Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense L.)

Life Cycle:

Perennial. Flowers bloom in late-spring to early summer, forming yellow berries containing seeds that shrivel in the fall. The aboveground plant tissue dies back after a frost.


Seeds germinate well within 1-inch of the soil surface. Very few plants emerge from seeds at depths of 4-inches or greater. Two-thirds of roots (6-inches long) buried 18-inches below the soil surface can produce new shoots; emergence decreases at greater depths.�


Mode(s) of Reproduction: Reproduces by seed and vegetative reproduction of new shoots from creeping roots.

Dispersal Mechanisms: The berries, with seeds inside, are eaten by animals and then deposited. Berries that are not eaten drop to the ground.

Longevity: Under laboratory conditions seeds remain viable for at least 7 years.

Dormancy: Some of the seeds of horsenettle are dormant at the time of dispersal in the fall. This dormancy is broken by the following spring. 


Horsenettle established for one year prior to planting snapbeans reduced yields by 18 to 20%. As the length of establishment increased so did yield reduction, with yields reductions of 48 to 65% in snapbeans competing with three year old horsenettle plants. Horsenettle has also been shown to reduce yields in peanut by up to 40%. In addition to being a good competitor with crops, horsenettle is poisonous to livestock.

Preferred Soil/Field Conditions:

Can grow in a variety of soil types, though it prefers a sandy or gravelly textured substrate.



Predation/grazing: No information.

Decay: No information.


Tillage: Tillage at any depth can increase the spread of horsenettle.

Rotary Hoeing: Not effective.

Flaming: Not effective.

Mowing: Mowing early in the season encourages horsenettle growth; mowing later in the season decreases growth.


Crop rotation: No information.

Planting date: Most likely will not affect horsenettle infestations.


Application timing and effectiveness: Very few herbicides are effective at controlling horsenettle. Sequential herbicide applications are necessary for control.