En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 20, 2004

From: Elberon, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Solarization and hand-pulling to remove invasive weeds
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff


We are planting a field of native grasses, and prepared the landscape by solarization last July. However it now seems that the weeds returned with great vigor. Is there any other method to get rid of the weeds without using chemicals?


The answer to your inquiry lies in patience. You have practiced responsible preventative maintenance by providing solarization. Some 'weed' species may persist the first or second year of site preparation, and you may have to rely on herbicidal 'spot treatment' to exclude these aggresive species. Mowing at appropriate heights is one method of mechanical maintenance. Mowing before the weeds set flower or seed reduces the chances for seed dispersal. Vigilance with hand pulling unwanted species is also key, as well as continuing to increase ecologically appropriate species populations. With steady work, you should be able to see more positive results by the third or fourth year post-installation. Click here to review an article on Wildflower Meadow Gardening, which provides detailed information reviewing methods for developing a healthy native plant landscape.

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Type of clumping bamboo for outdoor planters from Plano TX
March 25, 2014 - What type of clumping bamboo can be grown outdoors in planters in Dallas,TX?
view the full question and answer

Comments on previous answer on non-native invasives from Raleigh NC
March 27, 2014 - https://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=7827 This answer is incorrect. Please have someone review it to remove the two invasive species you are encouraging people to plant by calling them nati...
view the full question and answer

Pathway material for Kerrville, TX
May 30, 2009 - I have removed the St Augustine, expanded a perennial bed of mostly natives and created a pathway along the new bed. Can you recommend a plant to use as a pathway? It should require low water, be hea...
view the full question and answer

Can Habiturf™ be hydromulched?
July 28, 2014 - Our lawn was originally planted with "Weeping Love Grass" seed by hydromulching. After 7 years we still have some bare spots. Other types of grass have infiltrated the lawn and that does not matter...
view the full question and answer

Grass for detention pond in Illinois
October 06, 2008 - Hi, please advise regarding grass for bottom of detention pond. I have pond with drawdown time 4 days, what grass could survive being underwater 4 days, and not die? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center