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
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

Mowing wildflower concerns from Lockhart TX
March 30, 2012 - I went to the Texas Highway Department (Texas Department of Transportation) web site and sent them a concern or complaint about them or independent contractors shredding the roadsides before the blueb...
view the full question and answer

Orange trumpet creeper parasitic to oaks in New York City?
December 17, 2010 - Is the Orange Trumpet Creeper a parasite to oak trees? My concern is that a neighbor with a tall oak has a vine growing up it and I wonder if it could damage or weaken the tree?
view the full question and answer

Controlling Rapistrum rugosum (annual bastardcabbage)
March 09, 2012 - The invasive, Rapistrum rugosum, seems to be especially ubiquitous this year. I communicated with Dr. Mark Simmons a few years ago regarding his research, which indicated that over-sowing wit...
view the full question and answer

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

Will non-native and invasive Mexican petunias grow under oak trees from St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Will Mexican Petunias grow under an Oak tree?
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