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Virginia Pepperweed: Bitter Seasoning or Turf Pest?

Virginia Pepperweed

Tim Murphy, University of Georgia,

What is Virginia Pepperweed?

Virginia pepperweed is an annual or a biennial that grows throughout the States, especially in sunny areas with dry soil. It produces flowering stems that resemble a bottle brush, having seedlings that grow on long petioles. The stems can grow as high as 20 inches and have rosette leaves along both sides of every leaf. This weed is edible, often used as a substitute for pepper and greens for a salad. However, it's a nuisance weed that can quickly take over commercial landscapes, residential lawns, roadsides and other grassy areas.

How to Get Rid of Virginia Pepperweed

Virginia pepperweed germinates in cool soil and invades undeveloped cool-season grasses. Low moving will prevent the weed from developing seed heads, thus reducing the risk of further development. Postemergent herbicides with triclopyr and clopyralid are useful at eliminating this weed once it emerges. These ingredients are generally safe to use on both cool- and warm-season grasses to treat and to eliminate Virginia pepperweed infestations.