Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 07, 2014

From: Albuquerque, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Eliminating silverleaf nightshade from Albuquerque NM
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have silverleaf nightshade in my yard and would like to eradicate it (yeah, I know, good luck!) or at least control it. Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Well, having followed this link, Solanum elaeagnifolium (Silverleaf nightshade),  to our webpage on the plant, we sure can't blame you for wanting to get rid of the plant. Poisonous, agressive, with stinging hairs, it just doesn't seem to have any redeeming features, does it?  

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Solanum elaeagnifolium (Silverleaf nightshade) grows natively in a large portion of mid and western America, including Bernalillo County in New Mexico. From the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board:

"How does it reproduce?

Silverleaf nightshade reproduces by seed, rhizomes and root fragments.

How do I control it?

Mechanical Control

Hand-pull or dig plants, being careful to get all of the rootstock and dispose of the plants properly in the trash. Plants can re-grow after being clipped or mowed.

Herbicide Control

Silverleaf nightshade is difficult to control with herbicide because of its root system. Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator."

So, let's pretend this is poison ivy. We are going to quote directly from a previous answer and all you need to do is replace the words "poison ivy" with "silverleaf nightshade" each time you see them. The first supply you need is a pair of heavy-duty rubber gloves - these will protect your hands and lower arms from the poison and can be washed off before you allow the toxic fluids to follow you into the house. The next thing to do is never to let the flowers survive long enough to set seed, since this plant can reproduce just about every way a plant can reproduce. Take the whole flower, put it in a plastic trash bag and send it to the dump. Now, on to the mechanics of getting rid of the rest of the stuff:

"Vigilance and persistence are the keys.  If you can dig or pull up the roots of the plants, you are going to be able to get rid of the plants more quickly.   That will take a great deal of effort and you might not be able or willing to do this.  If you can't or don't want to make the effort to try and dig up roots, your best strategy is the following: 

  • Every time you see a new poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac plant emerge in your yard, cut it off near the ground and IMMEDIATELY (using a small paintbrush--the small foam ones work well) paint the cut with the poison ivy Roundup or equivalent.  (Clorox is not likely to be particulary effective.)   You need to paint it as soon as you cut it because, as a means of defense against disease or insect infestation, plant cells close off wounds quickly and the herbicide won't be transferred to the roots.
  • Wrap the cutoff portion in a plastic bag and dispose of it.
  • Keep careful watch for new plants and act when you see them.  It will take a while, but it will eventually rid your yard of the poisonous pests.

Remember to read and follow the safety precautions listed on the label of the herbicide.   Wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes, socks and gloves to keep from getting the poisonous oils on your skin.

Please check the answer to a previous question about eliminating poison ivy with more detailed instructions as well as methods to avoid."

Good luck and our deepest sympathy!

 

From the Image Gallery


Silverleaf nightshade
Solanum elaeagnifolium

Silverleaf nightshade
Solanum elaeagnifolium

Silverleaf nightshade
Solanum elaeagnifolium

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Privacy screen from Simpsonville SC
May 04, 2013 - My neighbor cut down his part of our shared woods so now we see his whole "outside patio area". What kinds of fast growing shade loving trees and shrubs can we plant on our property line that will c...
view the full question and answer

Availability of Heliotropium angiospermum from Austin
April 01, 2014 - I have admired the Wildflower Center's Heliotropium angiospermum (Scorpian's Tail) for the great number of butterflies it attracts. I would really love to purchase one on these plants, but don't se...
view the full question and answer

Native perennials for Ft. Worth TX
March 17, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I have two large planters around the back side of my saltwater pool where there is no decking. (sloped landscape) 8'long x 3' wide. I need low growing perennial plants that will ...
view the full question and answer

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

Speed of growth on plants from Plant Sale from Austin
April 28, 2012 - Hello, I recently attended the native plant sale and bought several plants for a sunny curbside bed in central Austin. Due to financial constraints I stuck with the 3 inch varieties so I could buy 3 ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.