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?


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 - September 07, 2008

From: Rapid City, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Invasive, non-native Cirsium arvense in Michigan
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have identified that I have growing abundantly "Canada Thistle";the noxious and invasive. I know this to be true because where it grows nothing else grows; not even the native weeds. I want to get rid of it!!!!! Can you direct me as to how I may do this? I have tried pulling it out before it seeds; burning it and cutting it down and it always seems to return in a vengeance!!


We do sympathize, that is one nasty weed. However, there is no magic formula for getting rid of it. Refer to this Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group paper on Cirsium arvense for some  information on the plant. As a non-native plant, it doesn't fall into our ordinary realm of experience at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but as an invasive, we are certainly interested in controlling it. The plant is native to temperate regions of Eurasia, and was introduced to North America, probably accidentally, in the 1600's. Another resource is this University of California at Davis website on Canada Thistle, with instructions on identification and control. We neither recommend for nor against use of pesticides, and urge you to use them with caution, following the directions carefully. One of the points that site made is that it can be more damaging in cooler parts of North America, which would include Michigan. We wish you well in exterminating a really bad pest.  


More Non-Natives Questions

Death of lantana in Bryan TX
March 28, 2013 - I would like to know what killed several new gold lantana in a single bed that died over the winter. They looked quite healthy last fall. I have several other new gold lantana that survived the wint...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate for eucalyptus in Florida
September 21, 2006 - How fast does eucalyptus grow in Florida?
view the full question and answer

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Death of non-native eleaegnus from Austin
March 30, 2013 - We have a long hedge of elaeagnus, about 5 ft tall. Four of them died in the middle of the hedge. Where can we find such big plants? Is it advisable to unroot and transplant from another area?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center