WSU Extension

Hortsense

Weeds
 
Annual bluegrass 
Barnyardgrass 
Bentgrass, creeping 
Bermudagrass 
Bittercress (Shotweed, Hairy bittercress) 
Bittersweet nightshade (European bittersweet) 
Black medic 
Blackberry (Himalayan, Evergreen, Pacific) 
Blue mustard (Purple mustard, Tenella mustard) 
Brackenfern, western 
Buffalobur 
Bull thistle 
Buttercup, creeping 
Canada thistle 
Catchweed bedstraw (Cleavers) 
Catsear, common (False dandelion) 
Chickweed, common and mouseear 
Clover 
Comfrey 
Crabgrass 
Dandelion 
Dock (Curly, Broadleaf) 
Dodder 
Downy brome (Cheatgrass, Downy chess) 
Dwarf mistletoes 
English daisy (Lawn daisy) 
English ivy 
Field bindweed (Wild morningglory) 
Field pennycress (Fanweed) 
Flixweed 
Foxtail (Green, Yellow, Bristly) 
Garden loosestrife 
Giant hogweed 
Goldenrods 
Groundsel, common 
Hawkweeds 
Hedge bindweed 
Henbit 
Herb Robert (Robert geranium, stinky Bob) 
Horsetails (Scouringrush) 
Horseweed (Marestail) 
Knapweeds 
Knotweeds (Bohemian, Giant, Japanese, Himalayan) 
Kochia 
Lambsquarters, common 
Liverworts 
Mallow, common (Cheeseweed, Buttonweed) 
Nightshades 
Oxalis (Creeping woodsorrel) 
Parrotfeather and Eurasian watermilfoil 
Pineappleweed 
Plantain (Broadleaf, Buckhorn) 
Poison hemlock 
Poison ivy and Poison oak 
Prickly lettuce (China lettuce) 
Prostrate knotweed 
Puncturevine (Tackweed, Goathead) 
Purple deadnettle (Red deadnettle) 
Purple loosestrife (Purple lythrum) 
Purslane, common 
Quackgrass 
Red sorrel (Sheep sorrel) 
Redroot pigweed (Rough pigweed) 
Redstem filaree (Stork's bill, Crane's bill) 
Reed canarygrass 
Russian thistle (Tumbleweed) 
Ryegrass, annual (Italian ryegrass) 
Salsify (Goatsbeard) 
Scotch broom 
Shepherd's-purse 
Smartweeds 
Sowthistle, annual and perennial 
Speedwells 
Spurges (Prostrate spurges) 
St. Johnswort, common (Goatweed, Klamathweed) 
Stinging nettle 
Tansy ragwort 
Tumblemustard (Jim Hill mustard) 
Velvetgrass (Common velvetgrass) 
Velvetleaf 
Water primrose 
Waterhemlock, western 
Yellow nutsedge 



print version| pdf version| email url    
Caption: Western brackenfern fronds
Photo by: R. Parker
  
Weeds : Brackenfern, western : Pteridium aquilinum
(revision date: 9/3/2015)

Family: Dennstaedtiaceae (Polypodiaceae)
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Other

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Biology
Brackenfern grows from creeping rhizomes, which can spread the plant over a large area. The hairy rhizomes are brown and woody. Leaves (fronds) are generally triangular in outline and are more branched near the base. The leaf stalk is velvety brown near the base. New leaves have a "fiddleneck" or coiled appearance as they emerge. The overall appearance is of a feathery, ferny plant growing up to six feet tall in good conditions. Brackenfern spreads by both creeping rhizomes and by spores, which are produced on the underside of the frond segments and are protected by the rolled leaf margin. Fronds turn brown in the fall and may persist through the winter. Special information: Brackenfern is considered toxic, especially to livestock which may be poisoned by grazing the plants or by eating contaminated hay.
Habitat
Brackenfern is found in a variety of sites in sun to partial shade and on soils that range from deep and rich to hard-packed or sandy. It is one of the first plants to colonize logged or cleared areas. It seldom persists in cultivated areas.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Digging and carefully removing all rhizomes will effectively eliminate single plants and small infestations.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Not a problem in healthy established turf. Chemical (herbicidal) control of this weed is very difficult. Persistent physical destruction is the most successful management method for brackenfern. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
Turf areas
    Bare ground areas
    • glyphosate
    Images

    + Show larger images

     
    Caption: Western brackenfern fronds
    Photo by: R. Parker
    Caption: Western brackenfern "fiddlenecks"
    Photo by: C.R. Foss
    Caption: Western brackenfern fronds late in growth season
    Photo by: J.A. Kropf