En Español

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

Tuesday - March 17, 2009

From: Ramsey, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Getting rid of sandburs in horse pasture in Minnesota
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do I get rid of sandburs in my horse pasture?

ANSWER:

Lest you think you are the only one blessed with this noxious weed, please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer.  You didn't say what was in your horse pasture, but we are assuming it is grass of some sort. The problem with any kind of chemical control is that Cenchrus spinifex (coastal sandbur) is also a grass, member of the family Poaceae; something that kills the sandbur will also kill the surrounding grass. 

Actually, the sandbur species mentioned above is more a product of the Southern United States; it is  likely that what you have in Minnesota is Cenchrus longispinus (did you ever hear a more appropriate plant name?). This University of Minnesota Extension website Sandburs by Deborah L. Brown discusses this plant in Minnesota.

Frequently, when we tackle the treatment of weedy invasive plant, about the only advice we can give is to pull it out. We realize this is probably a big task in a horse pasture. One suggestion that we noted was that the sandbur tended to take hold in disturbed, poor soil, and that enriching the grasses you wanted to stay could discourage the survival of the weeds. Learn to recognize it when it has not yet produced the burs, or seeds, so you can pull it out as the opportunity arises and prevent the next generation, at least of that one plant. Sandburs are definitely survivors, with their seeds adapted to cling to clothing, fur, shoes and skin!  Extra nourishment, high nitrogen fertilizers, and perhaps more moisture can help to enrich the good grasses and crowd out the bad ones.


Cenchrus spinifex

Cenchrus spinifex

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

What is meant when Mimosa Tree is described as an invasive tree in San Antonio TX?
May 14, 2013 - When it is stated that the Mimosa Tree is invasive, does that mean that the Roots are invasive or does it mean that the seed pods will drop and make many more trees ?
view the full question and answer

Removing non-native plants appearing in Austin in early spring
March 14, 2012 - In order to know which plants to keep and which to remove, is there a source to look up and identify common non-native plants that are seen in Austin about this time of the year (late winter, early Sp...
view the full question and answer

Passionflower Vine for Boulder
March 02, 2013 - I would love to have a passionflower vine growing up an arbor. I have read comments online that indicate: 1. I can grow some types of passionflowers in Colorado. 2. The plants can become very invasiv...
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

Identity of the mass fields of yellow flowers in North Texas
March 23, 2012 - Are the mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing in north Texas now likely to be Indian Mustard (brassica juncea) or Charlock (brassica kaber or sinapis arvensis)? We are teaching a wildflower ide...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center