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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 27, 2009

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Cutting back Pampas grass.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

When and how much should I cut back Pampas grass in the Hill Country of Texas.

ANSWER:

There are those who say the only good Pampas grass is an eradicated Pampas grass.  That sentiment is understandable since Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana, is an invasive species in some parts of the country.  It would likely be much more invasive if not for its dioecious nature; that is, it produces male and female flowers on separate plants.  Most often only the female-flowered plants - which are, by far the showier of the two sexes - are sold in nurseries.  Without a source of pollen from a male plant, those big female plumes simply produce no viable seed.  Lest you think you're totally in the clear on creating yet another Hill Country non-native invasion, we would like to remind you that it takes just one male plant (and some people DO grow male plants) to create the right conditions for the next big invasive disaster.  Should you decide to remove your Pampas grass altogether, the Texas native, Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly), makes a pretty nice, though not quite as showy, substitute.

Now, to answer your question.  In late winter, cut it back hard to within two feet or so of the soil.  Do this before new growth begins to emerge.


Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Invasive silverleaf nightshade in Plainwell MI
June 27, 2010 - Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. Silverleaf nightshade, Silver-leaf nightshade, White horse nettle. We purchased our land and built here 3 years ago. I have these all over my 30 acres of land including ...
view the full question and answer

Pictures of Bastard Cabbage from Dallas TX
April 07, 2012 - HI! Re your March 12 posting: The USDA Plants website pictures two very different looking plants identified as Rapistrum rugosum (bastardcabbage). Would you please post a photo with leaf and bloom ...
view the full question and answer

Skunk cabbage for Houston TX
September 19, 2009 - Can you find skunk cabbage in the Houston, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
August 22, 2011 - Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?
view the full question and answer

Eliminating a briar vine in American holly
July 22, 2011 - I have a wild vine (I was told it is a type of briar) living on my place. The root nest is like a potato. I have dug them up, I have sprayed them and I still am plagued with them. I have a beautiful A...
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