Hairy bittercrest, weed, Cardimine hirsuta garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest

Hairy Bittercress Weed (Cardamine hirsuta)

 There’s a pretty little rosette of lacey leaves proliferating in garden beds all around the world.
Hairy bittercrest, weed, Cardimine hirsuta flexuosa garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

 

Their delicate white flowers are some of the earliest of our spring display.   In a blink, they transform into a tall spindle of seed pods.  Even when I gently brush against them they explode like fireworks casting their spell across the warming spring soil.  Fortunately, I wear glasses.  The little missiles splatter my face but they don’t blind me.  I flinch in surprise every time.

Hairy bittercrest, weed, Cardimine hirsuta flexuosa garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

In just a couple of weeks, the ground will magically transform into a carpet of them happily intent on world domination.

In an unfamiliar garden, it makes sense to let all plants grow until you identify them or they show their intent.  Then decide their fates.

Even before I knew their true ID, I called them pop weed & decided they were not welcome to take over the flower beds I was creating.  So began the battle…

Now I know these little monsters are named Hairy Bittercrest (aka Cardimine hirsuta).  They’re annuals – seed factories.  The best defense is easy –
NEVER LET THEM GO TO SEED!

Hairy bittercrest, weed, Cardimine hirsuta flexuosa garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The straightforward action might be to get out there & weed like crazy.

  • Yes, that helps + it’s good anti-Seasonal-Affects- Disorder therapy.
  • Yes, it removes the offending seed creator, but many of last year’s seeds are still on the ground getting ready to sprout … just more weeding for tomorrow!
  • AND pulling out the weed stirs up the soil as far down as its roots went.  That brings up the weed seeds from years gone by… even more weeding for tomorrow and the day after that!

There’s a better way.

Hairy bittercrest, weed, Cardimine hirsuta flexuosa garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Mulching.

Each winter I lay down 2-4 inches of fish mulch.
Yup.
2 to 4 inches.
It buries any seeds so deep they won’t get enough light to start growing.
Easy-peasy.
If you’ve already mulched, the problem’s solved before it’s even begun.     🙂

-30-

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