service is well. This year our yard has been alarmingly taken over by a weed that is in the lawn, in the established planting beds, and especially on an area of our yard that has no plantings at present because the space got disturbed when we added new hardscape in the fall and we haven't installed new groundcover yet. It has rather pretty little leaves and it has tiny white flowers. As it grows, it takes on a grass-like appearance. Can you help me identify this weed and tell me what conditions might have caused it to flourish? How can we beat it back? I can dig up individual plugs of course; but if there's a better way (short of poisonous weedkillers) I would love to get your advice. Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

Hello. This is called hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta). It is an annual weed that thrives in the cool spring weather. Eventually the plants die down when the weather gets warm, but they are notorious for their effective seed dispersal prior then! It tends to show up in bare spots or where lawn is mowed too short. Here is our webpage about this plant and how to manage it in a lawn, https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/hairy-bittercress

In addition, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a good article that goes into further detail about hairy bittercress, https://www.bbg.org/news/weed_of_the_month_hairy_bittercress

Christa

Hello Christa,
Thank you so much for this informative response. It is definitely thriving in bare spots. I will look at the Extension's webpage and also the Brooklyn Botanic Garden article.

Thank you again. I really appreciate your replying to my query.