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Shepherd’s purse has a pretty wide growing season, and it’s a biennial plant that reproduces by seed and spores after soil temperatures fall below 60 degrees (F). Initially, shepherd’s purse grows between 3 to 6 inches long, and the leaves are different depending on the species of plant.

The lower leaves have scattered hairs, but the tops of the plant vary. At the end of this plant’s growth cycle, new gardeners can expect around 50,000 seeds, and these seeds tend to break free from the plant and blow freely across the ground.

There are several different varieties of Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella Bursa-Pastoris):

-Virginia pepperwood

-Field pepperwood

-Field pennycress

Most varieties are winter annuals, have similarly shaped leaves, and produce a ton of seeds. As one of the most common flowering plants, it has a long history of use (for example, soldiers used it for tea during World War I).

Lawn Service Tips

Shepherd’s purse doesn’t have very extensive root systems, so if your grass is in good condition and you regularly perform lawn service, it usually won’t start. When grass is damaged during the summer and doesn’t grow back by the fall, it will grow readily, but it generally won’t grow if sod, flowers, or mulch is present.

Weed Control

Most of the time, you can just water the soil and remove these weeds by hand when the soil is moist because the root systems aren’t that deep. Just make sure that you get the whole root system. Some experienced turf planters use a fork to slip in under the plant, crushing the roots with a sharp hoe.

You should always come back after two days to pull additional plants that may have started growing. After a plant shows flowers, put a plastic bag over the top of it before you pull it from the ground to keep the seeds in the plant.

Use of Herbicides

Unfortunately, most shepherd’s purse are resistant to herbicides, so make sure that the type that you pick has shepherd’s purse on the label.