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?

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
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 - January 25, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Removing St. Augustine from flower beds
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 now its sprouting out in the mulch bed. How do we get rid of the St. Augustine without killing the new trees and still be able to plant the garden we had planned.

ANSWER:

Pull it out.

Sorry to not have an easier suggestion, but at least it is not bermudagrass. The St. Augustine species is vigorous and spreads rapidly by creeping stolons. Its requirements, other than mild winters, include moist and somewhat fertile soil. It is not as drought tolerant or as cold tolerant as bermudagrass so its inland movement has been restricted to states and countries bordering on coastal zones. Left out in the sun with no water, it will brown and sicken, but you are very kindly providing it with moist, fertile soil and no competition. You can't spray it with a herbicide, because you are trying to raise more desirable plants in the same area. Even spraying with a grass-specific herbicide would likely also take down the zoysia grass. From personal experience, we can tell you that St. Augustine is not particularly bothered by mulch, it's nice and shady and cool and damp under there. Eventually, a stolon will have to pop up for some sunlight, and you need to nab it then, and get as much of it out as possible. And keep doing it.

Now for a word from our sponsor. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to use, propagation and protection of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. All three of the grasses mentioned in the paragraph above are non-native to North America.

From Texas Cooperative Extension, authored by Richard L. Duble: Zoysia, the grass you planted, is a sod-forming, slow-growing perennial with both stolons and rhizomes. It grows from early Spring to late Fall when moisture and nutrient requirements are met. It is native to China, Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia. 

Again from Texas Cooperative Extension, by Richard L. Duble: St. Augustine is native to the West Indies and Africa. It is a coarse-textured stoloniferous species that roots at the nodes. It requires quite a lot of water and can be caused serious damage by several insect pests.

University of California Integrated Pest Management: Pests in Gardens and Landscapes-Bermudagrass: This grass for turf and cattle feed was introduced into this country during Colonial times from Africa or India. With both stolons and rhizomes, it can advance aggressively and virtually climb ornamentals to reach sunshine. It is a particularly noxious weed throughout the South. 

Next time you need to plant grass, consider the natives. Visit our Native Plant Database, and use Narrow Your Search to find grasses native to Texas and suitable to grow in Austin. 

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Evergreen hedge for constant rain
June 24, 2008 - We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
view the full question and answer

Do Salvia coccinea and Salvia occidentalis occur in Hawaii
April 27, 2008 - Aloha, Would you please happen to know if the salvia occidentalis and the salvia coccinea are growing in a wild state in Hawaii, the quantity (small or large areas? What are the weather conditions ...
view the full question and answer

Kudzu for Ft. Lauderdale, FL
July 27, 2010 - I just inherited a piece of land and am very much interested in starting some kind of homeopathic herbs. Can you tell me about Kudzu and where I can purchase some of these seeds?
view the full question and answer

Ridding property of Dichelostemma Firecracker Plant from Cleburne TX
April 11, 2012 - How do we get rid of Dichelostemma-Firecracker plant? It has invaded our yard & we hate it! How do we kill it?
view the full question and answer

Invasive plant in pond in Kenai, AK
May 02, 2009 - We built a pond in our back yard with materials from the beach. Including some plants. Didn't investigate the plants(our mistake). Well now it has taken over all of our landscape. It looks like ext...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center