Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - August 13, 2008

From: Portland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Getting rid of King Ranch bluestem
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have recently moved to South Texas Coastal town of Portland, Texas. My St. Augestine turf grass has been invaded by - what the neighbors tell me - King Ranch Blue Stem grass. I am having a terrible time trying to pull - dig or whatever to rid myself of this horrible "running" - "take-over" grass. Can you help? How can I rid myself of it? Thanks

ANSWER:

You are not the first person to ask us about this problem. The unpleasant truth is that it isn't easy to get rid of. You can't apply herbicide since the same herbicide will kill your St. Augustine. For large fields that have been invaded by KR, tilling and prescribed burning are the most effective methods; but this isn't something you are likely to want to do in your lawn. What you are doing—pulling and digging it up—is the most effective way for ridding a lawn of it. Also, keep the lawn mowed to keep seed heads from forming and ripening. If it has pretty well taken over your entire lawn, you might try using solarization to kill everything (including the St. Augustine) and start over with the St. Augustine or, better yet, a native lawn. If only a portion of your lawn has the infestation, you could solarize that part and let the St. Augustine move back in once the KR is dead. You will have to be both vigilant and diligent to keep the KR from establishing itself again.

Please see the answer to a previous question for an extended discussion about elimination of King Ranch (KR) bluestem.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Skunk cabbage from Amsterdam NY
May 02, 2012 - Will skunk cabbage grow under a mobile home and cause odor?
view the full question and answer

Planting time for non-natives in Irving TX
February 07, 2012 - Have dwarf nandinas and two lorapetalums that I want to transplant. Can I do it now February 6th 2012?
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers to choke out invasive species in Virginia
June 08, 2015 - My yard has open woods and dappled light with clay soil. Thirty years ago we removed huge briars and since English Ivy was getting in by itself, we thought we would let it come; unfortunately, it not ...
view the full question and answer

Sandbur invasion in Mission TX
June 08, 2011 - I have a spiny sandbur invasion in my yard. Even the dog tiptoes around to do her business. Because I live in Mission, TX, this weed acts like a perennial and is constantly growing (no winter freezes...
view the full question and answer

Oxalis crassipes identification
July 23, 2007 - I'm trying to identify a plant that has appeared in several containers on my balcony. The largest plant is about a foot tall, with triangular leaves, small white flowers with yellow centers, and has...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.