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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.

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

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Friday - July 04, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question is, which weed will win? The Horseherb looks very similar to Chickweed! Except the Horseherb has yellow flowers, an no hairy trails? So if I plant the chickweed, will it smother out the Horseherb? Thank you very much for your expertise! ;-)

ANSWER:

I assume that you are referring to Common chickweed (Stellaria media), a non-native introduced from Europe and now widespread throughout the U.S. (There are other less common native plants called chickweed.)  From what I can find out, I believe that Common chickweed will outgrow Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy), also called Horseherb, in early Spring, because Chickweed is a cool season plant.  However, when temperatures rise into the 90's Horseherb will begin rapid growth and out-compete Chickweed. Horseherb is also more drought resistant than Chickweed. Horseherb definitely prevails in Central Texas, where I live, and I expect it will also be true in the Houston area, although you should seldom suffer from drought.

 

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