Identification and management of hairy bittercress in greenhouses

Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta L.) is an important weed species of container nurseries and greenhouse operations. It is an annual or biennial, dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Brassicaceae. It is native to the areas of Europe and Asia but has established itself worldwide. It has been introduced throughout many parts of the United States. Cardamine hirsuta is known by different common names such as hairy bittercress, spring cress, lamb’s cress, winter bittercress, hairy cress, flick weed, wood cress, popping cress.

It is a winter weed but may appear throughout the year in greenhouses because of favorable growing conditions and continuous irrigation availability. In addition to its common weediness, hairy bittercress is also known to be a host of many nursery insects such as mites and whiteflies and various pathogens of nursery plants. In this alert, growers will learn how to identify and manage hairy bittercress in their greenhouses.

Hairy bittercress occurs in a wide range of habitats such as, bare land, grasslands, woodlands, forests, croplands, wastelands, roadsides and in garden areas. It is able to grow in pieces of debris scattered over weed fabric in greenhouses, which helps spreading seeds to several feet, and infesting nearby containers. It proliferates well in partial to full sunlight, in moist fertile loamy or sandy soil in moderate temperatures, and when moisture availability is abundant. Hairy bittercress can also grow inside greenhouse conditions  in nursery pots and growing media as well.

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