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Red Deer County News

Posted on: August 8, 2019

Creeping Bellflower

Bellflower (Matt Lavin-Flickr.com)

Creeping Bellflower

Creeping Bellflower is a perennial invader from Europe. Commonly found in flower beds and gardens. This weed can reproduce by both seed and creeping rhizomes and the roots are known to grow through lawns, beneath fences and underneath sidewalks. It grows well in a variety of soil types and light conditions and is somewhat drought tolerant.

Identification

  • Stems are erect, often purplish, smooth to hairy, and grow to 1 meter or greater.
  • Leaves are alternately arranged on the stem, heart-shaped and coarsely toothed on the edges.
  • The flowers develop mainly along one side of the stem. They are light purple, have five connected petals and drooping in orientation.
  • The seeds are small, light brown and have wings. Numerous seeds are contained in a single round capsule.

Prevention

  • Do not purchase wildflower seed mixes that do not list their contents, as creeping bellower is often in wildflower mixes.
  • May be available at nurseries or garden centers. Do not purchase and plant.
  • Often found at old homestead. Do not uproot and move to a new location.

Control

  • Grazing – grazing is not a weed control option as this weed is likely unpalatable and will not be utilized by the animals.
  • Cultivation – repeated tillage may control an infestation. However, poorly timed or a single tillage could lead to an increase in the size of the infestation due to the fragmented root pieces sprouting into new plants.
  • Mechanical – hand-pulling or dead-heading is an option for control as it prevents seed production. However, because of its creeping perennial root system the plant will regrow. Digging out the root system can be effective, but continuous effort over multiple years will be require to eradicate an infestation. Mowing also prevents seed production, but mowing must be done several times over the growing season and may never completely eradicate an infestation.
  • Chemical – currently no selective herbicide is registered for use on creeping bellflower.
  • Biological – no research to date.

If you suspect you have creeping bellflower on your property and would like it identified Red Deer County Weed Inspectors would be happy to come out and ID it for you. If you have any further questions, please contact Tori Adolf, Red Deer County Agricultural Technician, at 403-350-2162 or tadolf@rdcounty.ca.

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