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

Monday - March 09, 2009

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Potential allelopathy of cultivar of Artemisia ludoviciana
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

I recently submitted a question regarding allelopathic potential of artemisia ludoviciana on rusty blackhaw viburnum, not specifying that I meant Vibernum rufidulum. Mr. SP interpreted my viburnum as Viburnum lentago, which is not what I have. Sorry for the confusion. Anyway, I read the USDA fact sheet and it did indicate further down that the cultivar of A. ludoviciana called Summit can be allelopathic. I don't know if I have this cultivar or not, but if so would it affect an established plant or only seedlings?

ANSWER:

Thank you for clarifying your information and giving Mr. Smarty Plants an opportunity to amend the reply. You are correct that the USDA identifies as allelopathic a cultivar of Artemesia ludoviciana called Summit. A comprehensive search of national and international research literature did not yield data to corroborate this information. Only a DNA analysis will identify the correct cutivar of your Artemesia. Mr. Smarty Plants guesses that this would not be an easy or attractive option to you. Chances are the artemesia is not toxic to a well-established plant, but you may be unwilling to take that chance with your two lovely native trees. If that is so, Mr. Smarty Plants suggests removing the Artemisia and planting a different ground cover between your trees. (You could move that Artemisia near something you want to get rid of and see if the Artemisia will do the job for you!)

The point here is that when you are dealing with cultivars and hybrids, you seldom know what the parents of the hybrid are or what their characteristics were. It's unlikely that the vendor who sold you the plant knows, and probably not even the wholesaler who grew the plant in greenhouses and shipped it to your local nursery. Although allelopathy can work through roots, stems or branches, it is most often exhibited in trees shedding their toxins on plants having the audacity to try to grow beneath them. It might kill freshly emerging seedlings, but you probably aren't trying to establish a viburnum forest anyway. 

So, your next question might be, what should replace the Artemesia? Appreciating your commitment to Texas native plants, return to the Native Plant Database. Select location (Texas), habit (grass or herb) and duration (perennial). The requirements for your site will probably be shade and dry for light and soil moisture. Using that information, Mr. Smarty Plants found 9 grasses and 43 herbaceous plants potentially suitable for your site. Good luck!

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

How to eliminate Sawgrass from a small lake in Lindale, TX?
February 23, 2015 - We live on a small acre lake (about 65 acres) and the majority of the lake is surrounded by what the locals are calling saw grass. From the description on the website, I believe they are correct. The...
view the full question and answer

Plants for North Myrtle Beach SC
June 05, 2012 - What plants will do well at North Myrtle Beach, SC that will take full sun with dry soil?
view the full question and answer

Landscaper recommends non-native zoysia in Austin
April 05, 2013 - My landscaper recommends using "zoysia" grass throughout my new lawn, in full shade, partly shaded, and non-shaded areas, including in the gaps between leuder stone walks. I haven't heard about th...
view the full question and answer

Use of hand-held seed spreader from Robstown TX
March 20, 2014 - I am planting native turf grass and prairie grasses as part of a backyard restoration on my 1.6 acre home site. My problem is good seed dispersal for the chaffey grass seeds. Have you have any luck...
view the full question and answer

What is Andropogon saccharoides?
August 06, 2008 - I am reading Roy Bedichek "Adventure with a Texas Naturalist" I came across a reference to sage grass (Andropogan saccharoides)p. 23. I searched the data base and didn't any infromation abou...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center