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

Monday - November 05, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Help for restoring landscape to indigenous native plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have inherited some acres in Robertson County (Texas) which is about 40 miles north of Bryan/College Station. I would like to restore the landscape to the indigenous native plants without just letting the greenbriar, poison ivy, and yaupon take it over. Are there any government agencies that help with this? Also, can you recommend books or other resources that would be useful? Thank you.


Here are several resources for technical and informational aid for your project, and, perhaps for costsharing and property tax exemption as well.

1. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has several Land-Related Publications that could help with your project (e.g., "Natural Resource Conservation Programs and Services for Texas Landowners" which lists state and federal programs that offer technical aid).

2. You can get informational help from the Texas Cooperative Extension Service in the form of booklets about control of brush and other unwanted plants. You might also make contact with the Robertson County Extension Office and talk with them about what you want to do with your property. They might know of people in the area who have done similar things and have practical suggestions for you.

3. Your proposal to restore your property to indigenous native plants might qualify it for wildlife management tax exemption. Native plants supply food and shelter for wildlife and should qualify as at least two of the activities required to obtain wildlife management tax exemption for your property. In the Tax Code (Section 23.51 (7)), you can pick "(E) providing supplemental supplies of food", "(F) providing shelters" and possibly "(A) habitat control" as the three ways, of the seven listed, to qualify for Property Tax Exemption for Wildlife Management. The hitch in this, though, is that "the property must have been qualified and appraised as agricultural land during the year before the year the owner changes to Wildlife Management Use." If you do qualify for applying for wildlife management exemption, you can contact the wildlife biologists in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Post Oak Wildlife District, which includes Robertson County, for possible assistance in preparing your wildlife management plan.

4. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that "offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land" for conservation projects. You can check on available projects for Texas that offer cost sharing in Robertson County.

5. Steve Whisenant's "Repairing Damaged Wildlands: a Process-Oriented, Landscape-Scale Approach". 1999. Cambridge University Press, is recommended. It is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon and other bookstores. It should also be available in larger city or university libraries.


More Invasive Plants Questions

Dietes bicolor invasive from Brisbane Australia
April 01, 2013 - We have dietes bicolor growing in our garden. I am changing the type of garden and cannot seem to kill it. I've dugged it out, spent too many weekends pulling out every new shoot, used poison, but t...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating dogbane from transplanted milkweed in Franklin Lakes NJ
May 10, 2010 - We transplanted milkweed from the wild into our garden. Included in the clump of milkweed was dogbane. We weren't aware of how invasive dogbane is. We've has some success in digging it out but we'...
view the full question and answer

When should I plant bermuda grass seeds?
February 10, 2010 - When should I plant bermuda grass seeds?
view the full question and answer

Non-native zoysia and bermuda grasses in Austin
July 11, 2013 - We have Bermuda grass in the front and Zoysia in the back yards. The back grass is fine but the front yard Bermuda isn't. We have watered once each week during the spring and during the past 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Invasive phragmites from New Egypt NJ
July 30, 2011 - I have some wetland near a road. It has been taken over by phragmites. How is the best way to remove these grasses and add some diversity to this area. The area in question is approx. 100 by 30 feet.
view the full question and answer

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