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?

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
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

Tuesday - October 16, 2007

From: Havasu Lake, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Landscaping in the Southern California desert.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are located in southern California in Lake Havasu. I'm trying to landscape sloping areas. I have arrow weeds (Pluchea sericea) and want to get rid of them permanently. How can I achieve this or what other plant can I use that requires low maintenance?

ANSWER:

You don't say how many (5? 100?) plants of Pluchea sericea (arrowweed) that you have and their size (they can grow as tall as 16 feet). However, your best bet, no matter how many you have or how large they are, is to cut them off and dig out the roots if you want to be rid of them permanently. Even then you will need to watch for seedlings and dig or pull them out as well. If digging out all the roots is too daunting, you might try cutting them off as close to the ground as possible and continue cutting off any new sprouts. If you are persistent in doing this, you might eventually kill them—at least you won't have their tall presence.

Here are some plants suited to your desert landscape that should work in the area in question.  I have included large (shrubs or small trees) and small (herbaceous perennials and annuals) plants.

You can search in our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries and seed companies specializing in native plants in your area.

Acacia greggii var. wrightii (catclaw acacia)

Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush)

Artemisia ludoviciana (white sagebrush)

Ephedra trifurca (longleaf jointfir)

Psorothamnus fremontii var. fremontii (Fremont's dalea)

Purshia stansburiana (Stansbury cliffrose)

Yucca baccata (banana yucca)

Yucca schidigera (Mojave yucca)

Sphaeralcea ambigua (desert globemallow)

Lupinus sparsiflorus (Mojave lupine)

Geraea canescens (hairy desertsunflower)

Abronia villosa (desert sand verbena)

Erysimum capitatum (sanddune wallflower)

Ericameria nauseosa ssp. nauseosa var. nauseosa (rubber rabbitbrush)

Eriogonum ovalifolium (cushion buckwheat)

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Plants to replace Polygonum cuspidatum ( Japanese knotweed)
August 10, 2013 - I live in a heavily wooed area of Chippewa Falls, WI. Our property is covered with Giant Japanese Knot Weed. We have been trying to get rid of it for years. We are finally going to try using the dr...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
July 12, 2013 - I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive carrot wood tree losing leaves in Alpine CA
April 22, 2014 - My carrot wood tree is losing all of its leaves. The tree is about 15foot high & 13 years old. Could it be gophers? The tree was trimmed 1 year ago.
view the full question and answer

What about Asian Jasmine and scrub oaks?
September 01, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have several clusters of native scrub oaks in my yard. I planted Asian jasmine under them many years ago. The trees look fine, but an arborist has told me that the Asian ...
view the full question and answer

Source for seeds of Mexican primrose from Dallas
April 25, 2013 - Can I purchase Mexican Evening Primrose seeds now for planting in the fall or do I need to wait for the fresh crop of seeds that will be gathered from this spring flowering. How can I be assured the ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center