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

Sunday - July 27, 2008

From: Blaine, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Plant Identification, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to get rid of plants spreading fluffy seeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Blaine, MN next to a Lake. The "buffer zones" next to the lake are filled with native grasses, weeds & wildflowers. We are trying to identify a plant that blooms July with lavender flowers, approx 3-4 ft tall. The flowers go to seed in August & all kinds of Cottony fluffs, like dandelions fill the air & cover the lawn & lake looking almost like it's snowing. Can you PLEASE tell us what it is? It's not bad until the flowers turn to seed. We'd like to know the best way to get rid of it & plant something else there. Please advise. Thank you.

ANSWER:

From your description I can't tell exactly what you have. It sounds, however, like a member of the Family Asteraceae (Daisy Family). Here are some possibilities that somewhat fit your description:

Lactuca pulchella (showy blue lettuce)

Lactuca biennis (tall blue lettuce)

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (common blue wood aster)

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin's ironweed)

Vernonia fasciculata (prairie ironweed)

Cirsium discolor (field thistle)

Cirsium flodmanii (Flodman's thistle)

Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus (spotted trumpetweed)

Eupatorium purpureum (sweetscented joepyeweed)

Another couple of possibilities from a different family, Family Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family) are Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed) and Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed).

If one of these isn't your plant, we will do our best to identify it if you will send us photos. Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read the instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos.

Whatever it is, however, in order to get rid of the plants, you need to pull them (or dig them) up or cut them down—preferably before they go to seed. Since the seeds are airborne and are likely to persist for more than one year you will have to be persistent about removing new plants because they are likely to come up again for several years.

You can visit our Recommended Species page and click on Minnesota on the map to get a list of commercially available plants native to Minnesota that are recommended for landscaping for possibilites to replace the plants you are removing.


Lactuca tatarica var. pulchella

Symphyotrichum cordifolium

Vernonia baldwinii

Vernonia fasciculata

Cirsium discolor

Cirsium flodmanii

Cirsium muticum

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus

Eupatorium purpureum

Asclepias speciosa

Asclepias syriaca

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Planting Texas Mountain Laurel to transplant to Dallas
August 29, 2012 - My daughter would like to incorporate a tree planting ceremony in her wedding in Texas. The seedling would be planted in a pot for a few years and later transplanted in a yard when they buy a home. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Why so many Sugar Hackberry seedlings in my back yard in The Woodlands, TX?
May 25, 2013 - Why do I have so many Sugar Hackberry seedlings (Celtis Laevigata) sprouting up naturally in my back yard? There are a few Winged Elms in my neighborhood, but no Sugar Hackberry trees that I know of....
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Brick, New Jersey
September 07, 2013 - I live in Brick, New Jersey. I planted some wildflower seed from an assorted packet. There is a very tall, thick center stem with orange flowers. I'd like to send photo but don't know how.
view the full question and answer

Grow bluebonnets in Virginia
September 04, 2007 - I want to ATTEMPT to grow some Texas Bluebonnets in VA because I am homesick and both our kids are back in Austin. That said, the site says " it may be necessary to inoculate the soil with a rhizobiu...
view the full question and answer

Planting bluebonnets
April 20, 2008 - How long do bluebonnet seeds take to mature, and when is the earliest in their development they can be harvested? When can they be scattered?
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