Scientific Name: Galium aparine
Also known as: Catchweed
Bedstraw is a winter annual. The leaves of bedstraw are formed in whorls containing 6 - 8 leaves around square stems. The leaves are narrow to lanceolate in shape with bristles along the edges. Spines at the base of leaves allow bedstraw to cling to objects. The stems of bedstraw are weak and form mats of plants. The bedstraw flower contains 4 white petals formed on stems originating from leaf axils. Bedstraw spreads by seed. Bedstraw is found throughout North America.
Bedstraw is more of a problem in high-mowed or infrequently mowed areas, such as those found in roughs or along fencerows. It is most competitive in shady environments. It prefers moist soils, high in nutrients and organic matter. Once this annual has died, it turns brown and decomposes very quickly. Regular mowing at lower heights will usually control bedstraw. If bedstraw is growing in a shaded area, thinning out trees is recommended if possible. Bedstraw is fairly easy to remove by hand where only a few weeds are growing.
Make your herbicide application to bedstraw that is young and actively growing.
Weed Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Lambert McCartey. Clemson University. Clemson, SC.