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
3 ratings

Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Fairfield, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Eradicating non-native pyracantha bushes in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We removed several pyracantha bushes but they keep coming up in other parts of the garden. How do we kill the shoots? Thank you for any help

ANSWER:

Pyracantha coccinea, also called Scarlet Firethorn, is a native of Southern Europe to the Caucasus Mountains in western Asia. Since at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the use and protection of plants native to North America, we do not have this plant in our Native Plant Database. However, we can usually find some websites that will help.

In this case, we have had personal experience with Pyracantha. The common name Scarlet Firethorn is certainly appropriate. More than once, in trying to prune or shape or destroy the plants, we got stabbed with those ferocious thorns. Not only did they hurt like anything, but they appeared to have some sort of venom on their tips that really burned. And when it came time to take them out, that was a problem, too. In fact, years later, preparing a flower bed in the same area, we came across big roots from the pyracantha. Since it propagates by berries, and the berries are usually prolific, and birds like the berries and bring some more in to plant in your yard, the shoots do keep popping up. There really is no quick and easy solution. If you spray them with an herbicide, you risk harming other plants more valuable to you. The first order of business is to rake up and destroy any berries you find, before they can sprout or before a bird can plant them for you. Second, just keep pulling the sprouts out. Other people in your neighborhood probably have the pyracantha bushes, too, so you'll just have to be vigilant.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Lily plants being chewed from Austin
June 20, 2013 - Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of giant ragweed in Austin
October 25, 2008 - How can I get rid of a large field of giant ragweed? Part of the site is a steep slope, which is difficult to mow. I want to encourage native grasses but they are crowded out by the ragweed.
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
October 18, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I thi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive mimosa trees
July 15, 2006 - I have a mimosa tree. The blooms on mine are very pale while I see many other trees with bright blooms. Is there anyway to change the color of the blooms? For instance, is the color due to the PH o...
view the full question and answer

Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
July 30, 2011 - I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear t...
view the full question and answer

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