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

Tuesday - January 04, 2005

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Elimination of bermuda grass from St. Augustine lawn
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am so frustrated with the bermuda grass mixed with St. Augustine grass. I have tried Ortho-B-gone but it did not work. Is there any measure to kill the Bermuda grass but not to harm St.Augustine grass? Secondly, is there any web site that show me what kind of plants and flowers can be legally planted in southeast Houston?


The bad news is that bermuda grass is difficult to control and there is no chemical magic that will kill bermuda without harming the St. Augustine as well. One non-chemical measure you can take to encourage the St. Augustine and discourage the bermuda is to set your mower blade level to a high, e.g., 3 -3 1/2 inches. The taller growing St. Augustine will shade the bermuda and will then have an advantage over the bermuda grass which thrives best in the sun. There is an excellent article about St. Augustine grass written by Dr. Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension. Dr. Duble offers some suggestions for control but he agrees that bermuda grass is very difficult to control in St. Augustine. If you have bermuda grass growing in your flower beds, there are chemical ways to control bermuda there without harming plants other than grasses. You can read what a local Houston gardener has to say about controlling bermuda grass.

At the top of the list of illegal plants for Texas is marijuana, (Cannabis sativa). Possession of any amount of this plant, processed or still growing, is punishable by a hefty fine and/or jail sentence--the larger the amount in possession, the greater the punishment! Texas law also lists thirteen illegal aquatic plants that carry a legal penalty for possession. You can download a PDF file about invasive species of Texas and see a list of plant species, as well as animal species, considered by the Union of Concerned Scientists to be invasives. These aren't all necessarily illegal but should be discouraged from cultivation.

More Turf Questions

Grass mixture for Spicewood TX
August 14, 2012 - I want to seed a bare sand limestone area about 2 acres in size. Assuming "normal" Texas hill country weather and the availability of moderate water for sprinkling is there one mixture that you reco...
view the full question and answer

Bermuda grass and St. Augustine for lawn in Hawaii
June 21, 2009 - Is bermuda grass and st.augustine grass a good mixture for my backyard lawn?
view the full question and answer

Replacing a Grass Lawn with Moss
January 02, 2010 - I have a small north facing yard that I would like to change from grass to moss. There is some moss now but still lots of grass. I need to rake a lot of leaves in the fall but want to get away from a ...
view the full question and answer

Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
view the full question and answer

Substitute for Habiturf in Fullerton, CA
March 27, 2015 - Will habiturf grow/thrive in 92835 zip code? I think Im on 10a or 10b hardiness. I have clay soil. Thanks
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center