Although time-consuming, hand-weeding or carefully hoeing beds and borders can be an effective way to control this weed as long as it is carried out before flowering and seed set, when weeds can also be added to home compost bins. Choose a dry day so disturbed weeds shrivel and die rather than re-rooting.
Alternatively, to prevent germination of weed seeds and smother new seedlings, apply opaque plastic sheeting or a mulch of bulky organic matter, such as woodchips, to beds at a depth of at least 8cm (3in).
In borders and vegetable patches, where the weed occurs after crops have been lifted or on bare ground, contact herbicides containing acetic acid (Weedol Fast Acting Gun!), fatty acids (Bayer Garden Ultrafast) or pelargonic acid (Doff 24/7 Superfast Weedkiller) should easily control this weed. These herbicides are non-selective and so care should be taken whilst spraying near other plants, covering these if needed during spraying with an upturned flowerpot or plastic sheeting.
Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see section 3).
Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers
Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Weeds: non-chemical control