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Yellow Rocket (Barbarea vulgaris)

Crop Impacts: Hayfields

Yellow Rocket 1


About Yellow Rocket:

Typically Yellow Rockets are a perennial weed, but some plants release seeds and die after their first and last growing season. Under the Ontario Weed Act, Yellow Rockets is considered a noxious weed, meaning that the plant can be harmful to the environment and animals.

Family: Mustard family (Cruciferae)

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Yellow Rocket Scouting and Prevention:

Yellow Rocket can have 1 or many stems per plant that start to form in the spring and grow an erect 20 to 80 cm tall. The leaves on a younger Yellow Rocket are dark green, shiny and smooth for the first year. Throughout the winter a mature plants leaves are green and may begin to turn slightly purple in the spring. They are hairless, long-stocked, have one-rounded terminal lobe with many smaller lobes along both sides of the leaf. Yellow rocket weeds produce golden-yellow flowers which are about 10 to 16 mm across and bloom from mid-May to the beginning of July.

Common locations

  • - Moist, rich soil
  • - Pastures
  • - Along watercourses
  • - Hayfields

Yellow Rocket Control:

Cultural Control

The best thing to do if Yellow Rockets is a problem in your hayfields and pastures is to do your first hay harvest early enough in the year before Yellow Rockets has time to mature and release seeds. However, if your hayfield is heavily infested, it would be best to rotate to a cultivated crop like soybeans or corn for a few years. In the late summer or early fall, disking or harrowing can be done to induce seed germination; the next spring you should plow these same fields to destroy the seedlings. That being said, if you are doing fall disking on a field that has a slope greater than 3%, it will cause the soil to erode over the winter months. If this is the case for your fields, wait until the spring to do your disking and plowing.

Chemical Control

Post-emergent herbicide applied after Yellow Rockets germination period in the fall is the most effective time to manage the weeds due to the fact that they are actively growing and young. There are many herbicides that work for broad-leafed weeds that negatively affect Yellow Rockets. The herbicide you choose is dependent on the crops you have planted and other weeds that may also be infested in the same fields. Herbicides with 2,4-D in it can only be used for top growth control.

Latin / Alternative Yellow Rocket names:

  • - Barbarea vulgaris
  • - Herb Barbara
  • - Herb of St. Barbara
  • - Winter cress
  • - Barbarée vulgaire
  • - Herbe de Sainte-Barbe
  • - Cresson d'hiver

Additional Yellow Rocket Resources