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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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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!

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Monday - March 26, 2007

From: PACIFICA, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Control of Acacia escaping cultivation in California
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

My backyard has been overrun by acacia shrubs. How and what can I do to permanently rid the area of this weed? I hold an agricultural QAL so I have access to herbicides if there are effective ones available beyond RoundUp. I feel the area will need to be power sprayed and naturally I'm concerned about drift so if there is an alternative (like goats?), I'd like to know about it. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

ANSWER:

There are at least 11 Acacia species that occasionally escape cultivation in California. The California Invasive Plant Council has three species of Acacia in its Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Inventory; Acacia dealbata (silver wattle), Acacia melanoxylon (black acacia), and Acacia paradoxa (kangaroothorn). In a backyard situation, Mr. Smarty Plants reccommends using mechanical rather than chemical control. Cut stems just below ground level and hand-pull seedlings before roots are well established. Be aware that cut trees appear resistant to most chemical treatments and often develop new shoots from the crown and possibly roots. Chemicals are most effective during the growing season. Regarding Biological Control (i.e. goats), Mr. Smarty Plants could only find some information about sheep and insects used to control Acacia in Australia. Click here to learn more.
 

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