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We seem to have these all over our yard. They cropped up a year or two ago and we don't know what they are or how to get rid of them! When you walk through them, they spray seeds everywhere. They're roughly 6 inches tall. Please help! Jackie

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We seem to have these all over our yard. They cropped up a year or two ago and we don't know what they are or how to get rid of them! When you walk through them, they spray seeds everywhere. They're roughly 6 inches tall. Please help! Jackie This has been a popular question this week from a number of readers. What you have is a weed called "Shotweed", Cardamine hirsute, which also goes by a number of other common names: Hairy Bittercress, Western Bittercress, Pepperweed, Popweed and Snapweed. It is a broadleaf plant that came from Europe and is a member of the mustard family that grows in almost any place its seeds happen to land. It's a cute little thing that has tiny white flowers on flower stalks that can grow up to 17" tall and blooms in March and April. But that's where the cuteness ends. Shotweed has thin, slender, 1-2" seed pods that are called siliques. The seed pods actually dry on the plant and when you brush against them or attempt to pull out the weed, they explosively burst sending seeds flying in all directions. Shotweed is considered an early germinating fall/winter annual, meaning the seeds germinate in the fall and the tiny Shotweed plants are green throughout the winter months.

The best way to remove this weed is to pull it out in the fall when you first see it, before it flowers and goes to seed in the spring. Mulching will discourage seed germination and ground covers will help hinder its proliferation. It's easy to pull out, but realistically, you'll probably never get it all. Good luck!

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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