Let go of catchweed!

Galium aparine L. - weed - 2

Not all new growth in spring is celebrated. Weeds are met with as much disdain as spring flowers with delight. And it always seems weeds grow and spread faster than desirable plants.

While walking through my landscape a couple days ago, I noticed catchweed getting the upper hand in several garden areas.

Botanically named Galium aparine L., it is commonly called a variety of names including bedstraw, catch grass, cleavers, goose grass, grip grass, and scratch grass.

Galium aparine L. - weed - foliage close up

We always called it catchweed because of the tiny, prickly, downward-curving hairs on their stems and leaves that grabbed on and clung to our clothes.

Galium aparine L. - mass

Galium aparine L. quickly colonizes moist, shady areas, forming thick, tangled mats. Long trailing stems scramble over the ground and any plants that get in their way.

Galium aparine L. - weed - wholed foliage

Catchweed is easy to identify by its square stems and the arrangement of six to eight leaves in whorls around stems.

White or light green flowers appear near stems toward the top of the plant from spring to summer. Seeds develop from flowers and scatter. Each plant produces up to 400 seeds that remain viable in the soil for a few years.

Galium aparine L. - weed - in between ajuga and Iris cristata

The best way to control catchweed is to pull plants before they flower and set seed. Reportedly, a layer of mulch should suppress seedlings, but it doesn’t seem to slow it down in my gardens.

Do you have experience with Galium aparine L.? How have you eradicated it from your landscape? I had better get out to the garden and start pulling. Feel free to come along and garden with me!

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