Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
Baby’s breath is popular in the florist trade and as a garden ornamental. It escaped from cultivation and appeared as an invader of Canada’s native prairie by the mid 1900’s. Today the plant can be found extensively in and around Medicine Hat. It is currently listed as a Noxious weed under Alberta’s Weed Control Act. The current invasion will require the cooperation of all landowners to take steps to control and prevent the dispersal of seed.
Baby’s breath has a bushy, dome-shaped appearance. The leaves are opposite, lance shaped and can be smooth or hairy. The leaves are often not noticeable when the plant is in bloom. During the flowering stage the plant will be covered with clusters of small white flowers.
Prevention and Control
Simply do not grow baby’s breath in your garden. If you are dealing with a small infestation consider digging around the plant and severing the root at least one foot below the soil to ensure re-sprouting will not occur. Place the plants in garbage bags and send to the landfill for disposal. Do not compost baby’s breath. It is possible that the seeds will not be destroyed during the composting process.
If you are dealing with a large infestation, grazing or mechanical mowing can be utilized, however the plants will re-sprout and annual maintenance will be required. Spot application of chemical to targeted plants can effectively control an infestation.
For more information contact Parks & Recreation at 403.529.8333.