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

Controlling KR Bluestem
February 11, 2016 - How can I control KR Bluestem in my 55 acre coastal bermuda hayfield? The field has a Farm Road along one side planted in KR, and now the hayfield is about 25 - 30% KR. Summer burn is fairly dangerous...
view the full question and answer

Invasive non-native mulberry and groundcover in Jacksonville FL
October 02, 2011 - Northeast Florida (Jacksonville) inland. My mulberry tree provides dense shade in the summer and filtered light the other seasons, leaving sand in its growing area. What fast growing ground cover woul...
view the full question and answer

Should the herbicide Ornamec 170 be used on unwanted grasses?
March 15, 2012 - I have a lovely wildflower garden in a field behind my house; unfortunately, the wildflowers are being smothered by grasses. I understand that Ornamec 170 can be used to control grasses in wildflower...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of bulbs to control Arrowhead aquatic plant
August 29, 2006 - How can I kill Arrowhead permanently? I have sprayed repeated years with Roundup, Crossbow, etc., but the arrowhead comes back from the bulb the next year!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 02, 2011 - I have a plant that I would like to identify. It is a tall shrub/woody vine? (approx. 8-10 feet) that has very large thorns on its branches and stems. The stems remain green during winter. It loses it...
view the full question and answer

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