En EspaŅol

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

Friday - August 20, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Managing Roadsides
Title: Non-invasive alternatives to winter rye
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff


Re-vegetation requirements include winter rye, which is considered by some to be invasive to native wildflowers planted along the roadway. Is winter rye considered invasive to native wildflowers?


Perrenial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne; introduced cool-season perennial bunchgrass) & related Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), are effective competitors for native vegetation as they temporarily produce a dense turf coverage, & are also effective at re-seeding after flowering in the early Spring, providing propagules that emerge the following late Fall providing problems with persistance. It is because of its "success" providing a quick cover that it is utilized in re-vegetation mixes along roadsides and areas requiring control for erosion. There are 3 species that would be a better choice for consideration in seedling mixtures, 2 native to the Continental U.S., all cool-season grasses, cassock or open type bunching grasses and not providing problems associated with persistance. Canada Wild Ryegrass ( Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) perennial native), Virginia Ryegrass (Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) perennial native), and Cereal Ryegrass (Secale cereale; annual non-native). I recommend contacting your state Department of Transportation office to find out more about their roadside management programs.

More Managing Roadsides Questions

Identification of blue wildflower on roadsides in Massachusetts
July 28, 2012 - What is the blue wildflower planted on roadsides and highways in Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

Can a fallen tree in Texas have pieces of it removed from Winona TX
October 20, 2012 - I was wondering if you could tell me if a tree has fallen down, is it legal for me to go and cut pieces off of it in the state of Texas. And if you happen not to know could you tell me who I would con...
view the full question and answer

Winter snow and road salt in Michigan
June 27, 2010 - I have been asked to select plants for an area in zone5/6 that suffers from snow load and street salt during winters. The area is about 15x18 and has a deciduous tree in the center. Grass, which did ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers being mowed in Canyon TX
June 03, 2012 - Can I receive a letter from someone there to put up in our neighborhood? I live in an area very close to Palo Duro Canyon. A developer out here mows down the wildflowers along the one lane road. It ...
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for street trees for Texarkana TX
July 23, 2013 - Texarkana, TX, is going to replace a few and add some new street trees downtown. The engineers specified crape myrtle. When I asked if they would consider native trees instead, I was told they thought...
view the full question and answer

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