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

Eliminating gift plant from flowerbed
June 20, 2010 - A neighbor gave me cuttings of a lush green plant with a blue flower with a yellow center that is only open in morning. It has become very invasive. I cut it back and dug at least 6-12" deep to get t...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing wax myrtle from Daphne laureola in Tofino BC
September 02, 2009 - I am wondering how to distinguish California Wax Myrtle from Daphne Laurel, the latter which I would prefer to eradicate from my property. If it is wax myrtle, it gets to live..
view the full question and answer

Replacement of Arizona ash in Austin
October 28, 2011 - We have two Arizona Ashes in our yard that probably have maybe a decade left in them. We want to get a couple new trees started, so they will be well established once the Ashes are near their end. In ...
view the full question and answer

Removing St. Augustine from flower beds
January 25, 2009 - We just had new landscaping put in at our house. We had planting beds prepped and mulched and had Zoysia sod installed outside the beds. The yard before had small areas of St. Augustine growing and no...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

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